SU Election Dissection 2024: Vice-President (Operations and Finance)

The panel unanimously agreed that one vice-president (operations and finance) candidate brings a fresher perspective, and should be the one to win this race.

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

Joachim Bony, a third-year business, economics, and law student, and the 2022-23 vice-president (operations and finance) VPOF of l’Association des Universitaires de la Faculté Saint Jean (AUFSJ).

joachim bony myer horowitz 2024
Lily Polenchuk Joachim Bony, vice-president (operations and finance) candidate, Myer Horowitz Forum.

Levi Flaman, a fifth-year open studies student, and the current SU VPOF.

levi flaman myer horowitz 2024
Lily Polenchuk Levi Flaman, vice-president (operations and finance) candidate, Myer Horowitz forum.

Ali began by acknowledging that “several generations of students have seen Flaman run for some sort of student leader position.” He thought that Flaman’s performance as current VPOF was neither great or bad — just in-between. However, Ali thought that Bony’s campaign was very engaging and “phenomenal.”

“It doesn’t look like a recycled campaign from last year. It looks like new, fresh ideas are being discussed at the table. I think that’s what students want.”

Gordon agreed with Ali, and said that “sometimes it’s good to have new people that haven’t served in the role or are incumbents.” Co added to Gordon’s point that VPOF is a role that can benefit from having the same person twice. But, she found that Bony did a “good job positioning himself as a fresh perspective with experience.”

Shifting the conversation, Gordon pointed out that at the Augustana Campus forum, both candidates didn’t specify how they would address broader issues.

“Both of them seemed out of touch with Augustana issues, which is concerning,” Gordon explained. “But conversely, Bony seemed very engaged with Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ) issues.”

Co said that both candidates want money to be spent efficiently. But, Flaman focused on specifics like the Single Source Cold Beverage Policy and U-Pass, Co said. She appreciated Bony’s perspective that the issue isn’t a lack of services.

“It’s how we allocate that money and ensure that students are generally aware of the services are available. I appreciate his ability to speak to that.”

Ali said he expected to see unrealistic ideas in Bony’s platform as he was a newcomer. However, Ali found it was the other way around. Flaman’s points of revisiting the Students’ Union Building (SUB) master plan and striking a housing commission to look into leasing or owning a residence were examples of unrealistic goals, Ali explained.

Gordon said that Flaman’s point of hiring external auditors to do three audits — including a value for money audit — made him cringe. He said that the gains from external audits aren’t always realized, especially in the short-term, and most likely not in the long-run.

“Like he says himself, it could benefit us in the long-run. [But] it’s very expensive to have all these things done. I don’t think Flaman understands the costs and benefits of doing that,” Gordon explained.

In Ali’s opinion, Flaman ran to be VPOF of a corporation, while Bony ran to be VPOF of a union. He cited Bony’s goal to launch an outreach campaign about SU services, which Ali said is really important.

Although VPOF is an internal-facing role, as Flaman has mentioned, Ali said it’s not limited to internal issues and decisions need to involve all students. Co echoed Ali’s point and said that students are voting for VPOF.

“Their job is to communicate to students. It is not an internal-facing position,” Co said. “I think that is an unfortunate perspective to bring into the role, which actively detracts from the impact that VPOF can have.”

Who will win: Three votes for Bony

Who should win: Three votes for Bony

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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