Eric Jablonski's unexpected resignation posed more problems for the Students' Union than just finding a replacement.
On Tue., Aug. 21, the Student Legislative Council, consisting of the SU executive and commissioners, elected Richard Freeman to serve as the new vice-president events. An election was held in response to Jablonski resigning on Wed., Aug. 1, due to his admission into the University of Calgary faculty of medicine.
Candidates for the position, Freeman and Josh Sandulak, were assessed by the SLC on criteria such as volunteer and event experience, knowledge of the SU, and their ability to manage commissioners.
"I have the most experience by far," said Freeman when asked to comment what qualified him for the position. "I know a lot about running events for non-profit organizations and doing things at the lowest cost possible."
Freeman had previously served as an events commissioner several times, most recently re-elected to the position in this year's general election. He has experience as festivals coordinator and disk jockey for CJSW and will be sitting on the radio station's board. As well, he has been the host of That Empty Space since its founding three years ago.
In the fall, Freeman will be involved in events such as Red Friday and alcohol awareness week. His platform will be presented to the student body during the October by-election.
"We're really excited to have Richard on board," said SU President Julie Bogle. "He gets to work with such an experienced commission. He has a good support system."
The new VP is required to follow Jablonski's platform until by-election time.
"[It] is fine because it has a lot of things that I would be interested in doing and keep going," stated Freeman. "Like [That] Empty Space. [It's] one of the things central to my life."
In the meantime, students shouldn't worry too much about changes to their beloved events.
"The budget for VP events [has] already been set," he said. "There's a certain amount that's already been planned and I just have to make it happen."
Freeman will carry out the role of interim VP events until the by-election in Oct. The purpose of the election is to allow students to run for a vacant SU position that is--currently filled by an appointee not elected by the students.
"[The appointees] are not elected in so they still have to run in the by-election," Bogle said. "[It] covers any vacant position and a lot of the vacant positions [that] are traditionally run for can be filled by full-time students."
However, Jablonski's depar- ture has caused an unusual problem for the SU.
"[It] is very much a rare occurrence for an executive position to be running in the by-election," said Bogle. "Traditionally we're not electing an executive member where there are the requirements to only take one class in the by-election."
The by-election has come under criticism due to this restriction, drawing concerns for an undemocratic race. The successful candidate for VP events will need to withdraw from their classes to meet the requirement. As a result, only students who are willing to do so can compete against the current VP.
According to Bogle, the SU is looking into waiving the course fees of the elected candidate if they are required to withdraw. However, this remains uncertain. Nonetheless, the incumbent has the option to appeal to the SU executive cabinet to take more than one course.
SU events commissioner Sandulak, thinks differently.
"A by-election is fair because it gives people an equal chance to run," said Sandulak. "I don't feel like there is a risk."
The stakes are much higher for Freeman. Because he plans on running in the by-election, if he loses, he'll be out of the SU completely and will not be allowed to return as a commissioner. However, if he chooses not to run he will be reinstated to his former position.