Constituency representative and former SA executives critical of new structure
The board of directors of the Student Association of George Brown College (SA) will now consist of 10 members, down from 22, after a motion for a new constitution and bylaws passed at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.
The Dialog is funded by the SA.
Constituency representatives and campus directors will no longer on the board and two executive positions were cut.
The education and equity directors will be combined into one position while the director of campus life position was eliminated.
“One thing I want students to know is that we definitely put a lot of thought into this,” said Jasmyn St. Hilaire who is the SA’s director of communications and internal.
The SA board brought in Charles Wilson, the general manager of Durham College Students who has been the chief returning officer for past SA elections, to help with restructuring the board.
According to St. Hilaire, the SA had one of the largest boards of student associations in Ontario and Wilson presented a number of options to the board.
“We took what we liked from each and created our board structure that would work for the SA and now we’re hopeful and look forward to what comes next,” she said.
Former SA president Gregory Evans, who was on the board in 2010-11, said a smaller board may more efficient but there are other things to consider.
Evans said he was proud to have constituency representatives on the board because they needed to have those voices at the table when the SA was planning campaigns or lobbying.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of board composition they have, it matters what they do with it,” Evans said.
Members of the current board point to the Community Action Centre (CAC) as a place where marginalized students are involved in the SA.
“The CAC is structured in a way where they already have constituency support staff,” said Alex Stewart, the SA director of campus life. “So they’ll be taking on that workload of the constituency representatives.”
Others feel that the CAC alone is not enough to provide this support.
“I can just say that it’s unfair for everybody in this whole situation,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, the SA’s First Nations, Métis, & Inuit representative. “There’s not enough opportunities for Indigenous People to begin with.”
Cindy Weber was the director of education and equity in 2011-12 and had previously served as the vice president of finance and vice president of GBC students at Ryerson.
Weber said the combined director of education and equity position was too big a job for one person and that staff will have to make up for the lack of representation for the voices the constituency representatives provide, which she thinks is not very likely.
“You need their lived experiences so that you’re not making ridiculous policy decisions,” Weber said.
Webber said the larger SA board served as a model for colleges because it was an effective way to have George Brown College’s diverse student population heard.
With the new changes the director of communications and internal and director of operations positions are being extended for until December and elections for those positions will now happen in the fall.