There’s been a change in the ranks for NAITSA’s governance. NAITSA’s Student Senate, where students from NAIT’s nine program areas represent their peers and hold our student executives accountable, found itself with empty seats last month as two senators stepped down for health reasons. The Students’ Association will hold a special appointment meeting on Monday Jan. 18 to fill these two vacancies. This opens the opportunity for eager students to step into a leadership role on campus once again.
NAITSA announced the openings on its website and senators were encouraged to seek out individuals they thought might be interested and would make a good fit for the position. When asked if the same electoral procedures will be followed in filling these vacancies, NAITSA VP External Allannah Wrobel said, “The special appointments are run in the same accordance to the bylaws as the fall senate elections.”
The bylaws are simple in regard to filling Senate vacancies. Senate representatives are nominated from the floor and elected by majority vote. However, beyond filling the basic eligibility requirements, there are differences between how the special meeting will progress in comparison to a senate election. The nomination and voting regulations are less stringent for the special meeting to fill vacancies. For nominations, the bylaws do not specify how many nominations are needed at a special meeting, while 10 nominations are needed to run in a regular sen-ate election. During senate elections in the fall, once you are on the ballot, all students in the program area have an opportunity to vote for their representatives through online voting. At the special meeting, a majority vote is decided by the number of students in attendance. This means that without a specified quorum requirement, 10 students could elect a new senate representative.
What does it take to be a senator? The senate meets 10 times throughout the year, and it reviews bylaw changes, NAITSA financial information and asks questions about executive activity or student issues. Although students can individually bring questions or concerns to NAITSA, each student senator can assist students in voicing their concerns or can bring it forward to the senate for discussion. The senate also serves to bring accountability to the NAITSA executive, asking questions about their activities and decisions that have been made for NAITSA.
The new senators will be provided with governance training to bring them up to speed with their colleagues as well, allowing this student governance body to continue operating effectively. Some senate committees also have empty seats that will need to be filled at the next meeting. Students who are interested in leadership can learn from these positions on the senate. Students in the Engineering Technologies and Academic Upgrading and Media and Design program areas are eligible. Students interested in the positions are encouraged to visit the NAITSA offices in Room E-131 to ask questions. All students in those program areas should attend the special meeting Jan. 18 in Room X-107 at 4:45 p.m. to select their new senate representative.
Nicolas Brown, Issues Editor