(Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this letter are the writer’s and do not reflect those of The Aquinian, its editorial board or its board of directors. The Aquinian publishes all letters to the editors that meet the criteria outlined in our ethics and practices guide.

Dear St. Thomas University community,

As the former 2021-22 STU students’ union vice-president student life and 2022 valedictorian-elect, I would like to elaborate on my resignation from this position and title.

On March 22, I gave notice of my resignation, effective immediately, from my duties as the VPSL of STUSU and my recently-elected title of valedictorian for the class of 2022 spring convocation.

The decision to resign with only six weeks left in my term as VPSL and step down as valedictorian makes me very sad. The value to finish what you started despite adversity and to never quit is important to me. To resign is very difficult. It is not my first choice of resolving problems and is not something that defines me.

I have diligently fulfilled my role as VPSL from my first day, May 1, 2021, up until March 22, 2022. I have passionately accomplished and completed many projects that I took great pride and pleasure in doing. I would like to remember some, but there are other committees and projects that are just as important but too many to list all:

  • The STUgenda with new sections for student-run businesses, Indigenous resources and student artwork
  • Collaborated with the welcome week committee and welcomed new students to campus
  • Negotiated Saferide including retrofitting for accessibility
  • Led the STU Shinerama campaign raising money for cystic fibrosis research
  • Facilitated the Community Food Smart program
  • Planned the winter formal gala
  • Coordinated the STUSU Emergency Bursary program
  • Oversaw the operation of the STUSU Help Desk
  • Collaborated with university administration to plan the spring carnival
  • Facilitated giveaways which featured local businesses

I feel like the work I have done for student wellness and student engagement in my position as VPSL was not recognized nor do I feel like it was appreciated by some members of the SRC, STUSU executive council and the STU student body.

Over the past few weeks, I have endured endless accusations. I had addressed the concerns and apologized in writing if I had offended anyone, as that was not my intention.

The accusations against me led to a letter of removal from my position as VPSL. 

After being elected valedictorian, I was accused of affecting the complaint process because of my position on the students’ union executive team. All I did was put my name forward and win. I was not the chief returning officer overseeing the election nor was I responsible in any way for the names that were included or not included on the voter’s list. 

I strongly believe presenting me with a letter of removal from my VPSL position was a quest to deem me ineligible to be valedictorian. 

Part of my previous VPSL mandate is to advocate for mental health awareness. It is very concerning that cyberbullying and online harassment is becoming a norm. The amount of bullying, libel and personal attacks over social media is more than enough and needed to stop.

The university administration was asked to remove the posts from a Facebook page they run and monitor. The STUSU president told me the university administration said they refused to remove the posts and comments.

I walked away so as to not cast a shadow on the good things I have done and accomplished in my previous role as VPSL. This is the only way the bitter criticism will be extinguished and create a healthy amount of space back to me. That space is not empty but will create ease in between the responsibilities I have to myself to focus and function in a more manageable and enjoyable way.

Sincerely,

Victoria Young

Former 2021-22 STUSU vice-president student life and former 2022 valedictorian-elect