Reporter: Shane MacDonald
Candidates for the 2014 Student Association elections took part in an open forum to speak directly to students and share their platforms Wednesday, March 19 in the UA building on the north campus of UOIT.
Bradley Chin, the new chief returning officer, began with an introduction laying out the rules of the forum. Each candidate, starting with nominees for the president of the SA, were given two minutes for opening statements then the floor was opened for questions and finally, another minute and a half for closing statements.
With a turbulent SA year behind them, many candidates in their opening statements stuck to the speaking points of transparency, accountability and improving the relationship between the SA and schools.
Thanks to a new election policy allowing slates of several candidates to run together with a shared platform, two presidential candidates, Ryan LePage, of Students Unite, and Mina Elseify both ran with slates, and members of their groups echoed their statements.
Kris Cuaresma, a Durham College journalism student, talked up his experiences and qualities his program gave him, saying he would bring those same journalistic skills to the SA presidency if elected. The last SA president who was a Durham College student was Amy England several years ago, also a journalism student during her time at the school, and now an Oshawa city councillor.
Two candidates hailing from the downtown UOIT campus focused on issues affecting that campus in their statements. Mohammad Pasha and LePage both advocated for more resources and services at the downtown campuses while still touching on issues relative to the north campus.
“I’m planning on bringing a lot of resources to the downtown campus,” said Pasha. “Our tuck shop is the size of a closet.”
Once the floor was opened up to questions, candidates were asked how they would wow students, be different from other candidates in the past, how they will win student’s confidence and how they would treat both the LGBTQ and international student communities. To these questions, candidates once again spoke about increasing student involvement and transparency.
“I want our agendas every single week to be dictated by you, the student body,” said Cuaresma.
In closing comments candidates kept it short. They promised to be open with students, better leadership, transparency, accountability, and to start the next SA with a clean slate.