Reporter: Giorgio Berbatiotis
The candidates for Student Association elections have been announced. In total, 17 positions are available on the board and executive. Of these 17, only six actually have more than one candidate running, and two of the Durham College board positions have no one running at all.
This means only about one-third of all the available positions are even contested, and only one of the eight for Durham College. For the Durham College VP position, which is a full-time job that pays $33,000-a-year plus benefits, incumbent Ashley Bennet is the only candidate. Bennet first got the job after being appointed by the board, following the resignation of the former VP, who left amidst the turmoil at the SA this year. This comes after months of complaints about the lack of DC representation at the SA, and concerns that new election policies would alienate students from the process and fail to generate interest.
Jeremy Baarbe, who was also appointed by the board to a $33,000-a-year VP position following the resignation of the previous VP, has also decided to run in this election. Unlike Bennet, Baarbe has a history at the SA, and he is already the president of another union. Baarbe, Bennet and Savannah Watters, an appointed board member and the partner of former VP of university affairs Jesse Cullen, are the only three of the board’s many appointees this year to run in the elections. They are all on the same slate, Students United, along with board vice-chair Baker Baha and a crop of fresh faces. Together they form the largest slate with ten candidates, including four acclaimed director candidates.
Despite the dominance of the incumbents, there are a series of new faces to choose from, especially in the much more competitive UOIT races and the presidential race. The complete list is available on the SA website, however candidates this year are not required to have a platform present at polling stations, meaning it is up to students to actively seek out information about candidates during the election period.