Lack of opposition highlights low student engagement on campus
On Jan. 18, six Student Representatives ran unopposed and were acclaimed to the UVic Board of Governors and the Senate. The lack of opposition was due in part to the call for nominations being quick, quiet, and going unnoticed by most UVic students.
Eslam Mehina and Isabella Lee are the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Representatives acclaimed to the Board of Governors, respectively. Mehina was also acclaimed to the Senate, and will serve as a Student Representative on both bodies.
Mehina is a Graduate student in Medical Science, and the President of the Neuroscience Student Society. Mehina said she was supported by her fellow Graduate students to be nominated for positions on both the Board and the Senate. She hoped to hold one position, and was surprised to find out she made both.
“I think a lot of people would have been interested in such a great opportunity,” said Mehina.
Mehina said that it was hard to find the call for nominations.
“I just happened to stumble upon it because I happened to be in this position for our student society, but I don’t think most people would have [found it.]”
The call for nominations started on Jan. 7, followed by a second call for nominations on Feb. 25. The calls were circulated via email, advertised on digicasters and posters on campus, and shared on social media. The second call for nominations was advertised on the Martlet website.
Getting more students involved in student governance is part of what Isabella Lee wants to work on as a Student Representative for the Board of Governors.
Lee is an undergraduate student in sociology and the Director of Student Affairs for the 2018-2019 UVSS Board of Directors. She wants to address the lack of student representation on the Board of Governors, in addition to the international student fee hike and the environment.
“For an every day student, [student governance] is a great thing to be a part of,” said Lee.
She was disappointed with the lack of interest in the Board of Governors and the Senate.
“Of course a part of you kind of wants to think ‘oh we just did such a good job no one wants to campaign!’ but of course that’s not true. People just don’t know about it and that’s kind of [alarming].”
According to the UVic website, the Board of Governors (comprised of 15 members, two of them Student Representatives) handles the property, revenue, business, and affairs of the university. The Senate (made up of 76 members, 16 of whom are student representatives) handles academic governance.
In addition to Mehina, Caelen Cook, Marshall Scott-Bigsby, and Lulu Wise are the three other students acclaimed to the Senate.
Because the Senate is still missing an additional 11 Student Representatives, elections will be held again in April to fill the spots.
On Monday, April 1, the University will be hosting a ‘Meet Your Candidates’ event in the University Centre at 11:45 a.m. for the students running in the second election for the Senate.
This article was updated on March 28 at 12:12 p.m. to more accurately reflect the University’s outreach and advertising for the Senate and Board of Governors elections. The Martlet apologizes for a previous iteration of this article that stated inaccurate information regarding this subject.