VP External – Mark Scholz

Like other members of his Action Party slate, Mark Scholz is a candidate born out of frustration and bent on change, bringing little experience. He is also a candidate perhaps running for the wrong position.

Much of Scholz’s platform fits best under the Operations and Finance portfolio. He said the Students’ Union must demonstrate they are fiscally responsible and the government will follow suit. While this came with some fair criticisms of SU, ranging from houseboating trips to a lack of money for scholarships, he didn’t fully elaborate on how this would strengthen the SU’s position vis-Ã -vis the provincial government.

He repeatedly pointed to a lack of professionalism in recent years, specifically “Mullets Against Tuition” and “Tent City,” but most of these criticisms were of the 2002/2003 Students’ Legislative Council. For someone so feverishly pushing change, he had surprisingly positive things to say about current Vice-President External Lauren Batiuk. Furthermore, he never entertained better ways to involve students in the process, calling a purported $14,000 student-aimed tuition awareness campaign a waste of money.

Scholz reluctantly recognized some benefits of lobby groups, even though he thought the SU was a member of the Canadian Federation of Students, but underestimates the power of lobbying. He called for one-on-one meetings with politicians as an apparent alternative, and mentioned his personal acquaintance with Learning Minister Dr. Lyle Oberg could be of benefit. This narrow approach won’t win him any successes in government.

Scholz also neglected the role of the community, and subsequently the senate, a body he seemed surprised to hear was in his portfolio.

Scholz doesn’t understand the scope or responsibilities of the external portfolio, and if elected will either be unwilling or unable to effectively represent students–not to the media, not to the community, and not to government.

What will be your lobbying priorities?

“I think the best way we can communicate with the provincial government is on a one-on-one basis, but if we need to go into lobbying… then we need to go with a more aggressive approach.”

How will you determine what students’ issues are?

“The first one is obviously tuition. Another one is accessibility into university. Another one is quality of education.”

How will you communicate those issues to the outside world?

“I can bring up the example of the issues I don’t support. One of those is ‘Mullets for Tuition.’ We are turning away a lot of people that are sympathetic to our cause, and probably wouldn’t really respect things that we do.

What will your role be on the senate?

“We need to stress students. We need to say that we have a Students’ Union that’s standing for what students are concerned about.”

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