On December 2nd, VUSAC Finance Chair Nicole* resigned from their position. Co-Presidents Rahul Christofferson and Stuart Norton considered the termination of Nicole due to the neglect of fiduciary responsibilities. Nicole posted a Facebook status catalyzing the recent discussion around mental health and trans representation around campus. A post by VUSAC that stated the reasoning behind their decision followed their status.
Nicole stated their decision to resign was due to the conflict created with the Council relating to their admittance “to a hospital for suicidality”, which resulted in a neglect of their responsibilities within VUSAC. In the Facebook post, Nicole stated that the main factor for their termination by VUSAC was for the negligence of responsibilities during their time hospitalized.
In a released statement, VUSAC denies the accusation of the former Finance Chair “being forcibly removed from council because of their hospitalization, or any aspect of their identity.” They emphasized their commitment to the smooth operation of council and their responsibility to serve the VCU as their reasoning. The statement noted, “the moment that a role is neglected to a degree that the rest of Council and the VCU is majorly affected, action must be taken.”
The statement also noted that Nicole had been reported for other internal faults in their role as Finance Chair on VUSAC, which contributed to the consideration of their termination.
Nicole had blocked VUSAC members from viewing their Facebook post commenting on their resignation. A fellow UofT student commented claiming that the exclusion “leaves the story very one sided”. Stephanie Spagnuolo, a Victoria College UTSU Director, also commented “they [Nicole] don’t need to have negative energy from the VUSAC, which clearly has not been supporting them on their personal post. They [Nicole] has every right to limit their audience on a post should they chose.”
In a statement given to The Strand, Nicole noted “that Victoria College as an institution is cis-hetero-patriarchal and the failure of the student government to side with its students is complicity with that system”. They also urged within the Facebook post comment thread that anybody around the VUSAC office could remove the Positive Space posters seen around the office. Attributing to their request, Nicole stated, “This [Victoria College] is not a place I feel safe in.”
Students participating in the discussion voiced their complaints with trans and mental health representation at Victoria College within the comments—however, not every student agreed. University of Toronto student Victor Wang commented that the voluntary acceptance of the position is expected to fulfilling job requirements: “The employer still needs them done, by you or someone else that can.” Nicole noted that they prepared a transition report that accompanied their resignation letter.
VUSAC noted in their statement that they intend to continue to work to combat transphobia and ableism on campus and within their own institution. VUSAC urges any questions or concerns to be voiced to Communications Coordinator Shailee Koranne at email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: Nicole has asked to be referred to by only their first name.