During VUSAC’s meeting on January 20th, 2017, council discussed the rationale behind removing co-presidency and reinstating a single president. VUSAC co-president, Stuart Norton, explained that co-presidency was a reaction to the heavy workload. He stated that the solution to the problem should have been in reallocating the workload to the vice-presidents, instead of splitting work and opportunities in half. A straw poll was taken and the majority of council agreed upon removing co-presidency. VUSAC co-president, Rahul Christoffersen, was absent from the preliminary meeting that discussed the removal of co-presidency.
The proposal for VUSAC co-presidency was briefly discussed in the winter of 2015, and during a meeting on February 6th, 2015, former VPO, Enxhi Kondi, outlined the potential changes and the impacts of a shared presidency. Co-presidency was introduced mainly to lessen the president’s workload who, above all was still a student, working towards receiving a degree. Rowan DeBues, 2014 VUSAC president, revealed that in 2008, co-presidency was proposed but then shut down. He further stated that the change in VUSAC portfolio and “added external advocacy,” would allow for co-presidency to be successful for upcoming years. On February 27th, 2015, proposal for co-presidency was approved.
In an email correspondence, Christoffersen responded to the significance of reinstating a single presidency: “The Co-President role was created to lesson the workload on the President, but while there were benefits to have a Co-President – for example the support that Stuart and I have given each other during rough patches. But given that much of the President’s role involves sitting on committees and attending meetings, both with student organizations and admin, it ended up being just as much work because we still had to be constantly updating each other and keeping each other in the loop.”
What was once introduced to alleviate the president’s workload and responsibility, resulted in miscommunication, split opportunities, and an impractical solution to a problem that should have been resolved through reallocation within VUSAC. Whether the revised constitution will allow for stronger presidency or not is uncertain and will remain as such until the next VUSAC elections in 2018.