UVIC STUDENTS’ SOCIETY STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE UNIST’OT’EN

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 JUNE 2019

UVIC STUDENTS’ SOCIETY STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE UNIST’OT’EN

Elected student leaders at the University of Victoria join international call for solidarity with the Unist’ot’en

Victoria, BC –  At a June 17 meeting of the UVSS Board of Directors, elected student leaders voted unanimously to take a public stance in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en. They join a chorus of over 1,000 First Nations, academic and union leaders, musicians, and environmental organizations.

The UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) has pledged to take concrete steps to challenge colonialism and racism, and raise awareness of social and environmental justice.

“Canadians need to educate themselves, and we all need to do our part in order to make reconciliation a reality. The Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline is a violation of the principles of reconciliation and decolonization the federal government claims to espouse.” says Shay lynn Sampson, UVSS Director of Events.

This declaration comes in the wake of a public call to action by the Unist’ot’en. Many Indigenous nations never surrendered their land to the Canadian government, which was affirmed in the landmark 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa Supreme Court of Canada case that recognized and affirmed Wet’suwet’en sovereignty.

The BC Supreme Court is deliberating on a current injunction that would either allow CGL to continue with construction, or uphold Indigenous sovereignty.

“In order to live up to the promise of reconciliation, Canadians must recognize the legacy of colonialism and continued violence against Indigenous peoples. The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls makes clear that ‘man camps,’ such as the proposed Coastal GasLink work site, increase violence against Indigenous women and girls,” says Victoria Eaton, UVSS Director of Student Affairs.

For more information on how to support the Unist’ot’en and their call to action, please reference their website (http://unistoten.camp/whatsnext/). Students interested in learning more about UVSS decolonization are encouraged to attend the upcoming Board meeting on July 8, 2019.

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The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) was established in 1964 and represents the 18,000+ undergraduate students at the University of Victoria.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Contact: Shay lynn Sampson (she/her), UVSS Director of Events

Phone: 250-721-8369 | Email: events@uvss.ca

A statement regarding TERFs

It has come to the attention of the UVSS Board of Directors that in recent weeks, trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) have been targeting and harassing members of our community. Such behaviors must not be tolerated on our campus, and in society as a whole.

The Board of Directors condemns the horrid actions of the TERFs. Discrimination toward members of traditionally marginalized groups and harassment, in general, are never acceptable. It is important that we stand behind our members, and that we do our best to ensure that the Student Union Building and our Campus as a whole are safe for our members and for all members of the University community.

We hope that those negatively affected by the actions of TERFs benefit from the knowledge that the UVSS completely supports them and that we will do all that we can to ensure their safety and comfort.

Sincerely,

The UVSS Executive Team

UVic students commend BC Government for lowering interest rates on student loans

Victoria – Students across BC celebrated a huge win yesterday when Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced in the budget speech that the BC Government will lower the interest rate on student loans. Effective August 1, 2017, the interest rate on student loans will be reduced from prime plus 2.5% to prime only. Years of coordinated lobbying efforts by BC’s post-secondary students has resulted in a win that improves affordability for students.

“UVic students applaud the BC Government for reducing student loan interest and the burden of student debt,” said UVSS Director of Campaigns and Community Relations Maxwell Nicholson. “Working with other student unions across BC to make the student voice heard can pay huge dividends.”

A recent survey of students at 10 post-secondary institutions across BC conducted by Insights West in collaboration with the Alma Mater Society shows that 38% of students have taken out student loans. These students leave school with an average student loan burden of just over $27,000. Reducing the interest rate on these loans makes it easier for students to transition from university to their careers, allowing graduates to save and invest without the burden of high interest rates.

“While students at UVic are excited by the reduction in interest rates, there are still many student issues that were not addressed in the 2017 BC Budget,” said Nicholson. “There is a pressing need for access to affordable on-campus housing, core-funding increases for essential support services, and a comprehensive needs-based grants program.”

In the run up to the May 2017 provincial election, the UVSS will continue to work with other student unions in BC to advocate for post-secondary issues and to encourage youth voter participation. The UVSS will be launching the Count On Our Vote campaign in the coming weeks.

The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) was established in 1964 and represents the 18,000 undergraduate students at the University of Victoria.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Maxwell Nicholson
UVSS Director of Campaigns & Community Relations
campaigns@uvss.ca, 250-721-8366