Coquitlam campus short one student representative since November
By Jake Wray, News Editor
A byelection to select a new student representative from the Coquitlam campus to sit on the Douglas College education council has stalled because no candidates have been nominated.
The education council is an elected body consisting of two students from the Coquitlam campus, two students from the New Westminster campus, two support staff, and ten faculty members. The responsibilities of the education council include defining curriculum content, setting various academic policies, and advising the Douglas College board.
One of the Coquitlam student representative positions has been vacant since November, when Meredith Graham stepped down from the position, according to Douglas College registrar Rella Ng.
After Graham stepped down, the registrar’s office put out a call for nominations, Ng said in a phone interview with the Other Press, but no nominations were submitted. Ng said the lack of nominations might be due to bad timing.
“It was probably timing of the year, because it was in late November,” she said, adding that the Coquitlam campus might have a smaller pool of students interested in student politics. “We maybe just didn’t have many students from the Coquitlam campus that wanted to be on education council.”
A student must be taking at least 50 per cent of their credits at the Coquitlam campus in order to be a Coquitlam student representative on the education council, according to the Douglas College website.
Ng said there will be another call for nominations for the vacant seat in approximately two weeks, but she is not sure if there will be any change.
“Given that it’s so late, we don’t know if we’re actually going to get any nominations,” she said. “Because it’s a new term, we might have some new students who may actually be interested in putting their name forward.”
The seat might have to remain vacant if no nominations come in during the second call, Ng said.
“If we actually can’t get any more nominations, if we’ve attempted twice, I think we may need to leave that vacant,” she said.
The DSU has raised concerns about the vacant seat as well, according to Ng, and both parties are strategizing about the issue.
“It is a conversation I’ve had with the Douglas Students’ Union, they’ve raised the question about the election process as well, and so we are actually taking a look at what can we do together collectively to encourage more students [to be] more involved,” she said. “Is there something in our procedures that we need to change? So, we are looking at what we can to do try to encourage more students to come forward.”
McKenzie Hutchison, a New Westminster student representative elected to the education council in October, said she’s had a positive experience serving on the council so far.
“You have students providing an alternative voice around a table of administrators. The council is very welcoming and encourages as much student participation as possible,” she wrote in a Facebook interview with the Other Press. “It’s great to see the strength [of] a student voice, and all the various perspectives it holds, being taken seriously at an important level.”