BCIT Student Association sees reduced voter turnout despite high number of candidates
Incoming president Rebecca Davidson won in a landslide with 1,126 votes, more than double the combined number of votes for the three candidates who also ran for the position.
PJ Krider came in second with 336 votes, followed by Kevin Hipolito with 156. The fourth-place presidential candidate, Triston Gillon, had 37 votes.
Davidson said she had been vying for the position of president since current president Daniel Huh took office last year, and was confident she would reach her goal.
“I guess I got a little ambitious and confident, but I actually turned down a job a month ago for the summer,” Davidson told The Link just minutes after it was announced she would be the incoming president.
“It’s awesome that I’m going to be here [at BCIT] for the summer because I knew I really wanted it and I couldn’t take a job that was going to make it so I couldn’t be here,” said Davidson.
Eirene Cloma was another landslide winner with 849 votes for the position of vice president of student affairs. Cloma was creative in her campaigning and said she was remembered by her unique approach, which included the creation of a rap and accompanying music video.
“The way I campaigned, I tried to keep it as paperless as possible,” said Cloma. “I made a video and then I made a website as well, so I tried to kind of speak the language of the students.”
Marwan Marwan, who serves dual roles as the current vice president of student affairs as well as chief returning officer said the election was positive overall because of the number of candidates that ran.
However, Marwan said that he was not as happy with the voter turnout and student engagement during the campaigning period.
[pullquote]”Davidson said she had been vying for the position of president since current president Daniel Huh took office last year.”[/pullquote]
“BCIT students are not engaged, which is really sad and I think this is reflected in the [voting] numbers,” said Marwan. “It’s actually really sad, there’s definitely voter apathy and lack of interaction and lack of involvement.”
In an interview with The Link, Marwan described the campaign period as both exciting and heated at times.
“We received a few complaints from students regarding the way candidates were doing some of the campaigning and the election committee looked at everything and evaluated it,” said Marwan.
Marwan said issues included complaints about posters being torn down, and some voters expressing that they felt mislead or misinformed.
Marwan attributed low voter turnout to the fact that elections are held during final exam period, BCIT’s heavy workload, and current executives who he felt did not a sufficent enough job making the campaign more visible — something he hopes is remedied in the future.
“If you combine those [issues], you create an environment where students don’t care because we’re not reaching out to them or don’t care because they’re just overworked,” said Marwan. “I think we’re all accountable for this.”
According to the incoming president, there will be a transition day, where current executives will impart wisdom on the incoming executives.
“It will be a day where we spend four hours with our current executive and we just go through things they wish they knew when they first started in office,” said incoming president Rebecca Davidson.
The incoming executive and council members will spend the next month preparing for their new roles and will take office on June 1.
|VICE PRESIDENT, ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE|
|VICE PRESIDENT, EXTERNAL|
|VICE PRESIDENT, CAMPUS LIFE|
|VICE PRESIDENT, STUDENT AFFAIRS|
|CHAIR, SCHOOL OF BUSINESS|
|CHAIR, SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES|
|CHAIR, SCHOOL OF ENERGY|
|CHAIR, SCHOOL of TRANSPORTATION, CONSTRUCTION & THE ENVIRONMENT|
|CHAIR, SCHOOL OF COMPUTING & ACADEMIC STUDIES|
|Hung Le||579 YES / 80 NO|
|CHAIR, AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS|
|CHAIR, DOWNTOWN CAMPUS|
|Emilio Da Silva||54 yes / 8 NO|
Neetu was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley (minus the few toddler years she spent living in Punjab, India where her line of heritage is from). She moved to the lower mainland to attend BCIT and is now in her graduating year of the Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. Her writing and editing for Link magazine often happens late at night because when she’s not at school she works as a reporter and anchor for CKNW Newstalk 980 and is also involved in the start up of a charity called the Beautiful World Foundation. She loves to travel and feels fortunate to be in a field where she can share the stories of interesting and inspiring people from around the world.