Board hopefuls represent diverse spectrum

The candidates for Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board of directors were in the hot seat on Tuesday afternoon.

On the day before polls officially opened, the 21 director hopefuls answered questions in the Concourse at the Waterloo open forum about their experience, promises and aspirations if they were to be elected.

Students filtered their way through the Concourse on their way to and from class catching glimpses of potential directors answering questions, but a small base of students, including many of the candidates’ campaign members, were consistent throughout.

Kory Preston, an ex-presidential candidate for the 2010-11 year, moderated the open forum, allowing the candidates to answer pre-submitted questions as well as some from the floor.

“Be mindful of each other and respectful of one another, and have a clean, dirty open forum,” said Preston just before the candidates gave their opening statements.

Among the popular topics of discussion of the directors were communication, transparency, mental health and Brantford – especially since three of the candidates were from the Brantford campus.

“One of the main concerns I had was interaction with students, especially with Brantford,” said Dannel Cartwright-Jordan at the forum. “Most of my time talking to students, they had no idea what the board was.”

Besides Scott Fleming, Jon Pryce and Seth Warren, the majority of candidates have never sat on the board before. However, Jon Collaton, a current director on the board, asked each director to stand up if they have been to more than two board meetings.

Though most had been to at least one – except for Hannah Lee, Jennifer Taborowski, Frank Cirinna, Marek Choven, Kate Stevenson, Dejan Eskic – only a handful have been to multiple meetings.

“Even though I’m young and relatively inexperienced, I’m looking to bring a lot of passion and charisma to the board,” said Eskic, a first-year student. The main theme, however, that was expressed by each director was communication and transparency. “I want to raise awareness and communication between students with the board. A Twitter account isn’t necessarily going to do that. I think we’re going to need have people out there, on all campuses and in all the faculties and meeting students face-to-face,” said candidate Ryan Neufeld.

A student asked the candidates specifically about their plans in terms of communication with the student body, ensuring that WLUSU’s plans and actions are clearly conveyed.

Alex Balint stated that the board should be doing meetings at the Brantford campus which, as he said, would include buses from Brantford to Waterloo.
Sunny Chan, a current director and a long-time member of WLUSU, asked which directors were planning on running for chair and vice-chair of the board. Pryce, a two-time director, is planning on running for chair and chief governance officer.

“I have a lot of stuff planned for that already,” said Pryce, particularly addressing training for the elected directors. “I think that the chair needs to provide a well-rounded organization for the directors so they feel confident.”

Out of the 21 candidates, only 15 will be chosen to be on the board, which could see a stronger presence of Brantford and female members. Three candidates came forward from the Laurier Brantford campus, compared to none last year.

Meanwhile seven females are up for the BOD, compared to only one a year ago. Results will be announced on Thursday along with the presidential results.

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