Brantford students disconnected from WLUSU restructuring
Last Friday at the WLUSU board meeting, 50 Laurier Brantford students arrived to voice their disagreement with recent proposals for restructuring of the multi-campus governance framework between Waterloo and Brantford. WLUSU plans to abolish the Brantford Campus Council as of this May as well as three other coordinating positions to create a VP student experience position instead.
Many students at Laurier Brantford feel that they are losing their voice in the union and that organizational changes should be initiated from the bottom up rather than top down. Unfortunately it is difficult to coordinate governance across cities especially when funds are limited.
Ultimately WLUSU members affirm that this is an operational decision that the board really has no control over and that it is still not yet close to being finalized. The Laurier Brantford students are being a little quick to anger over the issue because of added tensions from the nature of having local affairs decided by a non-localized group.
Essentially the concern with the uproar over this board meeting is that students may be displaying a tendency to dissent from proposals based on the fact that the issue is relatively unknown or foreign. If this is true and Laurier Brantford students are hesitant towards the recent WLUSU proposals because of the lack of coordination between the two campuses, then President Nick Gibson should improve how he communicates across the multi-campus framework.
Other suggestions included things like giving the Laurier Brantford students time to organize their own presentation in time for the next meeting, however, when the concern is operations and governance WLUSU needs to be trying to streamline the transition into the new 2012-2013 framework. Board members regard these proposals as routine and, in the context of a developing Waterloo campus, WLUSU must be able to restructure itself flexibly.
Although Laurier Brantford students have a legitimate grievance in their sentiments of miscommunication across campuses, the board cannot be expected to carry the entire responsibility of informing the Brantford campus about every proposal on the table. The 50 students who were at the last board meeting from Laurier Brantford likely educated themselves on the topic and, similarly, their peers should be expected to educate themselves and get involved if more of a voice in restructuring is desired.
Perhaps the WLUSU board is aware of the necessity for people to educate themselves and that is why they have taken a more direct route with organizational restructuring. Managing multi-campus framework is difficult in itself but with the added obstacles of transitioning into what promises to be a busy year for Waterloo, there is increased stress on board members to make sure that position changes are timely and effective rather than slowed down or interrupted by bureaucracy and dissent.