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Sole Aboriginal Student Rep candidate rejected, questions raised about LSU elections

Angeline Day ran for Aboriginal Student Representative alone, but was still rejected at polls by an almost 4-1 margin

Rick Ouellet, Langara’s director of Aboriginal education and services expressed concerns about the Langara Students’ Union’s electoral process. Photo by Trevor Nault

Reported by Trevor Nault

The lack of Aboriginal student representation at Langara College has raised questions about the Langara Students’ Union’s electoral process.

An LSU student election last month resulted in Aboriginal student representative candidate, Angeline Day, rejected by a nearly 4-1 margin. . Because Day was running unopposed, she was subject to a yes or no vote.

Day was not available for comment but her mother, former Vancouver school trustee candidate Diana Day, had questions about the LSU’s electoral process.

“We’re still all shocked about how that went down,” Diana said. “Because she was the only one running, she should have gotten in by acclamation. It should not have been a decision that was yes or no.”

Lack of representation hurts students

Langara’s director of Aboriginal Education and Services, Rick Ouellet said the LSU needs to do more to make Indigenous students feel welcome on campus.

“If the students don’t feel like they’re represented by the student’s society, and they don’t feel welcome in their space, then they don’t get the services that the student’s society is supposed to provide,” Ouellet said.

Concerns raised over aboriginal space in LSU

Diana expressed concern for the Dave Pearson Native Student Centre, a space gifted by the college to Aboriginal students in the (LSU) Student Union Building. She said it isn’t being used for what it was intended.

Ouellet said he’s heard anecdotally that students have been asked to prove their indigenous ancestry to use the space.

“That absolutely goes against any culture that I’ve learned about,” Ouellet said.

Verucah Poirier, a first-year Aboriginal Studies student, expressed concerns about the election.

“It seems weird,” she said. “We were all suspicious.”

Charlene Lawrence, a second-year arts and science student said she was confused by the process.

“Why was there even a ‘no’ option?” Lawrence said. “We should have an Aboriginal representative.”

The Voice reached out to the LSU’s diversity & inclusion representative, Harjot Grewal, and chief returning officer Jeannie Bates. Neither responded to requests for comment.

1 Comment
  1. Jennifer Cameron says

    It does not make any sense how 414 people could make a very UNINFORMED decision. Do the 414 students, who rejected Angeline Day as the Aboriginal Student’s Rep, understand how much of a positive impact she would make on the Aboriginal student population? Speaking as an Aboriginal student, WE are in NEED of a rep in our student body, and in fact, there was a large group of us who rallied for Angeline to enter her name in the running. For Angeline to be rejected by the majority of voters, who are very likely not Aboriginal, and who would not be affected by her position if she had won, is incredibly discriminatory. May their ‘no’ decision stem from ignorance or discrimination, there should not have been an option to reject the only Aboriginal Rep for the running in the first place. Angeline should have never been put in that position. Langara College has, and continues to make great efforts in recognizing and respecting the Aboriginal student body, and this event does not mirror their effort, nor does this give Langara’s Aboriginal student body a well-deserved voice within Langara’s student body.

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