Conestoga Students Inc.’s board of directors has selected a vice-president for the 2014-2015 academic year – a position that does not currently exist.
Cameron Jones, current chairperson of the CSI board of directors, will return next year as vice-president. Jones took over as chair after Paul Oniga resigned in late October.
Jones’s opponent was Sarah Bryant, the current secretary of the board and a director as well.
The position was created unofficially by the board and therefore requires a modification of CSI’s bylaws. It will not become official until it is ratified by students at a general meeting in April.
The vice-president’s duties involve creating meeting agendas and taking and maintaining minutes, much like the board’s current secretary does. The VP is not a voting member of the board, must be a returning full-time student, and is empowered to assume the presidency in the president’s absence.
Operations manager Sheena Witzel said that next year would likely see the elimination of the secretary position, but the creation of an impartial chairperson position, who will be a non-voting member. Though the VP will be assuming secretarial duties, the board will still be composed of eight voting members.
Due to a requirement for full-time hours during the summer and 15 hours per week during the academic year, the honorarium that the VP receives will be more than a normal director’s. Though the number is by no means final and has not been voted on, Witzel said she expected it to be in the range of $1,000 per month.
Regular directors of the board receive $250 a month, which requires them to complete five hours of work a week, plus $50 for attending the board meeting.
The selection process took place immediately following the March 5 meeting of CSI’s board of directors. Board members in attendance for the selection process were Jaclyn Wingfield and Adam Rochon, with Danielle Wingfield and Hayley Press joining the meeting remotely.
The format was similar to the selection process for the CSI president, except that only board members were eligible to run. Votes were cast by the board members who didn’t run for the position, as well as by CSI president Jason Wright, president-elect Jeff Scherer, general manager Janie Renwick and Witzel.
Jones’s platform focused on building school spirit and on supporting and expanding mental health initiatives: concerns notably also shared by president-elect Scherer in his election platform. In his speech, Jones said that school spirit was about “rallying behind your colours, your teams, and your heroes.”
In her speech, Bryant pointed to her experience as the current board secretary, as well as ongoing dialogues with satellite campuses.
“I’ve learned so much this year, but I don’t feel like I’m done yet,” she said.
After a brief speech, they each also individually faced questions from the board.
Questions for Jones revolved mainly around his ability to transition from a creative role to a more serious one. He cited his transition to chair as an example of his success in a similar situation.
“There’s a time to be fun-loving and a time to take things seriously … you really need to separate friendship and professionalism on the board,” he said.
Bryant, who currently attends the Guelph campus, fielded questions about how she would make the switch to Doon campus.
“I’m going to have a much more rounded outlook and be able to see things from both sides,” she said.
When it came time to vote, the board was instructed to write the name of their preferred candidate on a piece of paper, provided by Witzel.
As with the presidential selection process, Witzel asked a Spoke reporter to act as scrutineer for the balloting procedure. Of the eight ballots cast, four were for Jones, three were for Bryant, and one was spoiled as it did not have the name of one of the candidates on it.
Jones and Bryant were amicable after the decision, pausing a moment for a friendly hug. Jones, like president-elect Scherer, will assume his new position on May 1, pending student approval. But the excitement was palpable as Jones looked eager to get started.
”There are so many things we have yet to accomplish … I want to continue that momentum.”