Student Association elections explained

The Student Association’s board of directors elections might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be

It’s that time of year again; elections for the Student Association’s (SA) board of directors are now underway.

With the voting period running from March 18 to March 29 on all campuses, students may feel that they don’t understand how the process works well enough or what they are voting for enough to participate. Luckily, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem at first glance.

In response to such trepidation, we have assembled a short explainer to help with your most frequently asked questions.

The SA itself fills many roles, including providing health and dental insurance for students, hosting fun events and clubs to join, promoting safety and justice with programs like SafeWalk and the Community Action Centre and academic advocacy. The SA also publishes The Dialog student newspaper and provides a wide range of services such as the student food bank, the Kings Lounge Bar and Eatery, legal aid, and will even help you with your taxes.

“It’s incredibly important for students to engage with the platforms of the slates and individuals who are campaigning, as whoever wins is going to be the governing body representing all of George Brown,” said Asad Raza the chief returning officer for the election.

The SA board of directors consists of 21 elected members, five of which are executive positions who are responsible for the governing of the SA between annual general meetings.

The executives have broader responsibilities than the other positions of campus directors, education centre and constituency representatives, who act on behalf of their specific constituents.

Eight of the 21 possible positions are being contested, with 12 positions being acclaimed. One position, the women and trans people representative was uncontested and there will be a by-election for it in the fall.

Two executive positions require 40-hour work weeks, director of communications and internal as well as director of operations. The remaining executive positions are part time at 24-hours a week. All campus directors complete 10-hour work weeks and all education centre and constituency representatives work five hours a week.

Campus directors and education centre representatives candidates must be current students enrolled at the campus or in the program they seek to represent. Constituency representative candidates must be self-identified members to be eligible to run.

The SA employs the slate system; students may run a cross-campaign with other students, sharing platform stances and ideas, pooling resources, shouldering equal responsibility. Students may also run as independents. The two slates this year are Act Now!, who won 18 of 21 positions in the 2015-16 elections, and Students for Students (S4S).

“The only way this type of democracy can truly be representative of the students is if each person takes the time to make an informed vote,” said Raza. “Meaning that they’ve taken the time to reflect on what they want the future of George Brown to look like, and which candidate can best lead the way there.”

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Student Association elections explained