Students were given the opportunity to grill presidential candidates on their platforms at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union open forum yesterday.
Following opening remarks, candidates were presented with an anonymously submitted question regarding the move of Laurier Students For Learning (LSFL) from WLUSU services to campus clubs, as well as the possibility of reinstating it.
All the candidates shared the same opinion on the move, in that the group was best served as a campus club rather than a service and that any future changes would be determined by the board, not the president.
The differences in the candidate’s platforms became clear when Sean Madden, a communication studies student, asked their opinions on the union’s current strike plan.
While Kyle Walker and Kory Preston shared the same view that there is no plan currently in place, Preston referred to his plan as outlined in his platform, stating, “I want every student on this campus aware that it is a threat.”
Lawrence Maclin however said that, “the current plan is proactive” and only lacked in raising student awareness on the issue.
The candidates faced a challenge when asked, if elected, how they would work their own platforms along with the recent market research results if they encountered differences.
Walker explained that because it is the students who make up the union, it is their opinions that matter.
He felt that if necessary, it would be important to adapt his own plans to suit the desires of students expressed in the market research.
Both Sunny Chan and Preston pointed out that the results would fall under the strategic planning that will take place next year.
They were again tested when asked how they would advocate for students when working with the board of directors; the candidates all responded with varied statements saying that the final decision would come down to the board.
Walker concisely addressed the issue stating that, “[The board is] a better barometer” of student wants and needs because they are a wider and more diverse representation.
When Asif Bacchus, economics student, asked the candidates to outline the ends of the union and how their platforms matched them, Chan ran out of the forum to retrieve the ends policies while
Walker gave his response.
While all the candidates displayed consideration for the ends in developing their platforms, Preston was able to cite the top four priorities of the union, noting that two of them involve advocacy.
“I think that was an important question to ask, it really showed who has some experience and really knew what the job was all about,” said Preston after the forum.
Walker also expressed his gratitude for the students who came out and the questions they posed, saying, “We had some tough questions … but we had some fun questions too. That’s the role of the president, you’re going to get some easy questions and you’re going to get some hard ones.”
After the forum closed, Maclin commented on the high turnout.
“The open forum was incredible … and I’m really glad that a lot of students came out and engaged themselves in the process.”
Chan concluded the day by pointing out to The Cord how important it is for students to become involved with elections.
“The students’ union operates at least close to a $13 million budget and it is your right to be informed, it is your right to vote.”