Omid. Forge. Basu Roy. Forge. Basu Roy. Omid.
These names have been entrenched in our minds, printed in The Gazette and uttered on other campus media hundreds of times over the past 11 days. As you likely know, Omid Salari, David Basu Roy and Andrew Forgione are vying for the chance to become YOUR student council president for the 2011-2012 academic year. Much of the attention is deserved, as the USC President is an important student leader – they represent students in various capacities and set the direction of the organization that you pay over $100 in student fees towards every year.
But despite all of the clamor, the USC President is not the only student leader to be elected on February 16. Every faculty must elect their faculty president, USC representatives (councillors) and student senators. Furthermore, the student body at-large must elect additional student senators and a representative to sit on UWO’s Board of Governors (BOG).
What do all these people actually do and what the hell is Senate and BOG?
A quick run down – the FIMS President and FIMS Councillor represent our faculty on the student council, and are voting members of that body. Senate is the university’s governing body that handles any changes to academic programs, academic policies, scheduling and scholarships. Student senators (14 undergrads in total) vote alongside deans, faculty and UWO administration on all pertinent academic issues. Finally, UWO’s Board of Governors (BOG) is the highest governing body of the university, making all financial and strategic decisions for the university – yup, they set our tuition each year. Two undergrad students sit on the BOG for a two-year term alongside UWO administration, alumni and local leaders (such as the Mayor of London).
So Your Point Is…
Senate and BOG are actually more relevant than you think. Want a mandatory break in never-ending 3-hour lectures? That is just one project that student senators are currently working on. Are you concerned that your tuition will rise for no reason? Talk to your BOG student representative and voice your concerns. The students that you elect to the USC, Senate and BOG represent you – they can advocate on your behalf to make our university more academically and financially accessible. Thus, it is imperative that we as students make informed decisions and vote for people who will actually do their job and voice student concerns. Especially at the Senate and BOG level, a strong student leader will work with administration and faculty to ensure that students are not marginalized in the university decision-making processes.
The Acclaimed Candidates
The FIMS’ President and Councillor have already been selected – incoming President Zach Valliant and incoming Councillor Jess Bronstein were unopposed this election period and will thus assume their respective roles next year.
With regards to Senate, two student senators directly represent FIMS and Social Science as well. These positions were also acclaimed, and Social Science students Erin Uberig and Brent Duncan will therefore claim these seats next year on Senate.
Who you can vote for
- Senators At-Large. Despite the many acclaimed representatives, there is still another group of Senatorial hopefuls that you can actually vote for on February 15-16. Although the FIMS/Social Science Senators are most closely affiliated with our faculty, seven other senators will be chosen to represent the student body as a whole in the upcoming year. These representatives are called Senators At-Large. There are nine students running for the coveted seven spots, and these will be the students that can make a difference to your academic experience.
I will stress one more time why Senate representatives are important. In 2009, Senate completely changed the nature of FIMS when they voted to remove the limited enrollment status of the MIT module. Senate decided on academic guidelines that, if met, would guarantee a student entrance into upper-year MIT, alleviating uncertainty about what average is required to remain in MIT.
- BOG. There are four candidates running for only one undergraduate spot on the BOG. This student must be confident to express their opinions to a rather impressive group of administration and alumni, among others. After all, the BOG is the group that voted to accept the Goldman-Sachs gift just last month, so we must elect a student who is willing to engage in discussion about important issues at this high level.
For information on all the candidates, check out Fuss on the Bus.
While you may see Salari’s balloon on UC Hill, Forgione’s “Barbara Streisand” video on YouTube, or Basu Roy’s signs around campus, know that there is more than one election taking place this February. Get informed and vote! Without strong student representation on the Senate and BOG, students will no longer have a voice in the decisions that make Western the incredible place that it is.