THE SECOND DAY of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) executive debates was held Feb. 8 at the School of Information Technology and Engineering. The candidates for vp finance, vp university affairs, and president squared off for the responsive crowd. The debates where once again moderated by Mercedes Mueller, editor-in-chief of the Fulcrum, and Anaïs Elboujdaïni, editor-in-chief of La Rotonde.
Adam Gilani, running unopposed for the position of vp finance, stressed the importance of making a practical budget and keeping the SFUO accountable and transparent. Gilani said he had the necessary experience in managing large budget from his term as the president of the Muslim Students Association at the U of O.
He highlighted his campaign promises to make student businesses more profitable, specifically to offer barista and Smart Serve training at Café Alt and 1848. Gilani also said he is open to the idea of selling tobacco in the Pivik if that’s what students are looking for.
Vp university affairs
The race for vp university affairs is between Christopher Clarke and Liz Kessler, who is running for re-election.
Clarke opened the debate by claiming he wanted to stand up for students on campus, then standing from his chair and engaging the crowd with his ideas to initiate change on campus. Clarke said he wants to bring the Drop Fees campaign to campus in a local way, calling out University of Ottawa President Alan Rock to lower tuition on campus.
Kessler said she deserves a second term as vp university affairs for her work on implementing a strong anti-discrimination policy and improving the amount of input students have in Sports Services. Clarke had several problems answering questions posed in French, and had to ask to see a question on one occasion.
Both candidates agreed on maintaining the U-Pass and helping the Faculty of Health Sciences in their pursuit of a new building.
The most watched debate of the day featured Philippe Mulet, Ethan Plato, and Amalia Savva, facing off for the presidency of the SFUO.
Mulet opened by comparing himself to David fighting against issues on campus, which he presented as Goliaths, while Plato talked about getting students more engaged on campus. Savva said the work she has done this year warrants her re-election.
When asked what they thought about the current mental health initiatives at the university, Plato responded saying the process for seeing someone at the university was too slow.
“It could be very difficult for someone who is going through minor depression,” he said.
Savva reaffirmed her support for the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) during the debates, saying that the referendum that was passed by students to join the CFS in 2008 is still relevant.
“The that the federation brings forward are issues that come from students; they come from student unions themselves,” she said. “It’s a reality for students and it’s not outdated at all.”
Mulet, when asked if his lack of affiliations was hurting his chances at being elected, responded he believed it to be helping him.
“It demonstrates to the students that I am just a student like them—that I do not care about politics but only care about them, and everything I do will be with them in mind,” said Mulet.
Voting will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 14 and will end at 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, with executive results coming in later that night. For a full list of polling stations, visit Elections.sfuo.ca.