To student reps: make senate, board of governors relevant
Opinions / March 7, 2012
The elections for student representatives on the Kwantlen senate and board of governors are underway. Here’s a challenge to those running: make those bodies relevant to the rest of the student body. The board of governors and senate are hugely important facets of the Kwantlen structure. Here lies the challenge: most students don’t care about either of them.
That’s not to say that they shouldn’t, because they most definitely should care. The senate is the highest academic body on campus, making decisions about degrees and other academic issues. The board of governors deals with the overarching business operations of the university But the responsibility to engage falls biggest on the shoulders of those elected from the student body – to speaking up for students at the highest levels in the institution.
The chance to serve is not a resumé booster. It is not a networking exercise. It is not an arena for kissing the hands of the respected members of the Kwantlen administration. First and foremost, it is a forum for standing up and advocating for students’ needs and rights.
Students deserve to have their voices heard, but we can’t do this on our own. We have full-time class schedules and part-time jobs to focus on, most of us for four years. We need strong leaders on senate and the board of governors who hold an adversarial attitude toward the Kwantlen administration. Kwantlen students should be actively heard in as many aspects of Kwantlen’s decision-making processes as possible. The university’s reason to exist lies in our well-rounded education, after all. Our education does not end when we leave the classroom — it is not confined to one-and-a-half hours, twice a week.
So why is it that we accept little more than a stiff formality — mere tolerance of the student voice on the part of Kwantlen administrators during these meetings. Are the officials to blame? Not entirely.
Kwantlen students have become accustomed to lacklustre leadership from our student reps, both in the KSA and on senate and the board of governors, despite earnest and honourable efforts from certain members. Institutional memory is a powerful thing.
This election, do your research. If you find yourself talking with a candidate for either body, ask them tough questions. After the election, ask them even tougher questions. We can start to be heard.