The Finance Chair of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) has resigned from their position amidst inner-council conflicts.
Nicole, who requested that The Varsity refrain from using their last name because they are not out in all circles as non-binary, was admitted to a hospital from November 15–23.
They sent a 42-page document to VUSAC and The Varsity explaining how VUSAC had responded to their hospitalization by considering their termination due to their inability to carry out their fiduciary duties during that time. Their report also accuses the union of transphopia and ableism.
In a statement posted to VUSAC’s Facebook page, the union claimed that the consideration of Nicole’s termination was unrelated to their hospitalization and referred to a series of previously filed grievances from various VUSAC members regarding Nicole’s conduct as being the cause for them to consider termination.
“VUSAC’s issues with the Finance Chair are not recent,” reads the statement. “Over the last semester, the VUSAC Vice President Internal and the Chair have received a number of complaints that are both personal and professional in nature about the conduct of the Finance Chair.”
The statement lists allegations of “ableist jokes” inside and outside the office, “speaking about self-harm and suicide in ways that are both inappropriate and triggering,” and “neglecting finance duties while in the office.”
VUSAC Chair Saambavi Mano emailed the complaints to Nicole a day prior to their resignation, writing that the complaints “constitute grounds for firing” them, according to the VUSAC’s Constitution.
Nicole told The Varsity: “Basically it was a lot of miscommunication on both sides but also a lack of support in my role as finance chair where communication was given, as well as rampant microaggressions throughout council.”
Nicole said that they were “not checked on” while in the hospital, particularly regarding their ability to fulfill their duties as Finance Chair during that time. With respect to the grievances filed against them, they referred to the grievance report that they filed, and said, “some [grievances] are fair and I took responsibility for, while others are ungrounded.”
In an email statement to The Varsity, VUSAC Communications Coordinator Shailee Koranne reiterated that Nicole’s hospitalization was unrelated to the grievances that were sent to them. “All of the issues VUSAC has had with Nicole go back to before their hospitalization,” she said.
Koranne also addressed accusations of transphobia at VUSAC. She highlighted an event that it hosted in collaboration with the University College Literary and Athletic Society but also said that “we need to do better.”
“We recognize that one endorsed event against transphobia is not the same as openly combating transphobia, but accusations of complete inaction on part of VUSAC are unfair,” said Koranne. “Again, VUSAC will do better, starting with comprehensive equity training as we said in our statement yesterday.”
Disclosure: Saambavi Mano is a Varsity Columnist and Shailee Koranne is a Varsity Contributor.