Statement from Brent Kelly, Candidate for Board of Governors Representative | SU Elections 2013

Hey there!  My name is Brent Kelly and I’m running for re-election for the position of Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative.

We are facing extremely uncertain economic times here in Alberta, and I’m re-running to ensure students have strong representation on the Board.  There are also a number of important initiatives which I want to carry forward this year.

The first is coalition building.  The Board of Governors is, all too often, a place where dissent and discussion are not terribly vigorous.  The University administration generally gets whatever it wants.  In my term in office, I haven’t seen a single initiative of the administration voted down by the Board.  This leads to an environment where we aren’t seeing the highest quality discussion and critical thought.

The solution I’m initiating is a stronger coalition of the associations on the Board of Governors.  The various associations – Non-Academic Staff association, Academic Staff Association, Students’ Union, and Graduate Students’ Association – have numerous shared interests.  There are many areas where the associations stand to benefit from greater cooperation.

My goal is to ensure that this cooperation continues to develop.  With greater cooperation, the associations will be better able to mount strong opposition to administration-led initiatives.  This will create greater space for the healthy debate and critical thought that needs to occur on the Board.

My second goal is to amplify advocacy on the Board of Governors by integrating the Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative position within the already existing advocacy frameworks of the SU.  Both the BoG Rep and the SU President sit on the Board of Governors, but the SU President has greater access to the advocacy resources of the SU.  There’s a lot of opportunity to improve advocacy on the Board by increasing access to these resources for the BoG Rep.  Further, this will allow greater coordination between the BoG Rep and the SU President on the Board.  Access to more advocacy resources and better coordination will only serve to benefit students.

Finally, I want to close some of the distance between the average student and their representative.  I will do this by instituting a system of mandatory tabling for student representatives.

Let me explain a little bit of background context for this point.  I wanted to raise awareness of the SU elections before this election season began, so earlier this month I set up the first ever ‘Meet Your Representative’ tables in SUB.  The response I got was incredibly positive.  I talked to numerous students, most of who knew little or nothing about the Students’ Union.  After our conversation, they left knowing what the Students’ Union is, what it can do for them, and how they can get involved.  Many of the individuals I spoke with expressed interest in running for an elected position.

Considering this success, I saw the potential benefit from expanding the program and making it permanent.  Accordingly, I’ve incorporated a system of mandatory tabling into my platform.

The tabling initiative will incorporate best practices from similar programs of other students’ associations across the country.  It will ensure that students have a place to go if they want to learn more about their Students’ Union, or want to get involved.

This initiative will not be a panacea solution to the problem of low levels of involvement in the Students’ Union, but I’m confident that it is a step in a positive direction.

So that’s a fairly good elaboration of my platform.  For more information, you can check out brentkelly.me.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to give me a shout on twitter at @bklly.

Now, to answer the three questions from the Wanderer:

What is the name of your campaign manager?

No one. I’m a one-man army.

What are the 3 most important activities you are involved in on campus?

The Board of Governors, Students’ Council, and General Faculties Council.

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Neither! Why can’t we live in peace and harmony together? A horse-sized duck sounds like it might make a pretty cool pal. And duck-sized horses sound adorable!

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