‘Other Press’ News editor elected president of Canadian University Press
By Brody Steves, Contributor
A student from Douglas College and a member of the Other Press newspaper will be leaving for Toronto in a few months to lead Canada’s largest and oldest student journalism cooperative, Canadian University Press (CUP).
Patrick Vaillancourt, who currently works as the News editor with the Other Press, was elected by the membership of CUP on January 12 at their annual general meeting in Edmonton.
Vaillancourt said in his address to the plenary that he was “deeply honoured to have received the confidence and a mandate from the membership of the Canadian University Press.”
Delegates from campus publications across Canada were in Edmonton from January 8 to 12 for a five-day conference, titled NASH, which focuses on professional development and networking opportunities. The Other Press had sent a delegation of eight students to NASH, which was hosted by the University of Alberta’s student publication, the Gateway.
Vaillancourt had originally been contested in the presidential race, but his opponent withdrew her candidacy a few days before the scheduled vote. Despite some calls from the membership to delay the election to allow for a contested election, the plenary gave Vaillancourt a convincing mandate to lead the organization for the next 12 months.
“It was just strange coming into the conference being perceived by the membership as an outsider and underdog for the presidency,” said Vaillancourt. “After my opponent withdrew, my Twitter followers list grew substantially. That’s when I realized that, in the blink of an eye, I went from being a long-shot candidate to the presumptive winner of the election.”
In making his case to the membership, Vaillancourt stressed that the vision for his presidency focuses on three pillars: reversing the trend of member attrition, charting a course to organizational sustainability, and the eventual reacquisition of growth.
“It’s certainly a lofty purpose, and one which may not be accomplished in a one-year term, but certainly a framework for success in these areas will be established,” said Vaillancourt.
The plenary also elected Jane Lytvynenko as national bureau chief, in an election which saw three strong candidates in the running for the organization’s top editorial job. Lytvynenko currently serves as CUP’s Ottawa bureau chief, and will replace Brendan Kergin as national bureau chief this fall.
Outgoing CUP president Erin Hudson was elected as the CUP continuity director, and will remain on the CUP Board of Directors, providing guidance to the incoming executive.
Vaillancourt said that he was excited to be working with the new national bureau chief and the outgoing national executive.
“Jane’s an absolutely fantastic person and very qualified for the role,” said Vaillancourt. “She brings with her some solid experience from the Ottawa bureau and she will play a major role in the turnaround strategy I have laid before the membership in the coming year.”
Vaillancourt also had some kind words for Hudson, who he’s set to succeed.
“Erin Hudson came into the job as CUP was facing some of the biggest challenges in its 76-year history. Despite the challenges, she has been instrumental in strengthening the CUP brand in the last year, and I look forward to continuing some of the great work she has done as president.”
Vaillancourt has acknowledged that the role of president-elect of CUP is one that will consume much of his time, but has indicated that he would stay on as the News editor for the Other Press, the student publication from Douglas College, until a successor is found. It is known that Vaillancourt is one of only a few people with ties to Douglas College or the Other Press to run for CUP’s top job.
Vaillancourt will officially become president of the Canadian University Press on May 1.