Colin Slark | Editor in Chief
The votes are in for the 2017 NUGSS Board elections and it seems that undergraduate students are looking to put in place oversight for their student government. Erik Searle, who proposed the concept of an oversight board to student at last month’s Extraordinary General Meeting in response to last year’s news about financial mismanagement and large debts the society has incurred, defeated outgoing Associate Director of Events and antiOversight Board candidate David Schroeter to become the new NUGSS President by a margin of 311 votes for Searle to 113 votes for Schroeter.
When reading results for the election, it is important to note that in a bid to reduce costs associated with paying directors, students voted in last month’s EGM to reduce the amount of directors on the NUGSS board from 11 to 8. In the race to elect a new Director of Internal Affairs, Seth Jex beat out Keaton Freel by a margin of 259 to 176. Dara Campbell beat out Kristian Jensen-Leblanc 208 votes to 87, although a whopping 147 voters decided to abstain from this race. Chris King, who was one of the co-sponsors of the Oversight Board with Erik Searle, ran uncontested for the position of Director of Finance, with 323 voters comfirming that they wanted King for the position. Janelle O’Meara ran uncontested for the position of Director of Student Affairs and was confirmed by 319 voters. Raychill Snider received 343 uncontested votes to remain NUGSS’ Sustainability Representative. Kasandra Johnny-Turbide received 308 uncontested votes to switch roles from Aboriginal Representative to Women’s representative. Replacing Johnny Turbide at the position of Aboriginal Representative is Karista Olsen, who received 312 uncontested votes.
In the referendum that proposed to raise student fees by $6.50 in order to continue NUGSS operations of the Moose, students voted overwhelmingly by a 349- 124 margin to approve the motion. In the upcoming year it will be interested to see how things unfold as the society receives extra funding, and as certain new board members potentially push for a greater level of accountability from the student government towards their consituents in regards to finances.
A source of concern for NUGSS in the aftermath of the election might be that a disappointing 19% of eligible voters (483 out of 2534) participated. Coming after last year’s news about the society’s finances and after last month’s call by Searle and King for students to take a greater role in participating in their student government, it seems that students did not take this election seriously.
In undergraduate Senate elections, Lauren Dohler, Marion Erickson, Steven Horianopoulos, Aaron Larsen, Hailey Massingham, and Ana Saenz were elected to serve one-year terms. Arctica Cunningham, the outgoing NUGSS President, was elected to fill the vacancy for the position of undergraduate representative on the UNBC Board of Governors and will serve a one-year term.