Presidential debate brings issues to light
It was the big debate between the two of the most well known Tyler’s on Wednesday night at Wilfrid Laurier University.
The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presidential debate took place on the Waterloo campus as students, staff and campaign team members were invited to watch their two presidential candidates, Waterloo’s Tyler Murdock and Brantford’s Tyler Van Herzele, answer questions about what they would accomplish as Students’ Union president.
The debate was held in the Concourse, different from in the past when it was held in the Students’ Union board room.
Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publication’s president and publisher Bryan Stephens, who gave candidates two minutes each to answer questions sent in through various forms of social media, moderated the debate.
During the event, Murdock and Van Herzele discussed their platforms and how they will incorporate their knowledge of the university into their role as president. They were asked to critique the other’s platform, why they were the best candidate and what they would do first in the position.
One of the big topics of the debate included the question of whether the Students’ Union board of directors should be representative or corporate. Murdock explained it should be representative of all Laurier students, while Van Herzele believed the board should be corporate while representing students.
“They approve finances, but at the same time they are students,” said Van Herzele.
Mental health, a huge discussion during Bell Let’s Talk day, was also brought up. Both candidates believed in the need to educate students on the stigmas surrounding mental health while also promoting Laurier’s mental health initiatives.
“[I will] continue to provide support and make sure they’re available to students,” said Murdock.
A question at the end of the debate was surrounded on how the candidates will represent both the Waterloo and Brantford Laurier campuses.
According to Murdock, as president he will spend more time in Brantford while targeting all campus clubs in Waterloo.
“I want students there to understand the everyday life in this job.”
As president, Van Herzele said he would rather represent all Laurier students than separate them by campus.
“[There’s a] large difference but you have to realize that you’re representing all Laurier students despite different campuses.”
At the end of the night, Murdock wished more could have been said about multi-campus stuff around Brantford and Waterloo.
“It was a little targeted just me being from Waterloo and Tyler being from Brantford, and that’s something I really did not want to happen, because we both have experience on both campuses, and we wanted that to be communicated outwards. So we want to just touch on the fact that we have that experience, and we never really got the chance to do that, in my opinion necessarily.”
As for Van Herzele, he wished topics could have focused more on the changes within the Students’ Union, along with other departments. Van Herzele mentioned this during the debate, but wished to see more.
“There’s quite a bit going on as I mentioned a little bit about clubs and associations but other departments are going through changes too so I would’ve loved to have talked a little bit about those,” he said.
When asked what the most complicated question of the night, Van Herzele explained talking about mental health is a challenge as someone who has had personal exposure to it.
“I want to make sure we are comfortable talking about those hard issues because when it comes down to the end of the day all students have that right and I want them to feel comfortable doing it too.”
For Murdock, the question of how the candidates defined gendered violence was the most challenging to answer.
“You can kind of think about what you wish you would have said, so you have to understand that.”
The election period will continue with the Brantford open forum on January 28 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Waterloo open forum will be Monday in the Concourse. Voting takes place February 3 and 4.