Senate is one of the University’s most important bodies, for the simple reason that if you’ve ever taken a class at Western, some part of it has been governed by rules approved at Senate.
Unfortunately, Senate has historically been under-engaged by the student body. The past two years have seen a decrease in the number of student senator candidates with many positions being acclaimed.
The same can be said for voter turnout. Only about 13 per cent of students cast a vote even though Senate controls 100 per cent of Western’s academic policy, which includes exam and assessment policy, program and module changes, research and the structure of the academic year (read: Fall Reading Week).
This year, we are urging more students to put their names forward.
This past year student senators have advocated on a broad range of issues including a Fall Reading Week, course assessment policy, the Mental Health Strategic Plan, combated Islamophobia on campus and pushed for more Senate transparency.
Recently, our entire caucus sat down with Western University President Amit Chakma to discuss issues generated entirely by students at large.
Whether you are nearing the end of your university journey or just beginning, we encourage you to consider running. We need students with a broad range of outlooks to ensure that the diversity of our students is reflected in our representation.
Western’s systems of governance only functions well if the diverse perspectives of our campus are actually represented and given a voice.
Some of you may be thinking, “I’m not qualified to be a senator.”
That couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t need to be an academic policy expert to sit on Senate; when we ran we certainly weren’t. The only qualification is being a student who is ready and willing to stand up and advocate for all students. It is about giving a voice to those who feel silenced and ensuring the University doesn’t pass policy that doesn’t meet the standard of its students.
We need strong student leaders on Senate because above all else, students must be the ones to champion student issues.
Harry Orbach-Miller and Courtney Hardy
Chair and Vice-Chair, Western Student Senators
Nominations for Senate open Jan. 9 and close on Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.