2023 Governance Review
In 2023, an independent third-party consultant with expertise in governance, non-profits, and student leadership completed a governance review of the UVSS Board of Directors. Below are the reports of the governance review that was submitted to the UVSS:
- Report to the Board: Findings
- Report to the Board: EDI Assessment
- Report to the Board: Environmental Scan
- Report to the Board: Recommendations
The UVSS Board of Directors has the ability to decide which recommendations to implement, and how to do so.
The 2022-2023 UVSS Board of Directors voted to share the complete governance review to all members with the intention of promoting transparency among UVSS members and with the hope of compelling students to run for a position in future UVSS Board of Directors.
A democratically elected student Board of Directors leads the activities of the UVSS.
The Board is made up of:
- Five Lead Directors (the Director of Events, Director of Finance & Operations, Director of Student Affairs, Director of Outreach & University Relations, and the Director of Campaigns & Community Relations)
- Two Directors at Large
- Nine Faculty Representative Directors* (Social Science, Science, Humanities, Fine Arts, Engineering & Computer Science, Business, Education, Human & Social Development, and Law)
- One Director of International Student Relations
- Five Advocacy Group Representatives (representing the Students of Colour Collective, UVic Pride, the Gender Empowerment Centre, the Society for Students with a Disability, and the Native Students Union)
The Board meets online twice each month at board meetings and all students are welcome to attend! Elections for all positions take place in March, with the exception of the Advocacy Group Representatives, who are elected at each group’s general meeting. All undergraduate students are encouraged to run in these elections and gain invaluable job experience while giving back to their campus community!
*Extra Directors at Large may be added if Faculty Director positions are unfilled.
A more detailed overview of UVSS governance is below.
What is the Board of Directors?
Directors of the UVSS are undergraduate students elected by undergraduate students, as well as representatives from five Advocacy Groups.
There are five types of directors:
There are five Lead Directors who are elected to the UVSS and are full-time employees of the UVSS for their elected one-year term:
- Director of Outreach and University Relations
- Director of Campaigns and Community Relations
- Director of Finance and Operations
- Director of Student Affairs
- Director of Events
Director of International Student Relations
The Director of International Students Relations is elected by international undergraduate students to represent and advocate for them. This position is assigned one Director At Large to assist them in their work. The Director of International Student Relations chairs the International Student Relations Committee, where international students coordinate advocacy efforts and events for all international students.
Directors at Large
Directors at Large are each assigned to a Lead Director’s portfolio: Outreach and University Relations, Campaigns and Community Relations, Finance and Operations, Student Affairs, Events, as well as International Student Relations. They attend committees to promote student interests and they perform other duties such as serving as second chair of various committees, drafting external documents, organizing events, campaigns, meetings, and lobbying UVic, other institutions, and all levels of government on behalf of students. Directors at Large receive a monthly honorarium, must fulfill two hours of work per week, and sit on at least two committees.
Faculty Representative Directors
Faculty Representative Directors are elected by members of their officially declared faculty in the UVSS general election. Their duties are similar to Directors at Large, however they are also responsible for representing the students with their faculty’s perspective. Faculty Directors receive a monthly honorarium, must fulfill two hours of work per week, and sit on at least two committees. If a Faculty Representative Director position is unfilled, the Board of Directors may decide to hold a by-election for a Director at Large in lieu of a Faculty Director.
Advocacy Group Representatives
Every year, the five Advocacy Groups, the Gender Empowerment Centre (GEM), the Pride Collective, the Native Students’ Union (NSU), the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC), and the Society for Students with a Disability (SSD), each elect a representative to the UVSS Board at their own general meetings.
These directors represent their Advocacy Group on the UVSS Board of Directors at UVSS board meetings, committees, and working groups. Advocacy Group Representatives provide critical perspectives on various committees, in meetings with UVic and all levels of government, in external documents, and by organizing events, campaigns, and meetings. Advocacy Group Representatives also receive a monthly honorarium.
At Board meetings, the UVSS Directors vote on larger decisions, such as approval of annual budgets, advocacy work, and the policy that governs the UVSS as a whole. The Board meets twice each month throughout the year and all students are welcome to attend. Meetings are usually on Mondays at 6pm, although exact dates, times, agendas, and locations can be found here. During board meetings, the Board of Directors updates the student body about what each portfolio has been doing for the Society. The Board also discusses and votes on policy changes and funding decisions, as recommended by various committees/portfolios.
During the pandemic, board meetings transitioned to a fully online format (this is subject to change at the discretion of the Board). Board meetings are also live streamed to the UVSS Facebook Page as they happen.
General Meetings occur twice a year and provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to have a say in the operation of their students’ society. Changes to the UVSS bylaws and major reports are brought forward by the UVSS Board of Directors at these meetings.
At committee meetings, directors give updates on progress about specific issues and tasks that the UVSS is working on, as well as take input and make recommendations to the rest of the Board when necessary.
Most of our committees are open to participation from any and all UVic undergraduate students! All open committees have position(s) dedicated to an undergraduate student — this is a great low-commitment opportunity to influence UVSS governance, gain awesome volunteer experience.
Financial Decision Making
UVSS fees are set by referenda voted on by all undergraduate students. Full-time fees are $76.85 and part-time fees are $38.39 per semester. The UVSS is a separately incorporated, not-for-profit organization, that operates in the best interest of students. This means that every dollar the UVSS makes in student fees and from the SUB businesses goes directly back into financing student services, such as lobbying to lower tuition and textbook costs, housing affordability, mental health, dismantling rape culture, and pushing UVic to divest their over 70 million dollars invested in the fossil fuel industry.
Elections for Lead Directors and Directors-at-Large are in March, and students who are elected serve terms from May 1st to April 30th. Advocacy groups elect representatives at their general meetings each year.
The Electoral Office impartially runs all electoral events and referendum questions.
The Personnel Committee acts as the primary liaison between the UVSS staff and the Board. The committee is responsible for oversight of the excluded managers, as well as the management of personnel issues such as the creation of unionized staff positions, the creation or elimination of excluded manager positions, and the restructuring or closing of departments. Personnel committee is made up of three to four elected directors, and is a closed, or confidential, committee.
The following personnel are considered excluded personnel and are not unionized :
- General Manager: The General Manager is responsible for the successful and engaged leadership and management of the Society’s social enterprise function, including business units, services, as well as the operation of the Student Union Building.
- Executive Director: The Executive Director is responsible for the successful and engaged leadership and strategic management of the Society, including the communications and marketing of the UVSS in cooperation with the General Manager.
- Human Resources and Administration and Services Manager: The Human Resources and Administration & Services Manager is responsible for the management and development of HR and administrative for the society in cooperation with the Executive Director and the General Manager.
- Constituency Groups Director: The Constituency Groups Director is responsible for supporting and overseeing the advocacy and affiliated groups and their staff and reports to the Executive Director.