Board of Governors, Senate elections set for next week

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With the flurry of activity currently surrounding the University Students’ Council presidential election and the renovation referendum, many students may be wondering about the other positions up for election at this time.

Although faculties are electing their own representatives to the USC, some of the most important positions needing to be filled will not even become voting members of the USC itself.

One crucial body is the Board of Governors â€" the highest governing body at Western. Members of BOG include Western’s president along with two undergraduate students and one graduate student.

Though BOG only meets five times a year, its responsibilities include important decisions, such as forming the committee that nominated a replacement for Western President Paul Davenport. Since student representatives only have a few opportunities to present their views to the entire board, work done for this position is often conducted outside of the context of official meetings.

The date of BOG elections has typically been held in the fall, where the USC would hold an election for one undergraduate representative, with another election for the second position coinciding with the spring presidential election.

However, due to traditionally low voter turnout in the fall election, among other issues, all BOG candidates will be elected in the spring. This has led to odd situations in the past, as current undergraduate BOG member Richard Wong was forced to run for reelection after only a few months in office â€" a process currently being repeated by law student Chris Sinal.

“All of the Board of Governors’ terms are two years,” Wong said. “But [the Board] wanted to have it so that one student representative would have one more year of experience than the other.”

Currently competing with Sinal for a spot on BOG is Matthijs van Gaalen.

Also of importance is Western’s Senate. This governing body meets 10 times a year and concerns itself mainly with the administrative operations of the university. Considerations of when exam dates are, honorary degrees and Western’s budget are all facets falling under the purview of this body.

Currently, there are 18 student senators, including 14 undergraduate and four graduate students. The list of Senate candidates can be found on the USC elections website, www.usc.uwo.ca/elections.

In other election news, there have been some recent campaign violations on the USC presidential election campaign trail.

Ben Singer’s campaign recently gained eight demerit points for two separate violations of fair play. The first was a six-point gain for an undisclosed Facebook-related issue. The second was a two-point gain for an infraction by one of Singer’s campaign managers.

Tabitha Navratil’s campaign also gained five demerit points for poster violations, while Emily Rowe gained four demerit points for campaigning in residence with more individuals than the two allowed by election guidelines.

All these violations may still be appealed.

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