By Aly Beach, Cassidy McMullen and Kirsten Jerry
A new era of student politics is underway at Durham College.
The Durham College (DC) student association, now called DC Students Inc. (DCSI), is holding its first independent election Feb. 20 to March 2. DCSI was created after the DC and UOIT Student Association split last year.
“This is your first election for all of you to take control of your own student association, your own services, your own events,” says Peter Garrett, DCSI’s director and transition manager.
After the election, DCSI will have a new president, two new vice-presidents and eight new directors, representing each of the DC schools. The winners will serve a one-year term, running May 1 to April 30, 2019.
According to its website, DCSI says its mandate is to serve, govern and interact with students through various programs.
As part of the general election the student representative for the Durham College Board of Governors will also be decided. The responsibilities of the Board of Governors include strategic planning and budget approval for the entire college. Nominees for both elections will be on the same online ballot so students only have to vote once.
Anyone interested in running must register between Monday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb 16. Students can pick up the nomination packages on Feb. 12.
To be eligible, a student must be a full-time DC student, paid their student fees by the end of the period and be in “good academic standing.” Good academic standing means having a GPA of 2.0 or more and not being on academic probation.
Garrett stresses before students consider running they should know the responsibilities of each position. If students have any questions, they should seek clarification.
“We’re happy to sit down and talk about the responsibilities of any role with the students. So, if you are looking into these roles and you want clarification, reach out and reach out sooner rather than later,” says Garrett.
One former student who campaigned for vice-president of college affairs in the 2015 election says the process was difficult.
“Exhausting would probably be the biggest emotions that I had. It’s draining to be a contender,” says Zach Leveque-Wilson, a former marketing and advertising student.
“I took basically a week off school and I was out campaigning and talking to people probably eight to 12 hours a day,” he says.
In Leveque-Wilson’s experience, there is a lot of scrutiny and campaigns can sometimes involve slander and even vandalism.
“You kind of have to have, almost an aloofness about your own image,” says Leveque-Wilson.
He experienced times when people took things out of context. He was accused of “not believing in fun” because he thought school events should look for local entertainment instead of using more costly, American acts.
Garrett wants to assure students this upcoming election will be clean.
“There’s no harassment or abuse allowed…keep it clean and respectful,” says Garrett.
A meeting will be held with the current DCSI directors on Feb. 20 that all nominees must attend or they cannot run, says Garrett. The meeting teaches nominees how to campaign.
Campaigning begins Feb. 21 and ends March 2.
The voting period is Feb. 26 to March 2.
Results will be announced March 8.