Elections see low Brantford representation

Brantford - Lena Yang
(Graphic by Leng Yang)

As of noon on Tuesday, there were officially two acclaimed Brantford candidates for the 2014-2015 board of directors. Applications had to be reopened on the Brantford campus as only one student had submitted their application package by the deadline on Jan. 21.

“It would just be a problem because we’d have to acclaim all the Waterloo candidates and there wouldn’t be enough filling the Brantford seats,” Dani Saad, chief returning officer, said in his explanation of why they decided to reopen applications. “This way there’s still an election and Brantford is well-represented.”

Since reopening, Melody Parton submitted her application and will be the second acclaimed candidate alongside Nick DeSumma.

“I’m really pleased that we got another candidate from Brantford,” Saad said. “It’s a great bonus that it’s a female candidate because we were lacking in the gender diversity department.”

“I’m best friends with Laura Bassett who is on the board right now,” Parton said. “So I know a lot about how the board runs and what stuff they do. I decided that I would probably be the best person to fill the position.”

Parton said she was surprised that they had to reopen applications this year due to the lack of participation from Brantford students. For the past two years there has been three candidates running for the positions, eliminating the need for acclaimed candidates.

“I think it’s something that nobody really knows about. It’s not really advertised on our campus at all and a lot of students don’t even know that elections are going on right now,” she continued.
Laura Bassett, the current director from the Brantford campus, believes that the struggle to find Brantford candidates is due to the campus’ interest being at an operational level rather than at the strategic level.

“I think that just because the interest isn’t there at the strategic level is not a representation of the interest of the Brantford campus as a whole.”

DeSumma thinks the lack of participation is a result of a lack of political courses at Brantford.

“It’s a different program-oriented school here.”

He explained that one of the reasons he decided to run was due to his political interest.

“I thought it’d be interesting to be a voice for the students of Brantford even if they don’t want to speak for themselves maybe, or if they aren’t that into politics like I am,” he continued.

In terms of what could be improved to help foster an interest in Students’ Union positions, Bassett said she would like to see a rebranding of the position.

“Right now the board of directors is looked at as a very political and high level position and I think maybe rebranding it a little bit to focus more on the day-to-day activities of the board would be helpful in making it more approachable to students on the Brantford campus.”

But both Bassett and Courtney Yole, who is the other Brantford director currently on the board, pointed out that it is the job of all the directors to advocate for both campuses.

“I’ve started to notice more and more focus is towards the Brantford campus and including us in things that are going on and reading through different platforms that people have put out. It’s nice to see that,” Yole said.

Alicia Appleby is the only Brantford candidate running for Senate, making her acclaimed.

“To be completely honest and frank, I think the promotion and the advertising for the elections—to run —this year was lacking and students weren’t aware of it,” she said.

Appleby was, however, happy with the total number of candidates running for Senate this year- seven in total.

“Usually it’s acclaimed and then they open it back up, so I think it’s great.”

According to Saad, the need to reopen applications for Brantford board candidates this year is not part of an identifiable pattern.

“It just fluctuates from year to year. Sometimes you have more returning candidates running for election. This year was an older board so there are more people leaving.”

There are no Brantford candidates running for president.

Disclaimer: Dani Saad is the Opinion Editor for The Cord

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