After a bumpy 2018 which saw three of its leaders fired, Durham College Students Inc. (DCSI) is planning an election next month.
DCSI fired elected president Jaylan Hayles, and vice-presidents Toosaa Bush and Geoffrey Olara in June of last year. DCSI has operated without an executive since.
Charles Wilson, chair of the board of directors at DCSI, says this year’s elections will begin mid-March.
“The timeline was approved by the board at the January 9 board meeting, and it matches the cycle of the college’s student governor re-elections,” says Wilson, adding students will be notified ahead of time when nominations are being accepted.
He says this year there will be some structural changes to the student union. On Jan. 30 the board of directors approved a new proposed governance model which will see changes to the roles within the union. The next step is approval from the students, Wilson says.
“It [governance model] will be submitted for approval by the membership at the Annual General Meeting on February 28th,” says Wilson. The AGM was originally scheduled for last November, but got cancelled after a poor turnout.
DCSI held its first elections last year to choose an eight-member board of directors and a three-person executive. DCSI was created after the original Student Association, which also represented UOIT students, was dissolved in 2017. UOIT’s student governance is now in the hands of the UOIT Student Union.
The new proposed DCSI governance model would still see an eight-person board of directors, one from each school in the college, but the executive would be trimmed from a president and two vice-presidents down to one role.
The description of the proposed one-person executive role, according to a DCSI document, says: “This person will manage the Director and Member meetings of the DCSI, act as a liaison to the College and work with staff to develop welcome week – this person will be accountable to the Board of Directors and the Members.”
Wilson says one of the issues was the original executive roles didn’t match the duties.
“If you look at the job description of the former executives, and you look at the titles, the job descriptions did not match what the titles were,” he says.
Wilson adds he expects a decrease in DCSI funding will occur as a result of the provincial government’s Student Choice Initiative, which will allow students to opt out of certain fees, and is another reason for the change in roles.
“We are looking to justify our services, and justify our staff positions, and the executive is one of the ones we are looking at in that light as well,” says Wilson. The original executive positions were paid, with the president earning a full-time salary and the vice-presidents part-time.