Re: Incoming USC executive abstain from voting on motion supporting trans* students 

I remember one of the first points I made when I introduced my motion before council was that with the very nature of the motion; everything that would be said about it and even how the vote goes down would send a very strong message about who we were as a council. Applause rang out in the council chambers as the vote breakdown for Motion 5 was revealed, “95 per cent for, 5 per cent abstain,” the motion was passed unanimously.  

I knew that the vote breakdown would make headlines, but none of us were expecting everyone’s focus to be on the two members who abstained.

This motion was the result of a promise I gave when I first ran for the position of councillor. It was the product of consultation with my fellow science councillors, the incoming and outgoing USC executive, executives of Pride Western and Spectrum and most importantly from the input of students who would be directly impacted by the passing of this motion. I cannot speak for the president and vice-president elect nor shall I comment on their reasoning. It is up to the students to decide whether the abstentions and the reasoning behind the decision is acceptable to them.

The mess of this whole story has overshadowed what should be at the forefront of the discussion. When the motion was passed, I saw it not as a personal victory, but as a victory for those most voiceless and powerless on campus. It was a step forward for a community who in their everyday lives face emotional, physical and sexual violence. It was a respite for students whose very existence draws out irrational and deplorable prejudice, hatred and bigotry from others. Should this not be what we care about most? Should this not be the conversation we are having?The significance of this motion and the impact that it has on this campus is worth far more than whatever story or spin can come out of two votes.  

I wanted Wednesday’s meeting to send a message to transgender and non-binary students. I wanted them to know that the USC had their back, that they were welcomed on campus, and that their voices were being heard. To those students, I now want to say, whether you are angry at Team Tobi’s actions or not, I can guarantee that the USC will follow through with all that was promised in this motion, and we will make sure that this campus becomes a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone. 

— Frank Ye, medical sciences II

USC science councillor

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