Students’ Union endorsements
The following endorsements were done through discussions with The Cord’s editorial board and senior staff (13 in favour, 2 abstentions). These are not necessarily a reflection of WLUSP, The Cord’s volunteers or staff.
Mynt Marsellus, Multimedia Director of The Cord and a candidate in the elections, as well as Jessica Dik, Lead Photographer of The Cord and a member of Van Herzele’s campaign team, did not participate in the discussions.
PRESIDENT: Tyler Van Herzele
The decision for the Tyler endorsement was no easy call. Both presidential candidates carry almost identical volunteer and work experience, resulting in nearly equal qualification for student advocacy and representation. There are a lot of gaps in consistency from the strides with this year’s Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president, and buzzwords and slogans continued to be the main focus. But after careful assessment of the pros and cons of both candidates, we have come to the conclusion that Tyler Van Herzele carries a more feasible vision.
Van Herzele’s campaign pillars are mental health, connectivity and awareness/campus safety. Similarly, Murdock’s pillars stand for student wellness, student experience and relationships. They carry nearly identical ideals with a few minor exceptions and very few tangible aspects. Both sets of pillars carry visions to enhance the Laurier experience, but Van Herzele seems to understand what it takes to actually take his vision into action.
Van Herzele put the work into his platform and his well-boasted partnerships through meeting with students, current Students’ Union staff members as well as university representatives for the past six months. His dedication to the campaign as well as the position is evident and if this continues, can boast a good beginning to his term.
During the presidential debate and the open forums, Murdock impressed with time while Van Herzele seemed to put thought into his answers. Van Herzele spoke about the importance of student advocacy on both campuses and listed measurable steps for accomplishing his goals. Murdock also talked about using his passion to empower students, but did not give much basis of how. He discussed plans for growth and change in the student community, but did not offer calculated steps for implementation.
During Monday’s open forum, Editor-In-Chief Shelby Blackley asked the presidential candidates why The Cord should endorse them. While Murdock explained that it would lead to a positive relationship between him and the Waterloo campus newspaper if elected, Van Herzele said he is ready to tackle whatever comes in the position and that he wants to learn to help students achieve their goals, focusing more on his suspected performance and what he would bring to the table.
Olivia Matthews stressed that the presidential position entails responding to a never ending flow of student concerns. Both candidates have the approachability necessary in a Students’ Union president, but the connectivity of Van Herzele can work to his advantage.
But Van Herzele has a lot to learn and a lot to work on if he is successful on Thursday. While he has the sociability aspect, it’s important to understand that campaigns and campaign platforms should not solely rely on being “nice.” Van Herzele will need to learn the Waterloo operations, rely on a strong vice-president team and learn intently from Matthews during the transition period. Van Herzele will have to find a balance between the advocacy, CEO and management portfolios to be an effective president and avoid burnout early into his term.
It is also important to mention that both platforms may have touched on good ideas, but in terms of tangibles, they both lacked substantially. It’s also important to note both candidates didn’t really impress us in terms of how they engaged in the presidential debate. The job is complex and complicated and while a platform is really only an outline, it’s imperative that each individual is ready with concrete ideas to engage with the issues at hand. This was not evident throughout the last two weeks from either candidate.
It’s important to vote based on what you as students want to see in your president. There is a lot to the position. Both candidates lack substantial knowledge and experience to make them a clear choice, but Van Herzele’s strengths make him the best candidate out of the two, and the one that should be ranked at the top of this year’s ballot.
CHAIR: Jonathan Ricci
As one of only three potential returning candidates, the board would benefit from the experience Jonathan Ricci has. In every year on the board, Ricci has been a passionate member. He is a strong director that understands the roles of the board and its place within the Students’ Union organization. Ricci has consistent contributions to meetings and discussions, is knowledgeable about the position and continues to encourage critical engagement from fellow directors. Ricci’s largest challenge will be dealing with turnover, but must use his experience and passion to his advantage. The chair’s job is to facilitate discussion and Ricci would be a great asset to this. Ricci’s experience and investment in the board would help him in the role of chair as well as CGO.
VICE-CHAIR: Shannon Kelly
While having no tangible experience as a director, Shannon Kelly has been impressive and can continue to be an impressive addition to the board. Kelly has sat as the secretary of the board this year and has knowledge that can make her a critical director, and a strong vice-chair. She understands the functions of the board, what the board’s role is and can offer a strong voice when making decisions. It must be noted that to jump from secretary to vice-chair is a large leap, and Kelly must be critical and confident in the position. She can be a valuable voice in regards to holding the Students’ Union president, and the chair, accountable.
DIRECTORS AT LARGE: Nick Molkoski and Nick DeSumma
Nick Molkoski, while only a first-year student, has raw knowledge of corporate board workings. He was one of few non-returning candidates to bring up executive limitations and ends while also wanting to keep the president accountable. Molkoski mentioned the current work of the ownership linkage committee and showed confidence in his ability to look critically at what the Union needs. If elected, Molkoski will bring a strong, positive presence to the board.
Nick DeSumma has been a great member of the Students’ Union board for the past two years and with such high turnover inevitable, it’s important DeSumma is elected for a third term. DeSumma brings a wealth of knowledge, good leadership and a vocal presence from the Brantford campus. DeSumma’s passion and dedication is evident, but needs to be more vocal in his role. Another term can help DeSumma reach his expectations.
SENATOR: No endorsement
After having little to no information or contact with the candidates, The Cord has decided to abstain from making an endorsement on this year’s Senate candidates.
Board of governors: No endorsement
After reading the platforms and watching the candidates at the open forum, The Cord has decided to abstain from making an endorsement on this year’s student governor candidates.