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photo by Mico Mazza

Christopher Clarke

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Clarke: I’m running because I have an extreme interest in the position itself. Dealing with administration, appealing on students’ behalf, dealing with the Sandy Hill community action group [Action Sandy Hill], in specific. Also the U-Pass program, I believe I can improve that working alongside the city, get a better deal for students, stand up for students’ tuition fees, represent better campaigns—those are the main points.

What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish if you win?

Some of the main goals that I wish to accomplish would be re-gearing the Drop Fees campaign. I’d rather target, in specific, the [U of O] administration and have a large public campaign against them to decrease the rate at which tuition prices increase. Right now, they go up between five and eight per cent [annually], depending on your program, and I’d like to knock a few per cent off that.

Do you have any on-campus experience related to your position?

No on-campus experience. I do, however, work for the National Defence. I deal with French-language training over there, and I liaise with clients, make sure the program runs efficiently, stand up for issues that they have. I believe I can take that experience over here and improve student experience on campus.

This year, there’s a U-Pass referendum the students must vote on. What’s your stance on the U-Pass and how will you work to improve the program?

I believe the U-Pass is a crucial part of student life. First of all, it allows students to live further off-campus, decreasing the amount of rent they pay. However, the amount that we pay for it and the increases the city is proposing are unjust—the U-Pass problem is one of the higher priced programs in all Ontario.

I would like to see the city lock in on a multi-year agreement and a new price, and then negotiate the prices at the end of a three to four year term.

This position requires heavy collaboration with the administration. How will you ensure all student interests are represented?

I would make sure to bring up specific student issues, listen through social media what the major issues are, talk to people on campus, find out what their problems are, and address complaints brought up through the Student Appeal Centre with the necessary committees.

I’d work to find a reasonable compromise between the administration and the students and to have it benefit both, coming out with a positive outcome.

Give us a quote to remember you by.

“All we can do is decide what we’re going to do with the time that is given to us.” —J. R. R. Tolkien

Who are your favourite fictional hero and villain and why?

My [favourite] super villain is Darth Malak from Knights of the Old Republic, the video game. It’s an amazing game, I love it. I base all my characters off that game.

Superhero—I’m not too sure. Most of them are kind of corny. I have to say Optimus Prime; he saves the world, he’s got this wicked voice, he’s a pretty badass robot.

Elizabeth Kessler

photo by Mico Mazza

The Fulcrum: Why are you running?

Kessler: I am running because I want to continue to be an advocate for student rights on campus, to work on improving student representation, to make sure the student voices are heard in everything that happens on our campus, and ensure that the administration is held accountable to the students’ voices.

What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish if you win?

I want to continue the Drop Fees campaign. This year has been a big year in terms of making the National Day of Action happen. It’s going really well, and I want to continue that campaign.

[I want] to create a bill of rights for students in residence. Right now, students who live in residence are not covered by the Ontario Landlord and Tenants Act. They don’t have the same rights as other tenants in Ontario in terms of when your landlord can come into your house, privacy, what happens when there is damage. Right now, students are getting blamed for things living in residence that aren’t their fault.

Another project that I want to do is to improve the representation of part-time students. Right now … there are many different places [in administration] where students have voices on those committees in different ways, but in none of them are part-time students allowed to be at the table. We only get the perspective of students who are full time, and have more time to put into those kinds of things. Something that I want is to get a dialogue with the university going on how can we change that and make sure that part-time students are represented at the table. Those are just a couple of my projects.

Do you have any on-campus experience related to your position?

I was previously co-chair of a campus political club, and I used to be a member of Climate Justice Ottawa. I have already one year’s experience as vp university affairs of the SFUO.

This year, there’s a U-Pass referendum students must vote on. What’s your stance on the U-Pass and how will you work to improve the program?

My stance is that I want to see how students vote on this referendum. I think that it is a super important referendum, and my intention is to implement whatever students vote for.

If we vote “Yes,” we will implement the program and continue to improve it, and we’ll make it happen.

But if we do get a “no” vote, we should continue to work to improve transit services. I know that transit has been cut back to our campus this year, which is a really big problem for a lot of students, so I think that we should be working on improving transit—whether or not we have the U-Pass.

But if we do have the U-Pass, in terms of improving the program, I think that we can continue to look at which students should be exempt.

This position requires heavy collaboration with the administration. How will you ensure all student interests are represented?

I think holding more consultations with students is really important. We’ve had a couple of them this year, specifically on the harassment and discrimination policy, which was really useful and effective in showing the administration the number of opinions on the issue. So I think having more consultations with students and also improving the amount of representation we have on various Senate committees and things like that is very important.

Give us a quote to remember you by.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” —J. R. R. Tolkien

What’s your favourite fictional hero and villain and why?

I think my favourite hero is probably Hermione, from Harry Potter. I think because she’s smart and she has a very strong sense of right and wrong. She’s very much intellectual, and everything is about thinking something through, but she also has a heart.

And my favourite villain… I actually have no idea. I like more complicated villains that have reasoning behind what they do and are not just pure evil.