Jenna Clinton is stepping down from her position as vice-president external with the Brandon University Students’ Union. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Brandon University Students’ Union vice-president external Jenna Clinton is stepping down before the end of her term to focus on her studies.
The BU student is in her final year of psychiatric nursing and her eight-week practicum in Saskatoon starts next month.
Clinton joins BUSU’s disability commissioner Nicholas Bass and LGBT commissioner Martin Boulet who have also resigned from their positions this month.
Assiniboine Community College Students’ Association is also seeing some changes this academic year, according to ACCSA project co-ordinator Alicia Zurba.
Zurba said their council has had a few resignations for a variety of reasons. Some cited "personal circumstances" and a common theme has been that "students just don’t have the time to commit."
"ACC students are unique from BU in that the (majority of) students here are in class from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday," Zurba said Monday via email.
"With their commitment made to the college as well as their lives outside the classroom, many students who would love to be involved just don’t have the time to give to council."
Clinton said she wanted to finish her term, which would have ended in April, but believes students will be better served by BUSU’s remaining executive members.
"There’s lots of stuff that they could do, but they could do it without me," Clinton said. "I am sad to leave, but I feel I did what I wanted to do."
ACCSA is currently looking at different ways of encouraging students to get more involved with council and events.
They are also reaching out to students to find ways of ensuring those willing to take up council positions are able to "without being overwhelmed" with commitments both inside and outside the classroom.
Clinton admits having a full course load and being on BUSU was difficult to manage. She advises those seeking election in March to "know what you’re getting yourself into."
"Love student politics, love working for people and don’t take a full course load," she said. "I thought it was more doable than it was ... I wouldn’t suggest it to anybody."
Friday will be Clinton’s last day in office and council has decided not to fill her position for the remainder of her term. Council plans to spread out her responsibilities among other executive members.
This isn’t the first time a BUSU member has resigned and wasn’t replaced. In February 2012, BUSU’s vice-president internal stepped down and council members never hired a replacement for the remainder of the year.
According to a BUSU bylaw, in the event that a vice-president resigns during his or her term in office after the byelection "council shall appoint a member to fill that vacancy." The bylaw also states that if all executive members were to resign prior to general elections, they could appoint an interim president until a byelection is held.
Members of the executive committee can also be dismissed with a petition, which requires signatures from at least 20 per cent of the total number of students the union represents.
Following some poorly attended BUSU meetings and events, Clinton said a big push these last couple months has been educating students on what the student union does.
Since BUSU executive members only serve one term, Clinton said it can sometimes be challenging to reach everyone’s goals. Council members are currently mulling over the idea of creating a second full-time position and cutting vice-president hours in half so things can "run more smoothly," she said.
"I think it’s cool we have a new executive every year ... I just want them to love their job."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 28, 2014