‘There’s a lot of room for improvement’
By Jake Wray, News Editor
The DSU has raised concerns about Douglas College’s annual forum where they solicit feedback from students about the college’s upcoming budget.
The student consultation involves a presentation of a draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year, followed by a question and comment period where students can give feedback about the budget directly to college administrators. This year’s consultation is set for February 2 at 12:30 p.m. in room S4920 at the New Westminster campus and in room B3011 at the Coquitlam campus.
A DSU representative told the Other Press that the students’ union wants the college to do more to engage students in the consultation, while a college representative said the college takes student engagement seriously and they are committed to working with the DSU to improve the consultation process.
Tanysha Klassen, director of external relations for the DSU, said the college relied on the DSU to inform students about the consultation, but the DSU had only brought members of the DSU board and DSU staff.
“Last year, for example, they kind of expected us to do the advertising,” she said in an interview with the Other Press. “We showed up with four representatives and a staff person, and [the college] were like ‘oh, there’s not more students coming?’”
No other students aside from the DSU representatives attended the consultation last year, according to Klassen. She said the confusion about who should advertise the consultation may have been a miscommunication resulting from the fact that the DSU hadn’t sent representatives to the consultation in previous years.
“Maybe just a lack of communication for that first year we attended, so that’s fair, but also it was weird for us,” she said. “I don’t want to come across like we’re attacking the college for doing this budget consultation, it’s just at this point there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Klassen said the DSU is taking an active role in advertising the consultation process this year, but they had some difficulty planning the awareness campaign because the college didn’t provide them with a time and location for the meeting until January 19, just two weeks before the planned February 2 consultation.
Dave Taylor, associate vice president of public affairs at Douglas College, said the college has relied on the DSU to advertise the consultation in the past, but this year the college will engage in its own awareness campaign.
“In the past, I would say that’s fair. We had relied on the DSU to get the word out,” Taylor said in a phone interview with the Other Press. “There’s a social media campaign, all students will receive an email about this, and there are going to be slides on the big digital screens [around the campuses.] So there is a campaign that we’re doing this year in response to those concerns [from the DSU] last year.”
Taylor said scheduling events at the college can be challenging but the college always gives as much notice as possible.
“The point of this is to have students at the event and give them notice so that they can actually come if they’re interested,” he said. “We like working with the DSU to do these kinds of things because it’s an important opportunity for students.”