– Aaleya Waslat, staff
“This is the biggest group of Brantford students that has ever gone up to a meeting so far”, said Nick Savage, welcoming all the students on board of a school bus headed to Waterloo to debate the new WLUSU structure at a Board of Directors meeting January 20.
WLUSU is being restructured and the information about this new structure reached Brantford out of nowhere and almost delayed.
The Student Union has chosen to dissolve the Brantford Operations Team, made up of one Executive Vice President and three Associate Vice Presidents by May 2012.
A new structure called “Multicampus” with a new multi-campus team will be introduced.
At the meeting, the Brantford presence was felt as some students had to sit on the floor just to fit in the WLUSU boardroom.
The meeting started off with some formal planning decisions and led to discussion about phase two of the new restructure.
The restructuring of the student union is being enforced for the support and development of both campuses. Approximately 40 Laurier Brantford students were present at the meeting. The students were very passionate and concerned.
Nolan Kreis, a Laurier Brantford student in his fourth year who is a Presidential candidate, points out that the main concern of the Laurier students is that the Vice-President alone, if selected from Waterloo, might not have the same understanding of the Brantford Campus as someone from the actual Brantford campus.
“We are afraid we don’t have the same level of communication as we had before,” Kreis said.
The most upsetting part to many students is that there was no input from the Brantford campus.
Throughout the meeting, it was also mentioned that the decision of the endorsement is not a board decision.
“The ground of this is built and we will not destroy it, the students have shown their concerns about the new structure and this will be taken into serious consideration”, said Nick Gibson, President of WLUSU.
Savage argued the opposite, stating that the structure needs to be taken off the table.
He stated the ideal objective would be, “The proposed structure comes down, mainly because it is not what students desire. The Students Union is an organization driven by students and we are not going to let this pass. Also, the board should agree to enforce more research in order to structure the Multicampus in agreement of all students.”
Jonathan Collaton, one of the directors of the board, was praised by Laurier Brantford students.
He represented the voice of all the Brantford students by pointing out that the student community agrees that these restructure doesn’t support the development of the university to sustainability but to constant change.
“The constant restructuring of the council makes us students think, as if nobody knows what they are doing,” Collaton said. “We need to move forward with the structure in order to see what is good we cant reconstruct and just wait and then change it all again.”
Gibson responded with affirming that this is the direction they are going to take.
“I am very confident, that this multicampus [plan] and the direction we have taken will support both campuses, as we certainly are addressing certain problems and we are keeping student interest in mind, this structure will allow more specific-pointed service.”
The Brantford students didn’t seem to be satisfied by the answers given by the board.
Some battles were won, however, as they were ensured that the Vice President of Experience is going to be from Brantford, if applied for.
Later in an interview Gibson ensured that more information was to come out.
“The students have yet not received the final information,” Gibson said. “The passion that the students have shown today is really understandable and appreciated. We want students to participate.”
The meeting became even more heated when Director Jon Pryce encouraged the students to contact the student supervisors per email and inform strongly about their concerns.
He argued that Brantford students did not make their voices heard until after the proposal had been released.
“You all can speak English, why don’t you address us,” Pryce said.
“Let’s not focus only on the passion, let us address the issue itself,” said Chris Walker, Chair of the WLUSU board.
The Board Meeting gave the Brantford students a great opportunity to show that, although the Brantford campus has a small student population, compared to Waterloo campus, the voice of Brantford students is equally important.