UMSU Election Forum

Students at the University of Manitoba had a chance to ask questions of the Moving Forward Slate, the only slate running in this year’s UMSU election, along with a representative from the Support The Manitoban Referendum on Feb. 25 in the fireplace lounge.

The first person to speak from the slate was presidential candidate Heather Laube who spoke of how the slate is going to be working specifically with students to try and bring positive changes around the U of M.

The second person to speak was the vice-president advocacy candidate, Murat Ates, who at first attempted a dance move, but failed to execute it properly. After this, Ates explained how he plans to continue to “build on existing services to really make UMSU work for the [students].” This includes a new program focused on helping students fill out forms involved with applying for bursaries and other scholarships, along with making sure exam schedules are posted earlier.

The next person to speak was Sheldon Gardiner, the Moving Forward vice-president external candidate, who told the crowd that accessible post-secondary education is one of the most pressing issues facing students, and that he intends to lobby against international student fees, as well as make the “two-toonie” lot return to costing $2 for a full day of parking.

Aisyah Abdkahar, who is running for vice-president internal, also listed off some of her plans and goals, touching on how the slate is moving towards a discrimination-free campus. She spoke of her plans to implement a drink- and take-out line at Degrees.

The last of the slate to speak was Matt Hepner, the candidate for vice-president student services. He talked about implementing school spirit by holding interfaculty competitions on campus, looking at the prospects of a U of M winter carnival and streamlining the way student groups access equipment and space.

Ryan Harby, a representative from the Manitoban, explained some of the services the Manitoban, provides and how the paper has not seen an increase in funding in 14 years.

The floor was then open to questions from students, some of which included asking the candidates about the decline of school spirit at the University of Manitoba, and what could be done to stop this decline.

Hepner responded to this question saying this problem was something he wanted to “attack and approach,” referring back to how the interfaculty competitions would be “one of the main ways that I believe people can boost school spirit. [ . . . ] Going to interfaculty events creates more community [ . . . ] and I think that’s exactly what we need.”

Ates and Abdkahar touched on this question, saying that the Moving Forward slate has the skills and experience to organize these events, and how international students could get involved.

Another question asked was why UMSU feels the federal government should to pay for education if it’s a choice and investment made by the student? Laube took this question for the Moving Forward slate, and said that she feels education is a right, and that students should have access to that right. Laube also touched on how she does appreciate the perspective of other students.

“I want to hear your perspective, I want to sit down at a table and see where you’re coming from, so this is definitely an opportunity where we can work together,” said Laube.

Ryan Harby from the Manitoban took two questions concerning the minimal use of the paper, and content published last year that was dubbed homophobic. Harby responded to these questions, saying that the paper is a forum for all students, and that concerns about the paper’s content can be brought to the staff, or even voiced within the pages of the publication.