The Student Union Society hosted two Q&A sessions as part of this year’s Board of Directors election, both with few students in attendance. The first Q&A in the Student Union Building (SUB) in Abbotsford saw a turnout of around 10 students, while the one hosted in Chilliwack in the Trades and Technology Centre saw only one student in attendance.
Kristina Anderson, chief electoral officer for the SUS elections, said that the trades building had been chosen for the second Q&A in hopes of engaging more trades students in the SUS elections, but there appeared to be few students in the building on that day at 2:30 p.m.
All five candidates were present for both the Q&A sessions. Jaleen Mackay, SUS’s previous VP internal, and Tripat Sandhu, a UFV athlete and second year criminology and criminal justice student, will be running for president. Gurvir (G) Gill, having finished his two terms as president, will be running uncontested for VP external. Two new candidates, Kimberly Hunter and Thomas Cohen, are running for VP students. Andrew Stahl will again be running uncontested for the College of Arts board representative position.
At the Abbotsford discussion, the candidates for president were asked to discuss what two issues they would bring up to UFV president Joanne Maclean. Sandhu said she would look to discuss increasing collaboration with other organizations within the university and finding ways to make the SUB hall more accessible to UFV groups and students.
“We need to collaborate together to have better events, better engagement,” Sandhu said. “If we want to be like the other big dog universities we need to do that by working together with all the different associations and committees.”
Mackay said she would like to discuss academic issues, such as academic accommodation for students wanting to attend important SUS events and group work policies, and issues with the sovereignty of SUS space being ignored.
“They have forced policies down our throat that I don’t agree with,” Mackay said. “In that, I found there is a problem in the relationship between SUS and UFV, where SUS was regularly being ignored on its sovereignty in its own space that students pay for.”
The two VP students candidates were asked questions regarding events they had planned that aligned with UFV’s “Wellness Wheel,” as well as the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) learning outcomes.
Both candidates said they were hoping to host a sports day on campus, as well as cooking events that incorporated multicultural elements. Hunter hoped to host a cook-off event with trades students where students would pick recipes from different cultures, while Cohen discussed a soup cook-off with unique ingredients from different cultures.
There was disagreement between the candidates for president and the VP external candidate over which student society alliance they supported being a part of. Mackay supported SUS being a part of the B.C. Federation of Students (BCFS) but not the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), while Sandhu supported being a member of both the BCFS and CASA.
Gill is a member of the CASA board and supported membership to both alliances. In terms of key concerns for students, Gill said as VP external he would look to advocate to the BCFS on needs-based grants and funds for sexualized violence prevention programming.
Voting will take place from April 1 to 4.
Image: The Cascade