Q&A with an Election Committee member, Viktoriia Shvaher
Author: Mariia Lysikova
Editor: Gabrielė Malūkaitė
Photographer: Firuza Burkitbayeva
Student Council elections are an annual event that many students look forward to.
However, the 2020-2021 academic year is more than unique: the election of the new council team in the previous Spring semester was disrupted abruptly by the Coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, the elections for the ongoing year are happening right now. The recently published list of candidates left more questions than answers.
Here is everything you need to know about StuCo elections 2020 - and even more.
Viktoriia Shvaher, a part of the election committee, shed some light on the current events happening behind the scenes.
• Who is in this year’s committee?
This year is fairly unique since a lot of Student Council members could not come to LCC International University and be on the team. Therefore, this year, we have three faculty members - Margarita Pavlovič, Venus Lee, and Joel Altena. From the student’s side, there is me, Viktoriia Shvaher, and Amy Duckworth, a previous StuCo president who is now away for her exchange semester. I have not been a part of StuCo in the past, but as a senior with a lot of experience in being active on campus, I have been invited to be a part of the committee.
• Can you please elaborate on the new StuCo constitution? What are the central changes, and how will StuCo operate differently because of them?
The main advantage of the new Constitution of StuCo is the fact that it unifies all the unspoken and generally accepted rules in one written document. It allows the future StuCo team to have a clear framework of their roles, responsibilities, and duties, leaving little room for misunderstanding. It also attempts to give StuCo members the same importance student leaders (like FYS leaders) have, which has been a long-standing issue. For instance, StuCo members have never been invited to the annual student leaders celebration, despite being at the heart of student life.
• There are more freshmen applying for various positions than any other year. Do you think freshmen students will be good representatives for StuCo, given their lack of experience?
There are a lot of freshmen students applying this year, and the situation seems fairly unique since, in previous years, they applied in the Spring semester, when they already had some experience at LCC International University. However, now, the elections are happening in the fourth week of classes, which makes it hard for them to have a good understanding of what StuCo entails. Some applicants had no idea that they had to participate in debates. At the same time, some of them are very eager to participate and will surely occupy some of the positions.
• Can you please explain the importance and rationale behind the newly introduced roles of major and year representatives?
The roles of year and major representatives are not actually new: we had these positions 5-6 years ago. By deciding to bring them back, we want to make sure that everyone is represented fairly since every class and every major have their own perspective and problems. Students occupying those roles will have the ability to voice and solve major- or year-specific problems.
• What is going to happen to the posts that remained unoccupied/no one signed up for?
For now, we had a few people who reached out saying that they would like to apply for the unoccupied positions. However, the Election Committee decided that allowing them to fulfill these roles after the deadline is not fair. One person from the elected StuCo members can temporarily occupy the free positions. Later, as it is mentioned in the Constitution, interested students can apply for the open roles again, going through the interviewing process with the elected StuCo administration.
• I heard people say that “StuCo elections are just a popularity contest,” and people who have the most friends always win. How would you respond to that?
I am afraid that this is true to some degree, but it is not only StuCo but also every election. In our current media-filled world, this is how it works, you promote yourself as a person rather than as a candidate. However, with so many first-year students who are not necessarily popular among all students, we see more action-based, visionary campaigns that promote the goals rather than the candidates.
While Viktoriia answered some of the pressing questions concerning the ongoing elections, the main one remains: who will become part of StuCo this year?
Debates: Monday, September 21
Online voting: 21-24 September
Announcement of winners: Friday, September 25
Make sure to vote and shape the student life the way you like it to be. You can find the list of candidates here.
The current article is the first part of the IUC series about the StuCo elections. Please let us know what would you like us to ask the prospective candidates!