The University Students’ Council (USC) has transitioned away from its joint president/vice-president slate in favour of a new process and structure that student leaders say will put more emphasis on advocacy and open up the governing body to more students.
In next month’s election, the president will be the only executive member role directly elected by the student body. The previous VP role is being split into two vice-presidential positions – one focused on internal advocacy on campus, the other on external advocacy. Those positions will be chosen jointly by the incoming and outgoing council elected by the student body.
“The current executive structure has limited the USC’s effectiveness,” said USC President Bardia Jalayer. With a growing need for Western students to be at the consultation and decision-making tables, “it’s far too many roles for one person to lead. It stretches them too thin.”
Separating the vote for president from the vice-president’s election/selection also allows a greater number of students to run for any position, Jalayer said. “This seems to be the best way to make the election more accessible to students and allows the election to engage more students.”
The USC is comprised of 41 councillors, elected by undergraduate students in their home faculty affiliated college or professional schools.
The executive structure now will have six members:
- President, elected at large;
- VP (University Affairs), elected from within council;
- VP (External Affairs), elected from within council;
- VP (Student Support and Programming), selected by a hiring committee;
- VP (Governance and Finance), selected by a hiring committee; and
- VP (Communications and Public Affairs), selected by a hiring committee.
Nominations can be filed until Jan. 17, with campaigning to begin Jan. 20. Online voting takes place Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, with results announced on Feb. 6.
Since 1965, the USC has been a student-led organization advocating for and representing undergraduate students at Western. It is one of the largest student governments in Canada and one of the largest not-for-profits in London.