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Academic commissioner hopefuls matched wits to earn votes on the Mac Hall stage.
the Gauntlet

SU election forums invade Mac Hall - Academic

Academics astute

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Five hopeful Students' Union academic commissioners debated their merits Monday on the stage in the MacEwan Student Centre south courtyard.

Moderated by current vice-president academic Pam Weatherbee, the five candidates-- Dan Pagan, Christian Louden, Sid Dawud, Ola Mohajer and Nikita Schaloske-- discussed their platforms in front of the student crowd.

Dawud suggested that the university needed to make posting notes on Blackboard mandatory for professors to address communication issues in class.

He also recommended there be a stronger teaching focus in hiring.

"I understand that the U of C is primarily a research institute and for that reason I think we should have instructors hired for teaching," he said.

When the discussion turned to textbooks, Ola Mohajer explained that her focus wouldn't be on lowering textbook prices but encouraging alternative methods of delivering classroom materials through course packages and promoting online resources.

"The most important thing to me is affordability for students in terms of textbooks," Mohajer said.

Former Gauntlet production editor Christian Louden explained that his experience with the paper left him with a different viewpoint on how to help increase communication between the SU and the student body and ensure that doesn't involve, in his words, "wearing matching t-shirts."

"I think I'll bring a fresh perspective-- a critical perspective-- to things," explained Louden.

Schaloske, the only incumbent academic commissioner, stressed that her experience was beneficial to the organization and that she was willing to muck around in areas that others may fear to tread.

"I'm not afraid to go through policy," she said.

Pagan, a Gauntlet volunteer as well as the current humanities faculty representative, explained through a sign language interpreter how he wanted to create an open dialogue when it comes to teacher feedback.

"I think that having a USRI was effective, but is no longer effective for the student body," he explained.

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