With the number of candidates running for officer positions in this year’s WUSA general election, it’s worth asking: what exactly are they all running for? Under the new governance model implemented in 2021, there are five positions: president, vice-president, director, faculty senator, and at-large senator. So how do they differ, and what is each role responsible for?
Here’s your guide to all the student officer roles at WUSA:
WUSA’s President is the chair of the Board of Directors, a body including the president, vice president, and 11 directors. Their responsibility is to be the head spokesperson for WUSA, and lead the board. The president is also the lead WUSA representative to university administration and governance, and works with senior WUSA staff. Within the Board of Directors, the president also leads the creation of the annual plan, promotes leadership and professionalism to the board, and ensures the board stays focused on important issues to ensure WUSA’s purpose and direction are cohesive.
The vice-president also sits on the Board of Directors. Their responsibility is to be the lead WUSA representative to municipal, provincial and federal governments. The vice-president also supports the president in their role, and takes over for the president if they are away. Just like the president, the vice-president also works with senior WUSA staff.
Directors sit on the Board of Directors. Their responsibilities are to advocate the board’s adopted stances to the university, as well as other bodies, sit on various committees, and to support the legitimacy of board decisions. Their role is also to bring different perspectives to board meetings.
The Board of Directors consists of the president, vice-president, and 11 directors, all of whom serve for a 12-month term. The main role of the Board of Directors is to advocate on behalf of students to the university, as well as the municipal, provincial and federal governments. The board also sets WUSA’s strategic direction through the annual plan, a document that tells WUSA members what issues the board plans to prioritize during their term, guided by the five-year plan set in 2020. This determines WUSA’s advocacy stances, governs WUSA on behalf of all members, and represents student voices on committees. They also work to accomplish the goals set out in the annual plan, as well as working to achieve their advocacy stances by meeting with stakeholders.
The Board of Directors meets once a month.
Faculty and At-Large Senator
There are eight undergraduate student senators, one for each faculty plus two at-large senators who can represent any faculty. The faculty of health senator only serves for a year, whereas the at-large and other faculty’s senators serve for two years. Their responsibility is to represent and advocate for students at Senate meetings.
The Senate meets every month, and is chaired by university president Vivek Goel. It is mostly made up by elected members of the faculty (like professors and administration), including members of administration and deans. Along with university employees, undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni also have roles in the Senate. The Senate’s role is to appoint the chancellor, define qualifications for degrees and diplomas, approve faculty appointments and tenure, academic programs, and academic policies, as well as conferring about honorary degrees, among others.