Student nominees begin race for two BoG seats, four Senate seats

Several outgoing KSA councillors to stand as candidates

Nominations have now closed for student representatives to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Board of Governors and University Senate.

The BoG is the highest governing body in a B.C. university, with two-thirds of its members appointed by the provincial government.

The Senate is the highest governing academic body in a B.C. university, and it creates new programs and degrees, handles academic appeals, advises on budgets, and manages other items.

Two seats are available on the BoG. The five candidates include Kwantlen Student Association president Allison Gonzalez and former KSA vice-president of student life Eric Wirsching. They appear to be running as a slate, as indicated by their candidate statements on the MyKwantlen web portal.

Former KSA disabilities representative Kim McMartin is running, newly-elected Richmond campus representative Murdoch De Mooy is vying for a seat, and business administration student Clinton Cheung is also a candidate for one of the two positions.

Steven Button is the current student representative on the BoG. His term, which he says he has enjoyed, ends in August. He says that the board is, “Precisely not what most people view it as from the outside.”

He speaks about the memorandum of understanding that KPU signed with Trans Mountain last summer, which many KPU community members denounced. It was eventually rescinded.

It was interesting for Button to see both sides of that argument, and to be, “Sitting at that table instead of from across that table.”

The four seats at the Senate have eight nominees in the running, including all five BoG student nominees. McMartin is the only current student representative running for another term on the Senate.

The other Senate nominees include Sonja Kreuzkamp, who assists in the KPU learning centres, and Vikram Saggu, who works on the KSA student life and services committees. Third-year political science major Caitlyn McCutchen also has her name in the hat, as does Michael Wong.

Former student senator Kari Michaels says she found invaluable knowledge about the processes of post-secondary institutions, but she also had the opportunity to, “Shape how the university works and how students are perceived within it.”

Michaels offers an example of a time she was able vote down a budget recommendation to the BoG that hindered ESL funding.

But there were many times when she offered criticisms and concerns and nothing changed. That, she says, is still important because it’s paramount that student senators and board members be brave when they challenge the norm.

“When you’re in those meetings, remember that you have as much a stake in that process as anyone else there,” says Michaels. “You’re there as an equal voice, vote, and value.”

She says it’s important for students on the BoG and Senate to constantly keep that reality in their minds.

Polls are open online on the MyKwantlen portal from 8 a.m. on April 5, to 4 p.m. on April 8. Final results will be released on April 11.