We, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), have been informed that the proposal of a reduction to the University Board of Trustees’ membership has been adopted and will in fact be moving forward in what we feel is a disappointing direction. The Board of Trustees had compiled a public proposal that sought feedback on their plan. The BUSU Executive team met with the Board to make known our stance that a reduction in elected student representatives was not the direction to take as well as outlined ideas on how student Trustee members could be better prepared and transitioned into their roles on the University’s highest governing body.
The reduction of 32 seats to 26 seats will include the downsizing of undergraduate student representatives. The new composition, which will not take effect until 2016, will now have one (1) undergraduate student representative which will be the BUSU President and one (1) graduate student representative. The previous composition had three (3) elected student seats, two (2) of which were undergraduate students and one (1) graduate student. The reduction of student representatives means students will have a diminished voice on decisions effecting the government, conduct, management and control of the University and of its property, revenues, expenditures, business and affairs.
In this new composition we do feel the inclusion of the BUSU President as a voting student representative on the Board of Trustees is positive and brings with it a significant increased level of accountability. The BUSU President is elected at large by the undergraduate students during the most active elections period. In their term they will be heavily involved with numerous campus and community stakeholders, by the very nature of the position they will have an increased level of awareness and knowledge of issues and student needs, and have significantly more levels of accountability while serving as a Trustee to such bodies as BUSAC and the BUSU Board of Directors.
While we recognize this downsizing will not occur until the 2016-17 session of the Board of Trustees, it is our plan to not only express our disappointment to the Board, but to also continue our dialogue in the hopes that our concerns, arguments and ideas can be heard. It is our hopes a resolution to this can be constructed in a manner that upholds our ideals and those of the students who have vocally raised their concerns to us.