Last week’s SFSS debates kicked off not with a bang, but with a chuckle. At least, that’s what many in attendance were tweeting throughout both the at-large and faculty rep candidate debates held on March 19 and the executive candidate debates that happened the following day.
During what many in attendance — both in the West Mall atrium and via cyberspace — called some of the spiciest and juiciest SFSS debates they’d ever seen, candidates for each SFSS board position faced off in a conversational style debate.
The Wed. debates, held for the at-large and faculty rep candidates, began amiably, with candidates expressing their plans for the board should they be elected. The mood, however, began to turn as the Communication Art and Technology candidates, Natalie Cheung and Shirin Escarcha, took the stage. From that point on, the conversational nature of the debates became more heated, especially between candidates on opposing slates.
This year, candidates with self-proclaimed shared visions for the society joined together to form two different slates: ACE and Move the Mountain. Independent candidates also contributed to the lively dialogue happening on stage.
As the debates ran longer into the afternoon, those in attendance both jeered and cheered for the competing candidates. The battle truly came to a head, however, with the final debate between candidates for at-large reps.
One hot topic was that of the open textbook program, advocated for by candidate Jeremy Pearce. Pearce responded to candidate Humna Ahmad’s question about the program, saying that he has just become involved with it, but feels it is more accessible than giving students more bursaries.
Ahmad replied, “Bursaries are more than just funding textbooks. They’re there to support students’ lives.” After Ahmad cited statistics pertaining to the program, Pearce remarked, “I appreciate you incorporating statistics I gave you at the last debate.”
The tension of the moment was broken by candidate Baqar Hassan, who complimented fellow candidate Rebecca Langmead on her basketball skills.
It seemed the intensity would carry on into the executive debates, which occurred the following afternoon. The four and a half hour long debate went over time, but there was never a dull moment.
The proceedings started off on a light note as the VP, student life candidates introduced themselves. Candidate Kayode Fatoba demonstrated his rapping skills with original lyrics that had the room clapping along.
Topics under discussion pertained to bettering the student experience. Candidates also shared stories of their successes and failures. The idea of transparency was presented and became a recurring topic for the afternoon.
Those in attendance both jeered and cheered for the competing candidates.
“The SFSS is not very open, [. . .] I want to change this. A transparent student society is what we need,” said VP, student life candidate, Blossom Malham. Many candidates restated the claim that many students don’t even know SFU has a student society, let alone what it does.
The most talked about issue during the hour-long VP, finance, discussion was not only how to maintain the budget, but how to potentially increase revenue through avenues such as sponsorship and renting out spaces like the Highland Pub.
Several members from opposite slates argued about the importance of engaging students in SFU culture through throwing events, versus other issues that affect students, such affordable tuition and services like the Health and Dental Plan.
The most highly anticipated conversation of the event was between the presidential candidates. As with the Surrey all-candidates debates, only three out of the four were in attendance. There was much back and forth between opposing slate members, Chardaye Bueckert (Move the Mountain) and Brandon Chapman (ACE).
Bueckert brought up clear policy violations that have occurred in SFSS, while Chapman challenged her on having a negative attitude towards the current board. He said, “You blame the current board for its current situation.”
Chapman spoke to his slate’s mandate of cultivating a stronger sense of community on the principles of accountability and excellence. Bueckert emphasized a strong need for change within the society, saying, “Vote for who is going to represent you best.”
Meanwhile, presidential candidate Alexander Morris says he has a new perspective and a “fresh face” to offer to SFU students. His platform rests on promises of bringing free coffee to students, condensing similarly mandated clubs, and engaging every single member of the SFU community.
The so-called “spicy” debates that took place last week gave candidates the stage, but now the fate of the next SFSS board of directors rests in the hands of undergraduate students. Voting for the positions will take place between March 25 and 28.
At-large and faculty rep candidates debate
@PeakSFU: Betty closing statement: “By voting for Betty, you will bridge the gap between campuses.” #SFSSElection
@MereScientist: @PeakSFU If she’s going to bridge the gap, she should probably figure out which science DSUs are based out of Surrey, first. ^^;;
?@AnDum: “It’s another concert vs no concert year” – me, at last week’s debates #SFSSElection
@the_rianne Mar 19: Something funny over there, guys? #ace2014 #SFSSElection
@bwally_ : You can’t deny that genuine compassion fuelled from Shirin #sfsselection #ACE2014 #somuchenergy
@PeakSFU: Shadnam “You should vote for me because I actually show up for debates.” Akashdeep is absent #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Ben for Applied Sciences says he will not talk about what he would do if elected, but teach people new words #SFSSElection
@ChardayeB: I appreciate all candidates speaking, its not easy. Not sure why people in audience are laughing at folks #SFSSElection #movethemountain
@PeakSFU: Jeremy “Why can’t you have your cake and eat it too?” regarding throwing both large and small scale events #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Baqar compliments Rebecca on her basketball skills #SFSSElection
@AnDum: Candidates laughing or making fun of other candidates should not be running for office. You make the SFSS look bad. #SFSSElection
@natlamlam: @AnDum You should hv seen their faces when if you’re sitting out there as a candidate. It’s worst than just laughs #SFSSElection @PeakSFU
?@PeakSFU: Political animals, the SFSS candidates begin to chuckle and scoff at rival groups, comfortable in their natural environments #SFSSElection
@ManjotBadesha: I think this year’s #SFSSElection debates have been the most intense.
@PureEm: All of the at large reps have close friendships with the current board. So what new ideas are they actually bringing? #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Amir: “I’m not saying I can move the moon. I’m a problem solver.” #SFSSElection
@SheriffdeenM: @PeakSFU well there goes my vote #sfsselection. That thing keeps shining in my face when I’m trying to sleep.
Executive candidates debate
@PeakSFU: Kayode: “You could vote for this, or you could vote for that.” *audience is clapping, Kayode is rapping* #sfsselection
@alia724: These debates are a lot spicier than I remember. #lovingit #SFSSElection
@PureEm: Apparently the SFSS is about to become Groupon. With a student union building #sfsselection
@grahamc604: “What does your march madness bracket look like?” #sfsselection
@natlamlam: @PeakSFU pls tweet more. pleaseeeeee! ustream sucks. ppl are suffering. #SFSSElection
@maxjameshill: @PeakSFU Make sure to ask Alexander what colour the average #SFU Burnaby student is. #SFSSElection
@alia724: There’s a lot of concert talk. The important question here is, WHEN CAN THE SFSS GET A BEYONCÉ CONCERT?!?! #aimbiggerguys #SFSSElection
@JNLLBND: I want a concert everyday #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Spotted: Alexander in our favourite bow tie. #dapper #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Darwin: “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I feel very ready. I think this makes me a strong candidate.” #SFSSElection
@SheriffdeenM: @PeakSFU “in other news, Godzilla consults me on his workout regimen.” #sfsselection
@CarlinLeung: Heard that the #ACE2014 sat in the front row of the #SFSSElection debate and laughed at other candidates… #wtf @bchaps99 @SfssElections
@bchaps99: @CarlinLeung It’s been pretty quiet today, however if funny comments are made, the crowd reacts #SFSSElection
@alison_r: Actually kind of wishing I was at the #SFSSElection debate, @PeakSFU makes it sound so fun. #greatjobguys #proud @meliroach @Freyatron
@PeakSFU: Alexander: “Free coffee is about looking into the warmth of someone’s brown eyes.” #SFSSElection
@AnDum: Could use one of Alexander’s free coffees right about now. #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Chardaye: “Let’s talk about how all four presidential candidates are white. ” #SFSSElection
@hnguyendon: This #SFSSElection debate is gold. I don’t even go to SFU.
@PeakSFU: Brandon: I think we need to build on the community aspect before we focus on advocacy. #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Brandon on financial aid: I think the world is dog eat dog. #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Chardaye says to Brandon that students would disagree with the statement that “their need is not real.” #SFSSElection
@PeakSFU: Alexander makes plea that he “really needs this job” not like Brandon, “Mr. Goes to the Yacht Club.” #helpimpoor #SFSSElection
@Comicchild: @PeakSFU I am seriously poor. I’ve eaten cereal for the past week only. Cereal.