Parks plans to shuffle council deck
By Sara Marett
Change is the name of the game for Western's University Students' Council as it has a new game plan in the works for council representatives.
USC President Ryan Parks said the initiative is aimed to ensure council is accurately representing the student population and to cut down on double representation students being represented by both their faculty and residence. The proposed changes will come before council for discussion at next Wednesday's meeting.
The new face of council would see the removal of the 11 residence representatives replacing them with nine first-year representatives from each of the residences. Parks said the residents' council presidents would also have a voting seat on council in the proposed structure.
The restructuring is targeted at increasing the representation of first-year students on council something which is needed at a time when the number of first-year students on campus is higher than ever, Parks said. "They make up a quarter of the school's population and they are currently not represented for the entire year."
"Opportunities for first-year students in the USC are lacking because of timing," said VP-student issues Sam Castiglione. He explained the elections for council representatives take place in the spring. Therefore, the only opportunity for a first-year student to be elected onto council is if there are any open positions during the fall by-elections, which doesn't happen very often, Castiglione said. "We currently don't recognize our first-year students as future student leaders."
Since almost all first-year students are now living in residence, the residence issues are first-year student issues and vice-versa, Parks said. He added he is aware first-year students are not always knowledgeable of everything going on around campus and that is why the residents' council presidents will also be granted a voting seat.
Matthew Bryce, president of Medway/Sydenham Hall's residents' council, said he thinks the restructuring could provide a new look for residence representatives, particularly at a time when there is much uncertainty surrounding what kind of role they will play in the future.
"It's a great idea to ensure the [residents'] council presidents have a voting seat as they are for the most part the most informed people on various issues," he said.