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CSJ Forum Live Blog 2020

Follow along for our opinion takes and commentary from the Campus Saint-Jean forum, happening at 12 p.m. and featuring all races.

  • Question: How do you plan to meaningfully interact with and do outreach to faculty associations and other smaller governance groups?

    Konrad cites experience in interpersonal connection with FAs in the past, and will make this a priority. ASC has asked for candidates to sign onto 5 declarative points, he plans to sign onto them.

    Hu believes that the BOG has very limited ability to address this particular point, but puts out the idea that FAs ought to be entirely independent.

    – Pia

  • In response to the question of how they will support student groups and faculty associations, VPX candidate Rowen Ley gave the example of how the art buildings on campus are in need of deferred maintenance, and he would make meaningful progress by including faculty leaders in movements. As well, Ley once again pushed for democratic student movements and would like to learn from and build upon decentralized movements such as in Quebec.

    -Bree

  • Question: What comparative advantage do SU businesses have and how do you plan to take that into account in your plan for the next year?

    Tse speaks about the current SU businesses that exist. She speaks to the Deweys/RATT/SubPrint/Daily Grind have accessible prices because they are for students specifically, demonstrating an awareness of the businesses and their roles in SU. She speaks about the Myer Horowitz Catering and Events as the “money maker”, and she speaks about wanting to grow that specific business.

    Krahn agrees with the idea of expanding Myer Horowitz Catering and Events as well. She advocates for looking to the University in and of itself to be accessing catering, as well as looking to market to external groups to get them to access this SU service more.

    -Pia

  • And that’s all for the CSJ forum! We’ll see you all next week at SUB Atrium for the final forum of the elections season.

     

    • Andrew
  • During the question period, the VPX candidates were asked since infrastructure maintenance was reinstated for one year with no increase in inflation, how would they see funding expended beyond?

    Ley said that students must take this case to the government and we need to remind that a short term investment can avoid problems later with deferred maintenance. Therefore, the SU can raise this point as a priority to the public constituents, and these allies can help us

    Bilak said current funding is a drop in the bucket for deferred maintenance, and that the province has a distaste for debt, and so he would frame the maintenance as debt. He argues that we need the province on our side, but is hesitant to advocate to the provincial government as he believes they will not care. Bilak says that campaigning to the federal government may bring more luck. He would like to frame the issue as sustainability with a green infrastructure fund.

    Next, the candidates were asked that because student aid and scholarship frozen for the next 3 years, how will they phrase a response to the government?

    Bilak thinks the best idea for framing the issue to the provincial government is as employment and future jobs for students. He argued the current provincial government responds well to that.  He would frame it as an investment opportunity so people to get an education more easily, therefore making students more skilled and more competitive for the job market, and therefore will encourage employers to hire University of Alberta people.

    Ley says that to get people on our side, you say things that resonate with them. Ley wants to reach out to Albertans by talking about student aid and how it is important for students because it creates social mobility by being the best option for social mobility into the middle class, a cause that will resonate with all political backgrounds. Ley would frame this to both the government and everyday Albertans. He stated that asking the Minister of Education on our own won’t help, and Ley argues that students need to make allies with the Minister’s constituents and ordinary Albertans.

    -Bree

     

     

     

  • In response to the all candidates question: how would you ensure that the SU exec will better support faculty associations and student representative associations?

    The VP Academic candidates gave standard answers stating how they would prioritize advocacy without how they would specifically do it. Einarson notably said his “break out of the board room” line.

     

    -Damian

  • To all candidates: how would you ensure that the SU exec will better support faculty associations and student representative associations?

    President:

    Statt says that the best way to address the needs of students is to better support FAs and SRAs, and the best way to do this is through a granting pool for these FAs, get sponsorship dollars to FAs, and provide stronger training for FA transitions. He also notes the overlap in portfolios with the VPA and VPSL positions, and to a degree the VP Ops-Fi role, with this kind of work, which is important — there are some things that need coordinated exec effort to fulfill.

    Agarwal says there are 3 components: financial, governance support, and advocacy. He cite his work as chair of COFA (as VPA) in providing a model in how this would look. It’s very much a point that’s already appeared in his other forum appearances.

    VPSL:

    Kidd says she does not want to cross the line with FAs, and says the best way is to support FAs where they are at, and have constant communication.

    Dixon says listening and meeting with SRAs is the first step. Echoing Statt, she says that providing financial and transitional aid and letting the FAs do what they need to do for their students should be the model.

    These are perfectly acceptable answers — nothing groundbreaking but all true points.

     

    • Andrew
  • Question: How would you go about addressing the discrepancies and problems with buildings and student spaces on campus?

    Krahn says that we need to be doing external advocacy as all executives in order to refer to deferred maintenance. She admits that her role as VpOpsFi isn’t best suited to working on buildings like Business building, but the executive as a front should advocate.

    Tse says that VpOpsFi sits on GFC facilities development committee that addresses the deferred maintenance at the administrative level, but not completely directly. She pushes again, to advocate for resizing campus.

    -Pia

  • One student asks how certain areas of campus, such as the business building, can get renovations to get updated to match other newer buildings.

    Luke Statt says that we need to continue to advocate for maintenance funding to the provincial government, especially in the face of maintenance fund cuts.

    Joel Agarwals says that on top of this, we need to push for maintenance funding to be “sustainable” — being long-term. He says we need to convince the province that students need to be invested in, and that such investment will benefit all of Alberta.

    Fair answers — deferred maintenance is a tough thing to tackle just in the presidential role.

    • Andrew
  • THE FAMOUS POUTINE QUESTION IS ASKED! (Where’s your favorite place to get poutine?)

    This might be the most substantial thing asked this forum!

    • Andrew
  • No questions for the VPSL race either. Things are shaping up to be a quick forum.

    • Andrew
  • Question: How are you planning on funding many of the programs you are committing to given the current provincial government?

    Tse response that is important that students at CSJ are able to better access funding that already exists. She also, brings up, for some reason, adding a compost bin. She admits she does not how much it costs, but figures it wouldn’t be that expensive. She advocates to speaking to some people to fixing the washrooms, and adds at the end that she will speak to administrators about resizing campus.

    Krahn cites sponsorship funding and expansion of STV as forms of funding the projects she is proposing. She speaks about UASU Perks, updating the website, job and housing registries through this funding.

    • Pia
  • Question: Have you considered the consequences of banning midterms on weekends?

    Response by Eric Einarson: I will not ban weekend midterms because it is not a good idea. I would rather have early morning midterms on weekends than evening midterms on weekdays.

    Response by David Draper: I will begin the process of banning weekend midterms by advocating to faculties and administrators. For specific faculties such as Engineering, I want to give students a better chance of choice over when they take their midterms. I will also find ways to avoid late night midterms on weekdays.

    Einarson’s response gets around the issue by saying that he would not ban weekend midterms. Draper’s approach does not fully consider the repercussions that could take place if he does go about keeping specific times for assessments. There are certainly many more considerations Draper needs to make before this could come to pass. If midterms will not be written on weekends or evenings on weekdays, when will they be written?

    -Damian

  • No questions for president!!!! This is huge. Definitely hints at what I see as some serious discontent with the SU here at CSJ.

     

    • Andrew
  • BoG candidate Albert Hu begins his opening statement speaking about academic flexibility in regards to graduation, transfer between campuses. He speaks about how he has been extensively involved with advocacy with the medical association with the provincial government. Hu suggests, as he has in other forums, to access the Endowment fund. He speaks about how it is important to have comprehensive risk prevention programs that address not only harm to students after it happens, but before.

    BoG candidate David Konrad says that feels that there is a gap between governance and students. He says that governors don’t act for students and students don’t know who governors are. As with other forums, Konrad advocates for his platform, such as the point to reach out to the UofA Office of Advancement in order to focus on research. He a lot about sustainability and cultural sensitivity in regards to board decisions.

    Both candidates basically used the same opening statements they have used in other forums with slightly different beginnings.

    – Pia

     

  • Robert Bilak encourages students to imagine CSJ  as empowered, without accessibility issues, gender-neutral bathrooms, enough classrooms and enough funding that accommodates full-time french students with promised fellowship.  As well, he asked the forum to imagine that CSJ does not have to worry about performance based funding. He argued that this does not have to be imagined, and that change is not easy but will come. Bilak said that students aren’t silent and must be heard. Bilak stated that the SU should add CSJ into the Students Not Silent movement and do a better job to empower CSJ students advocacy, pushing for CSJ students to be at the forefront, and work together with North Campus students.

    Rowen Ley argues that CSJ is overcapacity, lacks mental health resources for students and is underfunded. Ley says that CSJ issues are unique, but also shares certain problems with other students. Ley once again pushed for student-led movements against the government and a publicity campaign to bring these issues to public light.

    -Bree

  • Eric Einarson’s opening statement was completely in French. He wishes to continue his work with AUFSJ as well as improving the quality of course resources for students. Einarson’s statement effectively appealed to its audience by acknowledging the uniqueness of CSJ and remaining dedicated to fulfilling its needs. However, he did not mention concrete methods that he will be able to provide resources to a campus of 40 thousand students as well as peripheral campuses.

    -Damian

  • VPSL candidate Talia Dixon delivers her opening remarks in English. She cites her interdisciplinary experience (as a councillor, activist, etc) as something that allows her to uniquely see and address the issues CSJ faces. She says she met with AUFSJ to craft her platform. She promises accessible transportation to SU events from CSJ, fighting for increased security, and working with AUFSJ to get gender-neutral washrooms on at CSJ.

    Her opponent, Katie Kidd, also delivers her remarks in English, saying she wants to expand SUTV to CSJ, as well as have properly translated marketing for SU events on CSJ. She says she’ll work with the VP EX to make sure French students can get mental health services in their language of choice. Katie notes that she has a full French version of her platform. This is definitely a jab at Dixon, who only has a TLDR of her platform in French.

    These are both pretty strong starts, but we’ll see how these promises stand up during general question period.

    • Andrew
  • VP OpsFi candidate Alana Krahn starts off her opening statement in French, apologizes for not being completely fluent, and continues in English. She speaks about academic accessibility and gender-neutral washrooms. She commits to speaking to University administration in regards to washrooms. Krahn wants to include CSJ with the free menstrual product deal that the SU currently has.  She commits to the translation of documentation into French, and any and all work that she does.

    In her opening statements, VP OpsFi candidate Samantha Tse commits to supporting the CSJ cafeteria and making it more accessible, and adding a compost bin.  Tse wants to focus on ensuring that any French keyword search is available and translated on SU website in regards especially to grants and funding. She also commits to ensuring that washrooms are fixed with facilities development committee. Finally, she commits to the optimization of the SU website in French. Tse asks students to vote for her on March 4th and 5th in French.

    • Pia
  • Apologies for the delay on updates. My French is not very good so please bear with me.

    -Damian

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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