Low student voter turnout marks 2020 election of IGNITE’s directors

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Guelph-Humber, Headlines, IGNITE, Lakeshore, News, North, Orangeville

Jared Dodds, News Reporter

The results of the 2020 IGNITE Board of Directors election are in after a week of voting.

The winning candidates from North campus are Keithtian Green with 708 votes, Eli Ridder with 581 votes, Aisha Ahmed with 469 votes, and Anthony Grguric with 371 votes.

The Lakeshore campus positions are filled by current IGNITE Vice-President Ryan Stafford with 573 votes, Gabi Hentschke with 488 votes, and Aashi Jhunjhunwala with 299 votes.

The University of Guelph-Humber had two positions to fill, won by another current vice-president, Megan Roopnarine with 318 votes, and Stefan Thomas took the other position with 298 votes.

The election only saw 5,443 students vote, meaning just more than 16 per cent of eligible students cast a ballot.

This is a sharp decline in voters from last year, with more than 20 per cent of students voting in the 2019-2020 election.

Candidates were informed of the results through a conference call while reporters were notified by email because a scheduled press conference was canceled due to concerns over COVID-19. 

The newly elected board members will be the first to serve their term under the new IGNITE bylaws ratified at a Special Meeting of the Members in January.

The change makes these directors the face of IGNITE, in addition to their regular duties of controlling the organizations finances.

They will also be responsible for hiring executives to fill positions previously known as president and vice-president. Students prior to the change elected these executive positions.

The board will also have to answer questions regarding transparency, an issue that split candidates during the campaign.

A change to the bylaws in November made Board of Director meetings closed to the public, something candidates like Ridder advocated changing in his platform.

“Open board of director meetings, and by that, I mean any student who is a full or part-time student, and thus a member of IGNITE, can go into the meetings at any point,” he said.

Candidates including Grguric and Hentschke also said they would look to open board meetings.

Other candidates, including current IGNITE executives Roopnarine and Stafford, said they understood why the change to closed meetings was made. Stafford said he would look to keep them that way.

“I feel like this position was made to not put extra pressure on students, and to give you some insight and a look into what the business and professional world can be like,” he said. “To make it the most comfortable for the students is clearly ideal.”

The new board’s term begins May 1.