USC to elect '07-'08 vice-presidents this Sunday

Six people vying for four VP positions

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With the more glamourous University Students’ Council presidential elections over, it’s time to elect next year’s Board of Directors, the USC’s executive body.

The four vice-president positions to be filled are finance, campus issues, university affairs and student events. The USC elects the new VPs at its annual general meeting Sunday.

This year six candidates are running for a Board position, with former VP-finance David Singh and current VP-campus issues Pedro Lopes running unopposed.

Both Singh and Lopes still face a vote of confidence by the USC before they can assume their positions, requiring more than 50 per cent of the votes, USC President Fab Dolan said.

Dolan said the vote isn’t a simple acclamation.

“Councillors owe it to their constituents to register a vote of non-confidence if they think the candidate won’t fulfill their role on the Board,” Dolan said.

Though candidates have been fairly scarce this year, Dolan said interest in USC elections has increased over the last five years.

“It’s too bad that more people didn’t run,” said Sandy Clark, a candidate for VP-university affairs. “There were a lot of great people who I would have liked to have seen run but ended up not doing it.”

Clark said he sees greater potential for the position and feels internal issues have been neglected while focusing on external lobbying.

“I think that people who are going to say there aren’t enough people running need to realize the situation,” said David Simmonds, a VP-student affairs candidate. “Students have been given an option to run. Does that mean that the candidates who did apply are any less qualified? Absolutely not. A large number of candidates doesn’t equal a quality election.”

Simmonds said he wanted an opportunity to make things better and saw himself as having the requisite skills.

His greatest challenge will be creating a solid plan for changing the words of “Built to Lead,” the USC’s long-term plan, into action, he added.

VP-student events candidate Jenna Hanson decided to run believing it would be a positive experience and that she has the necessary skills from working on the Homecoming Committee and being charity commissioner.

Hanson sees the integration of clubs into the events portfolio as the biggest challenge for next year’s VP.

VP-student events candidate Sabrina Sdao said she’s passionate about events and wants to put her experience to use for students.

Addressing the changes to the portfolio mandated by the long-term plan is probably the largest issue for next year’s VP, Sdao said.

Pedro Lopes, candidate for VP-campus issues, believes there are fewer candidates because the USC isn’t connecting with students.

“We need to attract more than just student politicians,” Lopes said, adding low voter turnout is related to the number of candidates.

Lopes says he’s learned a lot this year but feels students have issues that must be dealt with. Making the campus issues portfolio more relevant will be his largest challenge, he said.

“We held so many awareness days in the [University Community Centre] but people haven’t responded,” Lopes said. “We need to hear more feedback.”

David Singh, candidate for VP-finance, said he isn’t worried that the democratic process was limited.

“I’m not motivated by competition; I’m motivated by what drives me,” he said. “I think it’s important that there is a strong push to get as many candidates as possible.”

Singh didn’t think an advertising push would guarantee an excellent calibre of candidates.

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