Meet the candidates: Board of governors

Bliss White

Bliss White (Submitted)

Year: Third
Major: Honours history and a major in political science
Hometown Saint John, N.B.
Previous STUSU experience: N/A

Elizabeth Murphy

Elizabeth Murphy (Submitted)

Year: Second
Major: Political science and communications
Hometown: Saint John, N.B.
Previous Experience on STUSU: N/A

The Aquinian: The board of governors is somewhat of a secretive institution to most students because its deliberations are secret. How are you going to engage them in what the board of governors does?

Elizabeth Murphy: The BoG representative also sits on STUSU council, so I will report at STUSU meetings. I will suggest to the BoG that they add more information on their web page, including meeting minutes, which aren’t currently available online.
Whereas certain information pertaining to the BoG must be kept confidential (human resources and contract information, for example), I believe that the relevant proceedings of the BoG should absolutely be made available to the student body. Students will feel more a part of the university if they know what is going on with the administration.

Bliss White: For many students, the board of governors is largely elusive and inaccessible. This must change. The board is the highest governing body at STU. It is responsible for budgetary matters, academic policies, and a whole host of other issues that matter to students. The student representatives on the board of governors need to be available to STUdents.
I will institute a series of consultative meetings, one to be held each semester. Here, the student representatives will outline the major decisions before the board and their impact on the wider STU community, especially students. Also, information about the board’s deliberations should be sent electronically to all students via email.
The student representatives on the board must forge strong connections with the STUSU and all student partners. Improving the board’s overall accessibility is my highest goal.

AQ: How are you going to gauge what students what you to push for on the board?

EM: I will be available at all STUSU council meetings to hear concerns from students and answer questions. Councillors are a useful source of student opinion because they are in touch with the concerns of their constituents.
In addition to getting feedback from council, I will network with students both online and in person.

BW: Gauging students’ needs requires openness and sound communication. My proposed consultative meetings will largely focus on hearing their concerns. Again, issues facing the student body are not sufficiently addressed on the board.
I am firmly committed to low student tuition and fees. Every tuition rise threatens our access to education; it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to make ends meet. An accessible student member of the board is necessary. I can fulfill this role.

AQ: Why does this position appeal to you?

EM: I am really interested in learning more about the administrative side of the university because I am a bit of a geek and I love STU! I also want to get more involved and help students have a better connection with the university’s decision makers.
As your student rep, I will have an equal voice among my peers on the BoG, which is made up of faculty, administration, and community members.

BW: The board of governors matters to students and all members of the university community. Policies crafted by its committees truly affect the quality of our education and the price we pay for it.
Moreover, the board is a critical link for students, faculty, and administration. It provides a separate body where all parties can examine the true problems that we face as a university. I want to be the voice on the board of governors to be heard.
We must have effective representation on this board. Honesty, integrity, and a command of the issues are critical characteristics for any member of student government; however, I will take this further.
The creation of mechanisms that will foster better relations between the board and students is absolutely necessary. Increasing transparency and accountability will be my central focus. Students, we cannot afford the status quo.
I will work for you in any capacity to create change and promote dialogue with the university’s highest body. It is time to give back to STU.

AQ: What three things would you like accomplish on the board?

EM: My main goal is to focus on improving attitudes and relations among students, university administration, and board members. I will push for a student-centered approach to education in the BoG’s decision-making process. Since much of the BoG’s work is done at the committee level, I want every BoG committee to provide the opportunity for student input.

BW: I will stand firmly in support of St. Thomas University’s mission as an “institution committed to people, ideas, and values.” I will raise awareness of the board of governors on campus. STU students shouldn’t have to stop and think about the main functions of this critical body. The creation of consultative meetings to bring students’ concerns before the board constitutes one of my main policies.
Student representatives on the board must be available and approachable. I am fully committed to these requirements. I will advocate for students’ issues, chiefly, the problems associated with rising tuition and fees.
As a student representative, I will advocate for a tuition freeze and the benefits of maintaining low fees to ensure that St. Thomas remains competitive within Atlantic Canada’s university community. This body is composed of members from the university, alumni, business, and government. Improvements in communication between the provincial government, the NBSA, and other universities in New Brunswick will allow us to speak with authority. I will advocate for any such improvements.
I will promote the expansion of an initiative undertaken by STU’s Student Life and Alumni Affairs, namely, the speed-networking and mentoring program. The Board of Governors is composed of alumni now working in the fields of law, business, education, and government. Access to these members of the university community has been largely inaccessible for students. Promoting networking opportunities, I will encourage board members to meet with students in similar networking sessions. We must continue to link students to this influential and powerful body.

AQ: Why should students care about the board of governors?

EM: It’s the highest governing body at STU. The decisions made by the BoG can have a direct impact on us and on our education. They make policies and change policies regarding the finances, well-being, and future growth of STU. If you want the university to take action, the BoG is a great place to start.

BW: STUSU needs to engage its members more readily. Student representatives on the board of governors are no different. The wider student body is largely unfamiliar with this powerful board. It’s time to bring substantial change to the roles of the board’s student members. This board impacts so much of our lives at STU; we cannot sit back and let our voices go unheard. My name is Bliss White and I am ready to serve STUdents with convention.

Note: Justin Creamer is also running for a board of governors position but did not submit responses to these questions.

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