DSU rep slate receives student mandate
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Last week the Douglas student electorate voted “yes” to the Students United Mandate, half composed of previously-sitting representatives and six newcomers. The United slate ran uncontested this year, prompting the ballots to read as “yes/no” decision.
“This is the first DSU election to be held in over five years to be uncontested,” said fourth-term External Relations Coordinator, Jill Griffin. “When it was announced that we would be the only slate running, I was surprised.”
The lack of choice on ballots confused some students, with misguided accusations of anti-democratic behaviour aired via the United campaign Facebook group page.
The new representatives voted into the fold this year are Milo Leraar for Pride Liaison, Sonia Keshane as Aboriginal Liaison, Lorna Howat as Disabilities Liaison, Ka’nika Codrington as Women’s Liaison, and both Keiko Nariya and Shila Avissa as Members-at-Large.
“Well, I really love the pride community as it already exists at Douglas,” said Leerar. “I really want to build on what we already have towards creating safer spaces and more events! I would love it if we could get a bit of activists spirit going as well, surrounding things such as the blood ban [on sexually active gay men].”
“Also, since New Westminster is lacking in queer resources as a whole, I’d love it if events hosted in the DSU could be more open to the wider community,” added Leerar.
This year’s turnout was much smaller than last year’s record-breaking count, likely given that the electoral battle was much less divisive as last year’s Restart (composed largely of United candidates) versus the Progress mandate, made up mostly of 2011-2012 incumbent members.
“This year we are going to continue to offer services that students enjoy like free food, giveaways, monthly prizes, and campus events,” said Griffin. “Beyond these things, students have expressed the need for increased space on campus as the college continues to grow. To help provide students with more space on campus, we are going to continue to improve the DSU space to better serve students by adding student computers at David Lam and at New Westminster.”
The DSU also hopes that the Pita Pit will be opened by the end of September.
Griffin and the United team seek to carry out their term by holding the college to its own motto, claiming they “recognize that physical space is not the only space that is important to students and to this end we will be working with students, senior management, the education council, and board of governors to ensure that Douglas College lives up to its mission statement that states students are the primary focus.”