And we continue…
I liveblogged the rest of the presidential debate once Eric had to leave. I’ll admit, mine is a little less in depth… but alas, I am not Eric Snow.
And we continue…
As Eric mentioned, Will Demers questions how Greg (and then reluctantly included the other two candidates) will combat the aura of arrogance that comes with the role of the presidency (or something to that effect… I think I somehow found his question in the midst of HIS arrogance. He decided to soapbox his distaste for the current President in a completely unprofessional manner.)
Greg says that the stagnant air among the student body is the issue. Students have no reason to get involved and therefore chose not to. The executive are inaccessible in their offices (damn, those pesky stairs and elevators!).
Chris never tries to make decisions on his own and looks for input. All university students are leaders with valuable insights and he hopes that students see that he wants to talk to people. He doesn’t want to close himself off or give an aura of arrogance, he’s working for students, not for himself.
Bailey says that transparency is essential and he’s quite serious when he says he’ll hold office hours outside the 9-5. Essentially, he’ll walk the walk and get to know people – he wants to appreciate the students. If you care, they’ll care. “Nothing can replace caring.”
Greg says that we get rid of the arrogance by being human. His girlfriend is witness to his random encounters with random students.
Chris believes he’ll bring a certain humanity to the office. That’s why he’s here.
Neil thought he already had a rebuttal. He thinks that a good leader can avoid arrogance by realizing that the power you have comes from the people.
Mike Cadeskey didn’t ask a question.
A female student asks the following… “I’m a member of a competitive society and I’ve seen our success be hindered by lack of funds. How can we let our societies reach their full potential without the proper funding?” (or something to this effect)
Chris: There is a lot of funding available to students that they don’t know about. (That’s pretty much all he said throughout the entire two minutes)
Neil: I think there are a lot of opportunities already available for funding and the DSU needs to be better in sharing this information. Communication errors are fundamental to fixing this issue. I’m not sure how to discuss more money in the future. Inspiration and passion can build the foundation here so we can fund and support these ideas. Short term communication is key!
Greg asks what kind of society she is in and how much she needs. He says he needs to know more about the situation to answer the question. He says that if you just need a few hundred bucks, he’ll cut councils budget for you. If you need more than that, he’ll build a business within the union where a) students shovel driveways to raise money for your society or b) overall society drives “kinda like whatever that thing is called… Shinerama or whatever” downtown because we should do it for all societies, not just Shinerama.
Chris says that a lot of major Ontario Universities get sponsorship from the community and maybe we could work towards a sponsorship program like that.
Neil says we have a sense of entitlement and focus disproportionately on going away and looking outside the local. We are going off to do AIDS work in Africa but we have issues here too! Homeless people live in Halifax too!
Greg says Neil is off topic. Instead we should cut budgets or start student labour.
Rob Leforte asks about the DFA and potential for a faculty strike on campus and how the future presidential would handle it.
Neil is clearly caught off guard. He has taught English as a second language before so maybe he could step in (oh ha ha!). This is a problem that he would adamantly attack before it got to this point.
Greg would take a student survey to find out who the bad guys are in this scenario. He would promote students getting in front of the Hicks and supporting the faculty. The government doesn’t want protest, the Administration doesn’t either. (No one wants chaos so chaos is the answer!)
Chris says that if it gets to this point, he would ensure students can continue to learn and discuss with TAs and upper level students so they could coordinate tutoring sessions.
Neil definitely, obviously, would call a meeting. He would get together with the people you’re connected to and would come up with a solution.
Greg basically said if his first option didn’t work, he would let someone else decide how to handle it.
Chris would look to create a smooth negotiation process.
A gentleman from the audience asked about the negative stereotypes that surround fraternities and how the future president may attempt to combat that and work with the fraternities.
I think Greg just said Hobbs has no friends. He said that Hobbs has a secret fraternity with a few people… or something like that. Then he said “I’m sorry, brother, fraternities are no different because they get ignored by the DSU because they don’t wanna deal with you. That’s my two cents.”
Chris says that he’s surrounded by people in fraternities, he’s seen the work they do and it is good work. He wants to work with them.
[At this point, I had to run to the bathroom... so Kris Osmond recapped Bailey's response.]
Neil doesn’t know much about them specifically, but the negative stereotypes aren’t necessarily true anymore and if they’re working hard in charitable ways – they should be more engaged with the DSU.
Emily Rideout asked a question about Sustainability, but Kris was eating nachos and forgot to remember. I’ll write about the rebuttal which I witnessed. (Sorry Emily!)
Chris says he’s excited about a green audit of the SUB by Sustainability Office with the University. He wants to act on these recommendations.
Neil says that we can’t treat sustainability as an achievement or a goal to be “more sustainable”. It’s about being sustainable period. Sustainability is about ensuring that our world can support itself.
Greg says that we need power! we need electricity! we need paper!
Greg says that he’s fearless. He has no problem in crowds. He’s shameless. He has no problem walking up to complete strangers. His Econ prof is here so he obviously knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing this for four years, and to date, he is the only candidate to keep his election promise: to run consistently until he sees change.
Chris doesn’t want to think about the hours he’s put into student issues. He hasn’t been on the stage yelling, he’s been in the background doing. He has perfect attendance at council and has an 8 page platform. He wants you to give him a chance to accomplish what he wants to do.
Neil thanks everyone for being here. Truly. Really. Truly he had no idea he’d be here. He really believes the outgoing exec has done a great job but the issues aren’t always about who is involved but more how we involve ourselves. He truly has complete faith in Dalhousie being the best university in Canada. He really knows about the fundamentals of constitutions, planning and he promises to work his ass off to be your president. He truly does not feel entitled and is absolutely thankful to be here right now.
The debate ends cordially and the candidates shake hands and exit the stage. Sadly, Debo did not proceed to down shots of Grey Goose followed by the chugging of a Corona.
- – -
Saulnier, the consistent politician, answered each question with formulaic response incorporating as many traditional election promises as possible. Minutes, sustainability, communication, tireless action, engagement, service improvement and hardwork – you know, the usual. I didn’t hear anything from him that I hadn’t already heard from Zimmerman, Larkin, Tipping…. you get the idea.
Bailey is an honest man. REALLY. He “truly”, “really”, “honestly”, “absolutely” means everything he says. His answers were up front. He also seemed to blend the ideas of the two other candidates (a radical/rational actor, if y0u will). It didn’t feel like he did a lot of research for this but he does say thank you a lot, so kudos for politeness. I will add that I like his suggestion of incorporating an academic hub into the master plan for campus.
Originally, I thought Debogorski had a pretty solid platform this year. He looked like he had put some time and effort into his campaign for once. After hearing him speak, however, I have realized he has no idea how the union is run or how it can be operated in the future. Cut budgets to give random student societies money? (Aren’t those called grants?) Enlist student labour to increase revenue? Monthly online referenda to “unbog” council’s agenda? Hand delivering letters of interest to random students? … Is this some kind of Canadian joke, sir?
Saulnier’s demeanor was extremely professional and in even rebuttal, he was polite and conscious of the ideas and answers of the other candidates. He handled himself quite well. Bailey was earnest, approachable and jovial on stage – often making jokes with a big smile on his face. Debogorski was nothing short of abrupt and rude. He left the stage in the middle of another candidate’s response, raised his eyebrows and made faces while other candidate’s were speaking, spoke back to the moderator and leaned against the wall with his arms folded. None of this screams “approachable” or “accessible” to me.
I, personally, didn’t learn anything yesterday I didn’t already know: Saulnier is professional and will maintain the status quo, Bailey is candid and but has a few fresh ideas, and Debogorski remains demonstrative and aggressive.
Just to add “my two cents”, as both Snow and Debo would say, I took some serious offense to one of the remarks made yesterday during the debate. Debogorski called our Student Union “a joke”, and although Saulnier disagreed, Bailey made a remark to the likes of “the Union is sort of a joke”.
A joke? Really? I understand that not every student knows exactly what the union does and maybe not everyone frequents the SUB, but we are far from a joke. We’re a committed core of passionate and involved students eager to create a better life for Dalhousie students. I’m appalled that two of the three candidates running for PRESIDENT would even make light of a title such as “joke” being labelled to their potential future.
Yes, the Union may need work and yes, more students could certainly be involved, but come on, man. I get the idea of wanting to make change, but have a little pride. You didn’t see Obama out there spouting “Yo, America is a shithole.” then trying to change it.