The Students’ Union elections are upon us, and candidates for the Brantford Campus Council, Board of Directors and President and CEO of WLUSU are actively campaigning for the vote. The one position missing from the ballot the last few years is that of the head of WLUSU at our Brantford Campus: the executive vice presidentof Brantford operations. While this position was once elected by students, it is now hired internally by our elected president and a hiring committee. This brings up the question: should the position of EVP:BO be placed in the hands of the students, or should the individual be hired externally by a group from the Waterloo campus?
The EVP:BO is responsible for most of the decisions related to the Brantford campus, as well as managing the two associate vice-presidents (AVPs) of internal operations and student affairs. Together, these three positions account for the day-to-day management of WLUSU Brantford’s operations and are required to build and maintain a constructive relationship with the campus and community at large. Although there is a Brantford Campus Council, they are strictly an advisory board with no power of their own.
On a campus of our size, it’s easy for an election to become focused more on the individuals themselves as opposed to the qualities and experience they possess. Someone who runs a strong, or at least attention-grabbing campaign may win a significant amount of the vote because of their campaigning efforts, as opposed to any real qualifications they might possess.
Likewise, a student who maintains a large profile on campus through extracurricular activities, such as being a residence life don or an Orientation Week ice breaker, could have the notoriety around campus necessary to sweep an election. Although this student might be the perfect person for the roles they have already had, they may not have the qualities necessary to manage the role of EVP:BO.
The hiring process within WLUSU intensifies as the available position for becomes more powerful. This is a necessity to ensure that a qualified candidate is chosen to best represent that position. This shouldn’t change at the highest level, just so the general student population can have input into this position. The higher up one goes in WLUSU, the more important it is that they are a strong, well qualified candidate. In the past, elected candidates haven’t necessarily been the strongest fit for the position despite successfully being elected. A strict hiring process helps measure a candidate’s worthiness for the job instead of their ability to campaign.
While internal hiring may or may not be the best way to choose our EVP:BO, until we have the student population necessary to turn an election into something more than a popularity contest, this is the best method we have.