Lister Forum: VP Operations & Finance, VP External, and VP Academic Candidates | The Wanderer Online Elections Team

Unfortunately, these three races are uncontested, and NOTA is a notoriously easy candidate to beat. However, the we can find consolation in that all of these candidates are well-qualified, with experiences in community engagement and student governance. While they may not be battling their rivals in this campaign week, they are seeking feedback for their ideas and it is a great opportunity for us, students, to provide our input in the policy directions of these three candidates.

VPOF – Josh Le

Josh is the “jeans guy” and the Suzuki/Guy Fawkes/Steve Aoki doppelganger. Josh has been on the first page of Reddit and on Ripley’s Believe it or Not. He’s basically a celebrity. But don’t get us wrong–Josh isn’t just a cool dude who is ridiculously popular. Josh has been an active member of the U of A community, having served two consecutive terms in council. In this term, he served in the Budget and Finance Committee and the Audit Committee, which is a great experience for his  for the position of VPOF. He has been preparing for this day during the last two years.

In his speech in Lister, Josh stressed his main theme of “thinking local.” He said that supporting the Students’ Union and making its businesses more profitable would increase the amount of money that the SU can use for student engagement. A great idea and interesting way of framing it; but his use of the phrase “local economy” confused many who did not catch his use of “local” as in “SU businesses,” not Edmonton or Alberta. Josh also mentioned championing the SUB and PAW renovations, two ongoing, long-term projects.

Question: Name two failures of this year’s Ops portfolio – how would you improve these in the future?
Josh: Thanked Andy (Cheema) for doing an amazing job this year. Believed that his extroversion and skills as a marketing student could be an asset to the portfolio. Held that communication to students seemed to be lacking, and he would be looking to close this gap.

VPX – Adam Woods

Adam Woods has been eyeing the position of VP External for a long time. He served as a councillor last year and ran against Petros for the same position in the 2012 election. Adam lost, but he persisted. Instead of running for council seat, he got a job with the Students’ Union to do research for Petros. He has been preparing for this day since the moment he stepped into this university.

In the forum, Adam talked about three main issues. First, the need to increase the provincial funding for mental health support on campus. Adam stressed that the $10.4 million from the Alberta government is not enough. Second, employment. He mentioned the cut to the summer employment program and vowed to fight to bring back the jobs for students. Third, he talked about (“surprise!”) affordability, mentioning the need to fight against the Mandatory Non-Instructional Fee (MNIF) and CoSS fees that burden students.

Question: How do you think that working with the Wild Rose party as Alberta’s new official opposition will affect student issues?
Adam: Thinks that party could in fact side with students on re-negotiating funding for summer employment of students. The Wild Rose party believes in jobs, and students working to earn their education, and would therefore support student work initiatives.

VPA – Dustin Chelen

Dustin Chelen is the current VP Academic and he has quietly done a great job, which was acknowledged with the highest grade from the Gateway’s Executive Report Card. Again, Dustin is running an uncontested race.

He described his year as a success when it came to “solving little problems,” and said that he wanted to tackle bigger issues in his second term. Dustin emphasized the fact that this was the first time in recent SU history that someone is running for VPA for the second time and his ability as an incumbent to finish off what he started this year. Mainly, Dustin talked about working with libraries to find a solution to increases in textbook prices; ensuring that there are great “teachers” and thus increasing quality of teaching at the U of A; and lastly, making this university a more compassionate one.

Question: In your opinion, what is the most important sub-committee of the GFC (General Faculties Council)?
Dustin: Think it’s the committee on the learning environment. It was very active this year, and moving into the future it will be busy with many important issues such as online courses.

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