By Fifi Enyi
At the forefront of this year’s Academic Commission race is the issue of adequate student representation. However, only four of the possible six candidates will be able to implement changes for the student population.
Candidate Erika Dempsey stresses the importance of working with administration for greater recognition of student issues.
"We need to work closer with the university administration and make them aware of these problems and bring a greater student perspective to the table," said Dempsey. "I want to be involved on [students’] behalf and make sure that when I leave the university, it will be a better place than when I first came here."
Jon Larsen hopes to revise the lengthy process involved in making academic appeals.
"Many students have told me that they really dislike dealing with the ‘red tape’ that seems to be everywhere on campus," said Larsen. "We need to help students by working with administration to try and make the policies as simplistic as possible, thus reducing the red tape students have to deal with."
Current Academic Commissioner Nicolas Porco takes a different approach to the issue of student representation.
"I think that the main representation we need to do is attend all Students’ Legislative Council and Student Academic Assembly meetings, as well as going to almost all of the committees that you are appointed [to]," said Porco. "We are the student voice and if we aren’t there, who will voice our concerns?"
However, Ian Sutherland focuses on the implementation of more academic resources for students.
"Academic programs, such as resume building and job search workshops, for example, are not well advertised and because of this are poorly attended," said Sutherland. "These are valuable programs and more attention should be given to promoting these kinds of programs."
According to two-time Social Science Faculty Representative Bryndis Whitson, recognizing each student’s unique needs is essential to fulfilling the responsibilities as an Academic Commissioner.
"You need to understand what students want and from what perspective they’re coming from," said Whitson. "From what the person in Management wants, to the person in Engineering, to the Social Science student, knowledge and understanding of university committees and the university of the whole is important."
Candidate Barbara Wright feels that undergraduate library resource material and involvement in academic appeals is a central issue.
"It has been a common complaint among students (and many professors) that the library is not up to the necessary academic standards for an education facility of this size, and it is time to do something about it," said Wright. "A second key aspect of being a member of the Academic Commission is to participate as an objective committee member in academic appeals."