VP Op-Fi forum

By Вen Li

Many tragedies have been built around dysfunctional families fighting over who should be the new leader. Should it be the brother returning from abroad, the financially-adept sister, or the intelligent but ugly step-child? Such is the question with this year’s SU General Election as three internal candidates campaigned for the VP operations and finance position this Tue., Feb. 11.

Current Academic Commissioner, Gavin Preston started with the possibility of reducing SU fees.

“I don’t like mad fees,” said Preston. “I like the programs they cover but I’d like to see an optional $33 SU fee.”

Preston promised to restructure aspects of SU operations to decrease spending and SU fees.

“I want to eliminate [the SU’s] dependency on these fees–it seems hypocritical the way we deal with it by saying to administration to cut funding while maintaining services when we ask for fee increases,” he said.

Tanya Kotwall, the only candidate from the current Op-Fi commission, also discussed financial issues.

“All we are asking from students are fees and money, I don’t blame students for not caring,” she said. “Students aren’t paid $23,000 to care as a VP of the SU.”

Kotwall added that apathy could be reduced by more word-of-mouth advertising and communication.

“Students may not care about the SU, they care about what their friends say,” she said.

Events Commissioner Brett Pearce suggested one way to improve communications which he will continue to pursue, if elected to VP Op-Fi: better signage at MacEwan Hall.

“We need to have signs for off-campus businesses when they come here,” said Pearce.

Pearce also said that he would benefit students. He promised to increase food and drink funding for club events and to introduce a photocopying allowance. “I want to focus on clubs this year. Clubs should be the main focus since they are one of the main ways students are involved with the SU,” he said.

Responding to student space concerns, Kotwall was aware of the problem and had simple solutions.

“Whoever comes up to book it first should get it,” she said. “If they need space, I will give them my room.”

In light of concerns about space and other resources, Preston called for increased accountability for the resources managed by the SU.

“With fiscal responsibility regarding the SU, we have seen a lot of bad expenditures: the $16,000 hand scanner, the house-boating trip, the staff retreat,” said Preston. “Right now, students’ money is going elsewhere, not just to them.”

Kotwall agreed this year’s SU expenditures deserve examination.

“We have made mistakes, I admit to you, but it will not happen again,” she said.

Pearce also stated his stance on accountability in an attack on Preston’s past performance.

“We can combat apathy, stop having council members being drunk and removed, stop having council members throwing notepads at the president,” said Pearce.

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