SAMRU Representation Executive Debate Takes Place
A competitive candidate group took the stage in Wyckham House to discuss their platforms
Kate Holowaty, Features Editor
The Representation Executive debate was held this afternoon in Wyckham House and it did not disappoint. President candidates Laurie Gaal and Shif Gadamsetti defended and explained their platforms extensively – both clearly having done their research. It is evident that they both are passionate about filling the position. The two seemed at odds with each other over a few issues particularly whether or not Gadamsetti’s platform of upgrading MRU’s technologies will make for a better overall student experience versus spending that money
elsewhere. “We have to be realistic about where our fees are going,” said Gaal. But all questions from the audience about vague proposals listed in both the president candidate’s platforms were answered flawlessly with both candidates clarifying exactly what they intend to do and more importantly how they plan to do it.
This speculatively close and competitive race between Shif and Laurie wasn’t lost on the other candidates including first time candidate for the vice-president of student life position Isabelle Sinclair.
“I think this is a really competitive batch of people and I think that especially between Shif and Laurie, they both really want it, and I think it shows they’ve done their research and they’ve done their work because they want it so bad because they want to be a voice for students and I think that’s how I feel and how all of us feel,” said Sinclair.
Vice-president academic candidates Robbie Nelson and Sam Ulmer-Krol also seemed well prepared and engaged in academic issues particularly student evaluations of instruction (SEIs). The topic of SEI confidentiality issues was discussed with Ulmer-Krol even going so far as to say “Negative, sexist, hateful comments will not be tolerated.” But both failed to mention programs or courses they want introduced. This omission stuck out for student Pri Dutt.
“There have been talks in the past about certain courses and majors being offered again…but whether or not that’s something they [the academic candidates] can look into or advocate for or push for isn’t totally clear,” said Dutt. “I found that nobody really has that in their platform right now so I’d like to to speak to them and see if that’s something they would like to bring forward.”
Dexter Bruneau is the only candidate for the vice-president external position and answered questions about transit issues, mental health and how he wants to bring back more arts and culture into MRU.
With the most candidates, the vice-president of student life position will be a tough call with three qualified people vying for the spot. Valerie Caden-Baptiste, Madelaine McCracken and Isabelle Sinclair have all been involved with a variety of MRU programs and resources and have varying perspectives because of this. But when the topic of the Pride Centre possibly closing was brought up the three candidates were unanimous in their resolve that this would not happen due to the integral and invaluable position they feel the Pride Centre fills at MRU.
Other highlights from the debate include:
—> Gaal’s proposal of getting MRU programs and faculties to have friendly competitions against one another to showcase student talent
—> Gadamsetti’s goal of increasing engagement in order to get more sponsors to come to MRU thus bringing more donations and money for tuition
—> Nelson’s goal of implementing a fall reading week to help with student mental health
—> Ulmer-Krol’s call for moving back the withdrawal deadline so students can have a better idea of their final grades
—> Bruneau’s statement “You have to ignore your personal beliefs and put what will help the greatest number of students first” when asked about partisanship
—> Caden-Baptiste’s passion for further developing the clubs programs
—> McCracken advocating the importance of the Pride Centre and her personal connection to it
—> Sinclair saying that she will actually visit first year classes to engage with students and increase participation
So MRU, get out and vote. Your voice matters and it is clear from this debate that no matter who is elected there will be strong, engaged and motivated people creating a better MRU community. Voting is now online @http://www.samru.ca/vote/voting/ as well as in person booths will be set up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at both the East and West Gate entrances.