George Wilson hopes to enlighten others as to how the Board works in this position, ultimately allowing an adequate representation of student voices. The duties and roles of student representatives will be advertised more efficiently, through both Facebook and increased presence at events like Caucus. He previously served as a Board of Regents member for the Victoria College Union and will utilize such experience to promote effective implementation of student feedback. The Strand sat down with him to discuss his reasons for running, what the Board of Regents (BoR) does, and his take one this year’s VUSAC elections.
The Strand: What does the BoR do?
George Wilson: The Board is a body that a lot of power that people don’t understand, mainly because it has a lot of actual power that isn’t seen as being used that much. The simplest way to explain it is that essentially, the Board is the body that keeps Vic going. They approve the expenditure of money; they make appointments, and stuff like that. People don’t know that much about it, mainly because it works very slowly and there aren’t many meeting. There are only four meetings per year. What is often done is outside groups, whether they be a group from within Vic or one that has been contracted out, will give a recommendation which is often approved unanimously. So decisions and expenditures, and appointments are probably the two most important things that the Board covers, though there are seven different committees that cover various items.
TS: You are on the BoR this year, so why are you running again?
GW: I joined the Board this year in the Fall election because there weren’t enough people on it. So I’ve only been on it since then. In the time since, I have really enjoyed the time in continuing to have a voice in student politics and representing students;whereas some people don’t like being on VUSAC because it’s very time intensive and they don’t have the time, and a lot of people don’t like being on a type of body where you find everything gets very political. Everyone can complain until the end of the day about problems with VUSAC, but the thing that I probably like most about the Board is that it’s quite professional; most of the people there are actual professionals who are paid to do what they do, and I feel like giving students a voice on that is very important. I am happy that more people are running for it this year, but it is something that in the past not a lot of people have done.
TS: Going off that, there are 5 people running for 4 BoR positions while all VUSAC positions are uncontested. I’m just curious, as a previous VUSAC member, why do you think this year there is such a lack of interest?
GW: There are a few reasons. I briefly spoke to this on the VUSAC elections forum, which is a good Facebook group to be on. The first main reason I would say is that VUSAC in general this year has reached less people. Last year, I think we had really good communications; we had a big campaign in the Fall to get over 1,000 Facebook likes, and we had a lot of engagement on social media and posts physically on campus which I think got a lot of people who maybe didn’t know much about VUSAC involved. I think that may not be talked about much this year because all of the people who are running are people who are running no matter what sort of advertisements there were, but it’s people who might be interested in entry level positions or don’t know that much about VUSAC that might be interested who are missing.
The second main reason is because I think over the past few years VUSAC’s mandate has expanded a lot, and people are putting a lot more time into it. Since most positions aren’t paid, and the ones that are paid considering the amount of hours you put in, really don’t match up. People quite frankly don’t have the time or effort and would maybe have to sacrifice the current jobs they have. Often people sacrifice graduating in four years. As much as it’s noble and I applaud people for doing that, there are only so many people who can do that.