Priscilla Popp, staff
The Laurier Brantford division of Wilfrid Laurier University Student Union suffered a shocking blow following a controversial decision to disband the Brantford Campus Council.
The council, which served as a medium between the WLUSU board and Brantford, was responsible for voicing students’ concerns and opinions, ensuring they were heard beyond just Brantford campus.
The decision, made January 6 and to take effect this May, understandably had members of WLUSU talking.
The decision includes plans for a constitution that would, in theory, benefit the Brantford campus are currently in the process of referendum.
The constitution would guarantee Brantford students a minimum of two seats on the board, beginning in the spring of 2013. The Waterloo campus would also be ensured two spots.
Holly Kaiser, the Executive Vice President:Brantford of WLUSU, was surprised by the decision.
She says that it has now become essential that someone from the Brantford campus be elected in the upcoming February election.
She fears that the Laurier Brantford community is becoming an afterthought when important decisions are made, and cites the difference in campus population as one of the reasons for the unequal balance that seems to be emerging (the Waterloo campus holds about 13,000 students while Brantford has only around 2,800).
“Right now our university is very waterloo-heavy,” Kaiser said. “The different size in schools makes it very difficult for a Brantford BOD to get recognized.”
Trevor Faessler is the current chair of the BCC and is entering his third year of service with WLUSU.
Faessler had a different approach and looked at the decision with optimism, though he admitted his concerns with the timeline under which changes will take place.
He would’ve liked to have seen the BCC stay for one more year in an effort to avoid the gap between the board and the Brantford campus as result of the election.
“This is going to give Brantford students a voice on the board, instead of advising” he said.
When looking into the near future of WLUSU, Faessler said he hopes that there will be, “a strong connection between the board and Brantford.”
Chris Walker, Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Governance Officer, insists that the disbandment had nothing to do with favouring Waterloo at all, but that in fact the decision was made in hopes of creating the opposite effect.
He believes the disbandment is the beginning of providing, “equity and financial support at all campuses, ensuring that all students and staff are supported and experience the same level of satisfaction.”
He said that the disbandment was the solution in solving “a lot of the structural problems we have to make a working relationship.”
“The BCC, although it served a purpose, didn’t really have a clear mandate anymore” Walker said.
Kaiser had quite a different view, stressing the importance of creating a voice for the Brantford campus, encouraging students to say, “we are growing, we are important, don’t forget about us.”