SU Election Dissection 2024: Vice-President (Academic)

The panel agreed that both vice-president (academic) candidates had similar ideas, but one candidate communicated them better, setting themselves up for success.

Every year, The Gateway hosts a panel to discuss the Students’ Union (SU) election. This year’s panelists provided their insights on the candidates running, student politics, and who students should vote for in the 2024 SU election.

Opinions expressed by the panellists do not reflect those of The Gateway.

The Panel

This year’s panel included:

  • Haruun Ali: fourth-year political science student at the University of Alberta, former SU open studies and arts councillor, and presidential candidate in the 2022 and 2023 SU election
  • Pia Co: The Gateway ’19-20 director of marketing and outreach, ’20-21 online production editor, ’21 editor-in-chief
  • Jared Gordon: third-year finance and economics student at the U of A, current treasurer of the U of A Conservative Club.

The Candidates

Layla Alhussainy, a fourth-year religious studies and sociology student.

Layla Alhussainy Augustana 2024
Lily Polenchuk Layla Alhussainy, vice-president (academic) candidate, Augustana Campus forum.

Farah Elgaweesh, a first-year nursing student.

farah elgawesh myer horowitz 2024
Lily Polenchuk Farah Elgaweesh, vice-president (academic) candidate, Myer Horowitz forum.

The panel agreed that both vice-president (academic) (VPA) candidates had engaging campaigns. Ali especially praised Alhussainy’s visuals, social media engagement, and posters.

Ali focused on both candidates’ performances in the forums. He said that because both had similar points, the way that they expressed their ideas was important. Ultimately, Ali thought Elgaweesh did a better job of explaining and rounding out her views, which he said developed throughout the campaign.

Gordon directed the discussion to platform points. He said that both candidates talked about promoting the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) program and hybrid learning, which he was glad to see. But, he especially liked Elgaweesh’s points of extending CampusBridge to Augustana Campus, and increasing the number of academic advisors at Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ).

“I’m not sure if that’s feasible to get more academic advisors with how tight funding is,” Gordon said. “But it’s something I appreciated in her campaign.”

Co added that Elgaweesh had a “superior to-do list” that is very achievable. She appreciated Elgaweesh’s points on improving exam deferral policies and reporting mechanisms for harassment in classes.

“Elgaweesh being really specific about that was encouraging,” Co said. She added that Alhussainy had the right ideas, but Elgaweesh gave more direction on achieving hers.

Ali echoed Co’s point. He said that, considering Alhussainy’s experience sitting on General Faculties Council (GFC) and serving as vice-president (internal) for the Organization of Arts Students and Interdisciplinary Studies (OASIS), he would’ve liked more context behind her ideas.

“Alhussainy brings the overarching ideas. But Elgaweesh actually goes into the specifics,” Ali explained. Gordon agreed with Co and Ali, and added that Alhussainy didn’t provide enough specifics that “people actually want to see out of the VPA role.”

Co brought attention to how the candidates addressed Augustana and CSJ during forums. Co said that Alhussainy’s responses during the forums were very specific to North Campus. On the other hand, Elgaweesh gave a “more broad perspective on how to integrate CSJ and Augustana,” and kept them in mind during responses.

Regarding how the candidates understood students’ issues, Ali said Elgaweesh captured what students across faculties specifically want. He added that students would find it difficult to hold Alhussainy accountable at the end of her term if elected. This was because her platform “was so vague.”

Nevertheless, Co said it was encouraging to see two hijabi women running. Co explained that, although both candidates had a good idea of the role, it came down to who communicated things better.

Who will win: One vote for Alhussainy, two votes for Elgaweesh

Who should win: Three votes for Elgaweesh

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2023-24 Managing Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science. She enjoys skiing, walks in the river valley, and traveling.

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