This is the time of year where not only am I hit with a slew of midterms, term paper proposals, and group projects, but also a slew of emails letting me know that there are available positions on UFV’s board of governors and senate. Now in the final year of my degree, both have just become something I expect to happen roughly halfway through the winter semester.
It’s probably not that many, but I swear that every time I log into myUFV there’s an email from the university secretariat’s office reminding me that there is a call for nominations for student positions.
The good thing about this, for me at least, is that every time I see that I have unread emails in my UFV email account, and I assume that the worst has happened and the email is probably from a prof, asking me why they haven’t received an assignment that I had no idea I even had to do or something like that. But when I realize it’s just another one of those emails, my mind leaves panic mode, I’m thankful that there’s no surprise homework, and I click on the email so the notification will go away.
But the bad thing about this is it means the positions aren’t getting filled, and even though I can almost count on one hand how many students they need, they still find themselves unable to do so.
The first of this round of emails was sent out on January 31, letting students know about the four open positions for senate and two for board of governors, and the deadline for applications on February 17. The last email was sent on February 20, letting students know that there was still one open position on the board of governors and that the deadline for applications was extended to March 10.
The problem with this lack of interest, is that it ends up being the same people doing everything. Out of the four elected student positions on senate, three of them are currently on the Student Union Society (SUS) board, and one of them is running for a SUS board position again next term as well. The one board of governors position that was filled, was done so by the current SUS board chair, who is also running for a board position this term.
Part of me admires these students for taking on so much, and is a bit jealous at their ability to do it all while balancing classes.
But the other part of me is a little hesitant, and even more uncomfortable to accept this.
The SUS board includes student representative positions from senate and board of governors, but this upcoming year they won’t be the only students that are on both boards.
The SUS board also provides feedback and communicates with both boards. For example, when senate revises academic policies, they send them to the SUS board for consultation because SUS is supposed to be acting as a voice for students. But this means that the students on senate that helped come up with those policy revisions, are also now the students providing feedback on their own revisions.
Whether this is a conflict of interest or not, is not as disconcerting to me as the thought that there is a small handful of students that are representing the entire student body, across all of its governing boards.
The only solution for this is for UFV and SUS to not allow members to sit on both boards, which would only make filling both harder for them, or simply for more students to take on these positions, and it clearly can’t be that hard to do so.
Truth be told, there isn’t a simple solution in our situation. The position should really only be filled by someone who truly wants to engage with whichever board they nominate themselves for. It’s not resume glitter. But if no one reaches out to fill the role, it can be made into whatever the few who are interested want it to be.