Apathy on the Brandon University campus was highlighted by this week’s students’ union election, says the incoming president who ran unopposed for the top spot.
After a yes/no vote, president-elect Joel Springer won nearly 78 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary results released Friday.
Springer said the apathy toward BUSU is “slightly worrying” after no one came forward to run against him. He said the new group’s first order of business will be to fill the vice-president internal gig after no one ran for that position either.
“It’s a matter of getting out there, having yourself engaged in the student body,” Springer said, who is about to graduate with a double honours major in history and political science.
Rounding out the results were the election of Sandra Mutasa as external vice-president, Shaun-Michael Assiniboine as aboriginal director, Benjamin Arpin as science director, Rolan Liwana as part-time/mature/parents director, Md Alif Khan as international director, Manuel Godoy as racialised director, Rachael Wu as women’s director and Roque Lacrois as science senator.
Also, Christopher Hunt, Emily Diehl and Brady Knight were elected to the board of directors for the student newspaper, The Quill.
Students also cast ballots in a number of referendum questions. They approved a $5-per-term levy for SUDS, the campus bar, as well as the reduction in health and dental plan coverage from nine credit hours to six. However, an increase in the cost of the health and dental plan of three per cent per year was rejected.
Springer said he ran on extended library hours, increased club funding and long-term financial stability for SUDS.
The SUDS levy, which narrowly passed with 55 per cent of the vote, is aimed at updating the space itself and not necessarily to prop up the troubled bar’s operations.
Katie Driedger, a political science student and writer for The Quill, said interest and faith in the students’ union has slipped even further this year.
“It doesn’t look good for only one student out of more than 3,000 who wants to be a student leader,” she said.
“Students generally do not care about the student union and if you look at what the student union has done this year ... I don’t think they’ve done anything that you can point at and say ‘this is what BUSU has done.’”
BUSU is responsible for Rock the Block on Rosser Avenue — its biggest annual event — which attracts thousands to the downtown core for the outdoor concert.
The new union executive is walking into some changes, which includes making the two vice-president positions (internal and external) part time while creating a full-time hired services position to take over some of the VP internal duties.
The changes, Springer suggested, could in fact increase the desire to run for union office if the jobs are not full time.
“If they can take more courses, it’s appealing to more people,” he said.
Springer, who is set to graduate in the spring, said he plans to hold the job for the duration of the term, but added, “I can’t predict the future.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 15, 2014