The President is the primary spokesperson for the Students’ Union. They are responsible for maintaining an awareness of major issues affecting students and shall supervise the overall administration of the Students’ Union and co-ordination of the Executive Committee.
1. Tell me why you’re running for President.
William Lau: It’s been an amazing year as VP (SL). I have to say, there’s two pieces to the “why,” and one is the encouragement I’ve got from the students that I’ve worked with, saying that they’d appreciate a Students’ Union that works more like I did.
The second reason why is that we’ve done amazing things with the Students’ Union this year. We’ve laid a lot of groundwork, and I want to make sure that the groundwork that we’ve laid is carried forward.
Bashir Mohamed: For me, a lot of my ideas — I never knew the SU could actually do them. I never knew the scope of the SU. But after being on (Students’ Council) for a year and after seeing the impact I’ve had ... I saw that the SU could be a force of good. I decided I wanted to be a part of that. I realized that as President, you’re a sort of Leviathan — the top of this big organization.
I thought that as President, your goal is to put Council, put the executives in the general direction while being a quarterback.
Adam Woods: I think the big reason this year is that we really need to focus on (the) external thing this year, as well as the quality of education on our campus and the quality of our institution, and I think I am best fit to do that. I think that this year I am best fit to defend us to the government and ensure that things on campus are as good as they can be.
I’m incredibly passionate about what we do here, and I want to keep doing what I’m doing, I want to keep going. I’m not done yet.
Doge: Very presadunt. Want lead humans ad doges studantz.
2. If you had to criticize anything the current President did this year, what would it be? How would you have handled the situation differently?
That’s a tough question. I’d say his main mistake is not running for a second year ... He did way too good of a job and it makes other execs look bad.
Mohamed: That’s a big question.
I was a bit frustrated that (Petros Kusmu) was hesitant to go to the province to advocate on the Leadership College ... He eventually relaxed that position; that’s why he went to Council to ask for our views on it.
The main thing is the (international differential fee increase). He did a lot of good work, he met with a lot of the Board of Governors, but I feel that more material support could have been given to the grassroots.
Woods: It’s never about who is the better candidate, it’s a matter about what kind of year is it? What kind of president do we need? I think this year, one challenge we faced ... was it was so overwhelming that (Kusmu) really took his time in making those decisions, and that can be a good thing, at times. But there are also times I feel we really need to be able to come out with that stance now.
Doge: no1 - he is nawt a doge. asuch, Petros not giv kiss or cuddle. Doge presadutn giv much luv 2 every1
3. This year has seen the most drastic budget cuts to the university in decades, and a new budget is coming up quickly. If these sorts of cuts hit the U of A again next year, how will you make sure students’ concerns are heard by the university? By the government?
Lau: I think part of that is what we’re building into our communications strategy right now. One clear thing we saw from the budget cuts last year was that students are frustrated that what they had to say wasn’t being taken into account.
With our communications strategy that we’re drafting right now and will be ready to implement next year, we’ll be able to have that conversation with the student body.
One of my focuses next year is to try to turn the SU to (be) more inward facing ... and a part of that is really trusting our VP (External) to handle the external relations.
Mohamed: Since a lot of our advocacy efforts and a lot of our organizational power is very limited, a lot of our advocacy efforts are top-down. I believe the way I would do it differently is by creating a more bottom-up approach.
Essentially, the way I plan to do that is by ... reaching out to students and making an advocacy committee made up of councillors and excecutives and a bunch of students-at-large so that advocacy efforts can be consistent throughout the year.
Woods: It’s a matter of being firm, and honestly, as cliched as it sounds, keep doing what we’re doing.
We need to continue with our lobbying, we need to continue being firm with MLAs and with the administration to make it clear that our quality of education is not just something that can be up for cuts, or can be used to deal with budgetary deficits. It’s making sure that we’re letting them know how we honestly feel, and how we honestly think the situation should be addressed.
Doge: Doge 4 prez support incoming VPAkademik in GFC reform. Halp VPA make atmuttsfere Adorability of doges werx to studant advantage in University & govt rlashuns - even cold-hearted admin & ministerz can b reached by doge luv.
4. What’s your take on the SU’s current relationship with university administration?
Lau: I’d have to say it’s pretty good.
I think we’re in a situation right now ... where we have through our consultation processes this year tried to work out what consultation was. It allowed all (parties) to have a clear idea of how we can better communicate in the future to avoid those types of conflicts.
Mohamed: I do feel like the relationship we have has soured. I believe the university does treat us like children — especially the Board of Governors ... the university often goes full steam ahead.
Woods: Right now, I think things are okay. They’ve never been perfect; we’ve never seen eye-to-eye with the administration on a lot of issues.
I think the important thing though, is that we continue to be firm. Especially with a new President coming to campus eventually — a lot of initiatives are going to be passed through and we need to continue being firm in what we believe in.
Doge: so eggshells
5. If elected, how do you plan to balance your own goals with some of the long-term SU initiatives and the goals of your VPs?
Lau: One great thing I would look up to is how we wrapped up fall reading week this year.
I would see these projects as ones we would be working on collaboratively as pairs or as a larger executive team. On top of that, one thing I’m really interested in this year is getting more student councillors involved.
Mohamed: On my platform, I’ve pulled away from getting into too many specifics like the Leadership College ... The best thing I can do, in that case, is to pull back, take what they have, and whoever’s elected, each one is going to have their own long term goals, and I believe the best thing is to sit down and come to a consensus.
Woods: As a President, you have to make a priority list right at the start, and I think that a lot of the initiatives that I’ve brought forward under (my) platform are things the other VPs hopefully want to work on, too.
In terms of continuing goals, it’s a lot of delegation, but it’s also just prioritizing what’s important.
Doge: much hind leg balanz. motiv8 VPs w/ fetch
6. Walk me through some of your platform goals.
Lau: One of my first points that I’d like to accomplish is maximize student representation ... Leveraging the nominating committee that was created this year to hopefully effectively fill all seats in university governance with students.
My second platform point is to prioritize student voice ... With the strategic plan coming up, it’s a good chance for the Students’ Union to clarify our values and the direction we want to lead.
The last point is enhancing co-curricular opportunities. I think a really, really strong opportunity we have here is the momentum carrying forward with the Leadership College. The residence aside, it’s really exciting to have a pool of money coming in for what the university is calling “leadership programming.”
Mohamed: I’ve promised myself to never say the phrase, ‘I’ve broken it up into three key things,’ but it’s three key things. There’s international students, there’s advocacy and there’s alleviating the need for childcare.
I support the need to regulate the differential fee, because right now it’s being used as a way for, when there are budget cuts, the university can reach into this pool of students and grab a few pennies.
There’s (my) approach to advocacy, which is essentially recognizing that the SU’s form of advocacy is inherently short-term ... By creating an advocacy committee ... to keep Council in check and to also maintain long-term advocacy projects.
For alleviating childcare ... There’s that stereotype that students are not married and don’t have children, or aren’t mature ... The SU used to have a daycare, it was funded by the city of Edmonton and it cost no student dollars, and I realized that’s an approach the SU could do.
Woods: The first is advancing academic advising options on campus ... One thing we should be focusing on is ... (work) through InfoLink to provide a better peer support service.
The second big area is providing more support to student groups. There’s been quite a lot of attention this year on (Student Group Services) ... they need more staff resources; they need more support.
Third point is protecting the quality of education on campus by advocating to the government and other stakeholders ... We need to be pushing the government to reinvest and to create a sustainable funding model.
Doge: WALK!!!!! :D
6. If you could choose any TV show cast to make up your team of vice-presidents, what cast would you pick?
Lau: I’d choose Friends. Just putting aside the characters, I think what makes a really productive team is when you can be friends with each other and have open lines of communication and be able to work as a team.
Mohamed: From Community Troy would be my VP(SL), Jeff Winger would be my VP (External), Abed would be my VP (Academic), Annie would be my VP (OpsFi) and Britta would be my Board of Governors Rep.
Woods: I am going to go with the cast from Archer, because I don’t think we’d get much work done, but it’d be a lot of fun — minus Pam, because we can’t deal with no coke addictions.
Doge: i just found tv 4 doges on gugle omg…. any huminz whu r running will make a grr8 sitcom cast in office
Students’ Union Presidential candidate William Lau has been disqualified due to third-party campaigning.
The Lister Hall Students’ Association has been found guilty of breaching the university’s code of student behaviour, and will be suspended from registering as a student group for a year, effective May 1, 2014.
A tumultuous two weeks of campaigning came to an end Thursday as current Students’ Union VP (Student Life) William Lau scooted his way to the top as President-elect for the 2014–15 year.