By Katie Hobday
Nine of the 13 Operations and Finance commission candidates discussed issues and answered questions at their forum Fri., Feb. 6. With current Vice-President External Lauren Batiuk moderating, candidates fielded questions about what they felt were the most important issues and problems pertaining to students, what it means to be an Op-Fi commissioner and how they plan on representing students if they are elected.
While all candidates agreed on the importance of tuition and its role in the Op-Fi portfolio, they had differing opinions about student apathy, the U-Pass and representing student diversity.
Independent candidate Matt Vines stated he celebrated divesity in his platform.
“Basically, all the special interest groups on campus–their needs aren’t being served right now,” said Vines. “These things need to be addressed in a way that doesn’t take away from the rest of the university community at large.”
Ian Gordon also emphasized diversity in choice for students during elections, as well as dealing with apathy.
“There are far too many students on this campus who don’t show interest in the SU, and that’s because we’re not informing them about the SU,” said Gordon. “We need to get more student representation.”
Action Party candidate Francisco Torres also addresed the tuition issue.
“I plan to counter the problem with more scholarships to help kids who lack financial resources with this problem,” said Torres. “I think more students deserve scholarships, and there should be more of them.”
All four Barski’s Cabinet candidates attended, with Drew Gilbertson offering thoughts on the cabinet’s philosophy on the tuition fight.
“Recapitalization of Mac Hall and lobbying the Board of Governors with practical solutions, innovative ideas, things that can lower our operating expenses on the university campus in terms of fees for the students,” said Gilbertson.
Independent candidate Steve Demers expanded on SU accountability.
“If someone does say they’re going to do something, they actually do come through with it and actually do a really good job of it,” said Demers.
Independent candidate Dean Horsefield declared his main campaign focus was greater review of the SU budget.
“I think we need to focus on cost-saving strategies, and finding ways to promote increased revenue at the university,” said Horsefield.
Action Party candidate Will Son was unable to attend due a mid-term conflict.