Presidential Q & A

Q: What was the biggest problem this past year and how would you have handled it?

Q: What do you think the financial priorities for the union should be?

Q: In the past, there has been a close relationship between WLUSU and the university administration. What do you feel is the role of the WLUSU president when the priorities of the administration differ from the interests of the students?

Q: In the past, voter turnout has been quite low; how do you feel this will affect the election?

Sunny Chan

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A: “The current president’s biggest hindrance, the major one that’s been boggling her, has to be her financial misallocation of money. I believe that this should not have happened, especially because it was an Excel error. If I was president I don’t know if I would have had that misallocation in the first place because we would have been double-checking, triple-checking Excel sheets and making sure it all lines up before it goes to the board.”

A: “In Brantford we always state that more money should be thrown at students and student activity….a priority is to actually have more money than we currently have … and a way to do that is to it is to expand the retail operations [in Brantford] as I stated in my election platform. In order to have more money you have to make more money.”

A: “Of course we’ve been in close ties for a long time now. If such a situation [arose] where the students’ union [differed] from the university it would not be my call … it would be up to the board of directors…It’s not good to say that I always have to wait, but if I am not 100 per cent familiar or 100 per cent sure of the students input – though I could usually take a good guess at them – I believe it should be deferred back to the board and let the university talk to my board and let them hammer out a solution that will work for both of us.”

A: “I’ll … note [my] disappointment to the elections official for informing voters about the election date….It’s not the president’s position to do so, but if I am elected president I will make sure that the election is noted. I’ll put my face on a poster…bright red.”

Q: This year WLUSU underwent a re-structuring. Why do you think that they need to re-organize the administration? In what way?

“Most of the systems that have happened of the restructuring seems to have happened at the end of each president’s term…For me re-organization has to happen immediately after the election…There should be three core elements: we have this retail arm that does retail for both Waterloo and Brantford…and the two student departments that are the core; the Brantford one and the Waterloo one…And overall in the top would be the president for each of the [two] cores plus the [general manager]…and then we’ll have a CEO and a vice-president [university affairs]…Each of [Waterloo and Brantford cores] will have a mini board…There will be VPs under the presidents but the only VP on the top body will be university affairs because it’s the only one I deem necessary and really it could fall under the retail arm.”

Lawrence Maclin

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A: “The lack of communication within the students’ union itself, and the opportunities that exist for volunteers…..Unfortunately, some of the resources that are available to assist them are not made available. For instance, this year, not many volunteers were made aware that there was a street team that was available at the disposal of volunteers, executives and co-ordinators, as well as staff who help promote their events and advertise and engage the student body.”

A: “The financial priorities for the union at the end of the day need to be that the students are being provided for with both services and programming. Ways to ensure that this is accomplished … are not overprogramming and duplicating different opportunities for students that already exist. And [to make] sure that student essentials like safety and security, as well as evening programming … are available.”

A: “The role of the WLUSU president does not differ whether they agree or disagree with Laurier administration. Laurier’s students’ union president needs to ensure that student concerns are being heard and voiced, and that students have an opportunity to impact their own education at this university…So for myself personally, the close relationships that I have been privileged to work with, will harness and help in these situations because I already have those cultivated relationships….even in times of disagreement … it’s so essential that the students’ union president represent student’s honestly and with integrity. That is what we are here to do, and that’s why the position is so powerful. It has the opportunity to give students a voice.”

A: “This affects the election in a very significant way. Student engagement is one of my main issues I am working towards, and I believe that every student should come out and vote. The opportunity and the effects of this position for next year directly does affect every student…That’s why one of my main platform ideas … is implementing LCD monitor screens, which will give students the opportunity to become more engaged … and there is opportunities to advertise and promote the campaigns of all candidates as well as the election process as a whole. I truly believe that by implementing a product like this for students, the voter turnout for next year will significantly increase.”

Q: In regards to proposed renovations in the Terrace there already is a master plan in place, with a proposed timeline for this summer, and money set aside for this project. Why is this important to include in your platform?

“This is a project that I am excited about overseeing; … there is a budgeted amount of money set aside. That being said, this is a project that has been considered for many, many years now, and … has not been accomplished. With the growing number of students on this campus, it is more essential than ever that we are able to provide an opportunity to enjoy their eating experience in the Terrace and accommodate the growing number of students that come and use our services….The students’ union president needs to ensure that that project is complete, and also that it follows within the budget which it has been allotted. “

Kyle Walker

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A: “I would say Charity Ball, and more or less how the information stream was managed. I think there were times when the students’ union could be a lot more upfront with people and a lot more direct with student publications especially.”

A: “Maintaining businesses and business operations at a sustainable level, but not gouging students for more money. This year they have been charging groups and committees to come into the Den and Turret, and really that’s student space, they pay for it already. Especially being a ResLife don, the Den and the Turret are spaces that we use frequently and to be double charged for those, essentially, is pretty difficult to swallow. Definitely business operations and making sure we’re not double charging and over-charging students.”

A: “It’s simple, just stand up and fight for students and keep fighting. I mean, if there ever comes a day where you’re not really advocating for students and you’re not standing up and trying to have those conversations where you’re butting heads with people that differ from you, you’re not doing the job. You’re not representing the students on this campus, and that’s the main role of the president of the students’ union….The student’s union needs to do more of their own research at times and not just openly accept everything they hear [from administration].”

A: “Obviously it affects the election, because if voter turnout is so low, candidates tend to step away from issues that might stir up debate. There are candidates who have a lot of good ideas but they won’t put them in their platforms if they think students will disagree with them. I’ve never shied away from that. If I have an idea that I think students might disagree with, I’m going to share it. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t do that. [Personally]I’m the undergraduate rep on [the Milton campus] planning committee. It’s got a yellow light on it, we’re waiting to see what the government is going to do. I think it’s a terrific opportunity… and it’s something that I support 100 per cent.”

Q: In your platform you speak about spending on information technologies. Since this normally falls to administration, how do you plan to achieve that?

“In my platform I talk about advocating on students’ behalf for more funding and for more focus on information technologies. 100 per cent that falls under university administration, but I think there are definitely times when the students’ union could help out. In my platform I talk about collaboration centres similar to the ones that PRISM has in the Peters building, little things like that to make academic life easier….The university has definitely come a long way over the last few years, in terms of information technology on campus….There are things that still need to improve. ResNet over my time here, each year has gotten worse.”

Kory Preston

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A: “The continued over-enrollment of our campus….It’s really, really hurting the community feel at Laurier…it’s really putting a strain on our study space, on our classroom sizes, the student to faculty ratio is ridiculous to what the university promised to do….What we need to do as a students’ union is put some pressure on the university to meet their caps and work pro-actively with the administration as a team to go into the provincial government mainly and start the discussion about proper funding for universities.”

A: “The number one priority for the students’ union should be on advocacy and should be on advocacy focus. We’re a union, not an association…when we look at our budgets, when we look at how we are funding things, one of our ends’ limitations is to have provincial and federal legislation recognizing the needs of students, and that’s one of the primary ends….When we look at our funding priorities advocacy first, empowering students through our campus club structure second and looking towards the future and doing that visioning stuff third.”

A: “One of the things I’ve seen in the past couple of years differ between presidents is their willingness to stand up against university administration…too often the students’ union is so worried about hurting the administrator that they won’t take a stand on behalf of the student…As a president, if we disagree on something – and as you can see in my platform I already do disagree with a lot of the directions they are taking – it’s about banging down doors….We’re going to do it in a professional and well-researched way, but we’re going to make sure that the university administrators know exactly where we stand on issues…it’s a professional business world, it’s not a family.”

A: “Frankly, if we don’t get the students to vote, our presidents don’t have the legitimacy that they need. It’s such a travesty looking at the position and considering if we’re lucky we’ll get 20 to 25 per cent of the student population to vote and if we pull a majority of the vote we’ll get maybe 12 per cent of the student body. That’s a really difficult position to be in as a backing.”

Q: How do you plan to create a first-year friendly Turret, considering the current policy, which came into effect in 2008 does not allow underagers in the campus bar?

“I’m not satisfied that enough options were looked at for the Turret. The current structural setup of the Turret is conducive to an all-ages setting…. I used to love to go to the Turret and I would go with of-age friends and that was really the great attraction….It’s something that we at least have to try. I think we owe it to our students…If we can [make the] stage area [19+]…Of age students are still going to be a part of that whole scene.”