Last week, a matter came to the attention of the UVSS Elections Office and the University of Victoria Students’ Society (“UVSS”) that we would like to address in the following joint statement.
An unknown individual, likely through the use of an online simulator, fabricated a conversation on Facebook. The forged conversation purported to be between an unnamed student and a UVSS board member candidate. The Martlet reports that an unnamed student provided the Martlet with the screenshots on February 29 at 2:31am.
A professional graphic designer has conducted an analysis of the screenshots and has stated with full confidence that the screenshots were faked. According to the Martlet, the individual was unable and/or refused to provide proof that the screenshots were authentic and has also since deleted the Facebook account they used to correspond with the Martlet.
The UVSS and the UVSS Elections Office are concerned for the integrity of the elections process. Forged communications go beyond any definition of acceptable conduct during student elections, and elections in general. Such an act goes against the Electoral Policy Manual, specifically 5.8.4 Defamation, and 5.8.5 Libel, which are both listed as disqualifiable offences.
Statements by UVSS Directors and Officers, in some circumstances, may create liability for the UVSS. Misstatements wrongly attributed to a candidate can have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on a candidate’s future career opportunities and reputation.
UVSS elections are structured to be a positive experience for all candidates and to provide an opportunity to participate in our campus community. No candidate’s future career should be placed in jeopardy because of their involvement with the elections process. The UVSS Elections Office and the University of Victoria Students’ Society strongly condemns fraudulent attacks on any candidate made on a demonstrably fraudulent premise.
We hope that no further acts of this kind are perpetrated against any candidate during future elections, and we will continue to stand for fair, open, impartial, inclusive, and democratic student elections at the University of Victoria.
Emma Hamill – Chief Electoral Officer, UVSS Elections
Solenn Madevon – Electoral Committee Chair, UVSS Board of Directors