Candidates speak in Brantford
On Tues. Jan. 25, Laurier’s Brantford campus hosted the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union open forum. Five students running for positions on the board of directors (BOD) along with all four presidential candidates congregated at 11 a.m. to defend their platforms and answer concerns from the students in attendance.
BOD candidates Nick Nyhof, Sunny Chan, Chris Oberle, Alex Reinhart and Max Tremaine made the trip to Brantford for the event.
Beginning with the BOD hopefuls, a consistent theme seemed to be the need for communication and new ideas. David Prang, director of student services and moderator for the event, asked e-mail questions specifically geared towards Brantford issues. One included whether the campus was ready for an autonomous decision-making board concerning student advocacy and government. None of the candidates believed Brantford was ready as of yet.
“As of now, I’d say no, but that could change with more members,” commented board candidate Alex Reinhart.
One other recurrent issue was student safety, with candidates reaching a consensus that the more special constable and foot patrol services the better.
At 1 p.m., the presidential candidates took to the podium and presented their platforms along with their strongest assets.
Candidates Matt Park and Nick Gibson had a strong show of support, with multiple students in the crowd sporting their t-shirts. For Gibson, a promise to shake things up and stand as a strong advocate for students even in the face of university or corporate pressure was a resounding theme.
“Sometimes you have to piss people off,” said Gibson referring to pushing for the voice of the students.
He also spoke strongly for realistic safety standards, including holding local authorities accountable and focusing on environmental initiatives at both campuses.
Park presented his experience explaining what he would bring to the role. With multiple years spent in policy governance, he plans to keep goals simple and clear, promising to fix the obvious things first before fighting frivolous ideas.
“We always focus on these grandiose ideas, we don’t pay attention to the small issues. My platform doesn’t have a lot of huge grand ideas, but it has solutions to problems that actually matter,” Park said.
La Cute hopes to institute both informal bi-weekly brunches between him and the students but also ‘secret shopper’ students in the classroom that could provide quality reports to professors.
“This is a chance for me to inform students of what I’m going to do on an ongoing basis,” said La Cute.
Overall though, all the candidates hope to address issues of safety on both campuses, to work towards better communication between representatives and the student body and to serve as a legitimate voice to those who attend Laurier.