News Profiles

Member-at-large: Gross looking to ask questions

Karen Gross is seeing the KSU’s election process from a new perspective. While Gross has been a devout attendee of the KSU’s general meetings, a member-at-large seat would be her first time on council.

Karen Gross (Photo: Alex Estey)

Karen Gross is seeing the KSU’s election process from a new perspective.
Running for the newly vacant member-at-large seat, the third-year contemporary studies and theatre studies student recently resigned from her spot on the elections committee to try for a spot on council.
After spending the last year as a member of the constitutional review committee, Gross says she tends to be the kind of person who cares about the bureaucratic details of how to make things happen at King’s.
Gross also works closely with the King’s Theatrical Society. She currently sits on their executive as Pit manager, and earlier this month she produced King’s Infringement, her second year playing a key role in the festival.
While Gross has been a devout attendee of the KSU’s general meetings, a member-at-large seat would be her first time on council.
The Watch: The position you’re running for has just become available due to the simultaneous resignation and impeachment of former seat holder Braeden Jones. How do you feel about how that situation unfolded?
KG: It is a really interesting situation in the way that he did offer his resignation and (the KSU) did not accept it and they chose to impeach him instead. I’ve definitely heard a lot of different opinions on the situation, I absolutely understand why council made the choice they did, it’s very much in following with the procedure. But at the same time I can see concerns that people would have in terms of, you know, King’s is a small community and it may be sort of creating more drama than necessary when a resignation would have a really similar effect in terms of replacing him on council. I know they kind of wanted to also make a statement about the importance of people actually doing their jobs, so I can definitely appreciate from that perspective why they did what they did. I think if I had been voting I probably would have accepted his resignation.
W: So you find it important that everyone on council shows up and does their job – why do you think member-at-large is an important position?
KG: I think that member-at-large is really important. It’s an interesting role, because the duties are a little bit vague in terms of, you know, you don’t have a specific constituency the way a journalism rep or science rep or arts rep does, you represent the school as a whole. It’s been described as a “watchdog” position in terms of it being your job to sort of check in with how all the other councillors are doing, check in with how the executive’s doing, and be almost like an outside look and take a second and look back at things that are being done, and make sure that everything is following procedure. Making sure that nothing’s being forgotten, and asking tough questions sometimes.

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I think another part of the job that’s important is being a representative who’s not afraid to ask the “dumb questions”, things that other people may not want to ask because they seem too obvious, like “What does UHP stand for?” Or like, “What does the CRO actually do?” I think there are some dumb questions that are actually important to ask because they could be overlooked otherwise. I think what can sometimes happen is, when you have a lot of people all working on their specific jobs, they’ll be so buried in their work – obviously doing a great job, working really hard – but it’s sometimes possible to miss certain details. And I think the member-at-large is there to try to keep track of those details.
W: What’s the one thing you think you could bring to council that no one else could?
KG: I think that I have a really good ability to sort of balance being in that sort of watchdog role in terms of asking people the tough questions and really making sure people are doing their jobs and holding them accountable while not being a sort of aggressive, or confrontational voice. I think that I have the ability to balance a strong working relationship with being honest when I think there are issues that need to be addressed.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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