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Election Dissection 2017: Vice-President (Academic)

This is part four of a feature series about three Students’ Union experts’ analyses on who should and will win each race of the 2017 election, based on platforms, Q&As, and campaign performance. Opinions expressed do not reflect those of The Gateway.

There’s only one platform to vote or not vote for this election, and it’s Shane Scott’s.

The fourth-year political science student’s platform includes supporting student groups, making a syllabus database available to students, and collecting data on classroom diversity.

In opposition to Scott is Banana, a hamster who somehow ended up in an election.

The fact that Scott’s running unopposed “sets a bad tone” for Allard.

“I don’t really know Shane, I’ve only seen him around campus,” he said. “There’s just this history that candidates running unopposed tend to not have the same amount of oversight.”

Unopposed candidates usually don’t have their platforms scrutinized to the same extent as in other races; once elected, they tend to not be followed as closely.

Looking at Scott’s platform, Chrysler said she was “underwhelmed.” Allard said the platform looked unexciting because it went unchallenged. To him, it was a standard, in-depth, Vice-President (Academic) platform — most of the job is spent continuing what has been done in the past.

Simao said this made sense, as the VP (Academic) role is the “least sexy.”

“There’s nothing wrong with his platform,” Chrysler said. “It’s just that his point to ‘support student representatives’ just seems very vague.”

On the issue of syllabi, the panelists thought Scott’s idea of making a syllabus database accessible to students was interesting. However, Allard saw it as a lesser concern compared to other syllabi issues.

“I think that accessing syllabi is a nonissue for a lot of classes that are required,” Allard said. “There are a lot of classes that are going to be required components, and so while it is nice to know what you’re getting into, it’s not going to affect your decision to be in that class.”

Allard pointed out that students also already have a resource to find out what courses are about: the U of A’s course catalog, and that provides access to some old syllabi. He saw a bigger problem in just the quality of campus syllabi.

While the platform echoed the work of this year’s VP (Academic) Marina Banister, the panelists thought that was okay — Simao said it wasn’t a terrible thing to re-hash the ideas of someone who did a good job in the role.

Should Win

Shane Scott — three votes

Will Win

Shane Scott — three votes

The panel:

Justis Allard was the Agriculture, Life, and Environmental Sciences councillor for 2014-15 and 2015-16. He’s now graduated and working in the real world, but he was willing to lend us his Students’ Union experience for an afternoon to discuss candidates.

Oumar Salifou

Kieran Chrysler was The Gateway’s Managing Editor in 2015-16 and Arts Editor in 2014-15. Now graduating with a degree from the Alberta School of Business, Chrysler returned to The Gateway to give her take on this year’s election and share her wisdom after living through two years of elections newsrooms.

Oumar Salifou

Jordan Simao has been a highly-involved member of the Campus Saint-Jean community as president of the French campus’ residence association, and councillor on Association des universitaires de la Faculté Saint-Jean. He ran for Vice-President (Student Life) last year, and has returned to the elections scene this year as an active commentator.

Oumar Salifou

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