*Please note that the followings represents the views of some of The Peak staff and do not reflect the views of the Peak Publications Society.
The Peak’s editorial staff submitted votes for their preferred executive candidates for the 2015 SFSS elections. After tallying the results and hearing various opinions, we have selected the following candidates, who we collectively feel are best suited for the positions.
Our pick: Zied Masmoudi
This year, we have five excellent and unique candidates running for the position of President
Johnny Aether was honest and respectful throughout the debates, but his lack of experience was a dealbreaker. Although Kayode Fatoba has a year of board experience as VP Student Life, some remain unsure whether he has the skills to manage the society. Fatoba’s relationship with current staff and board members and his $190 worth of campaign infractions were red flags.
Our runners-up were Enoch Weng and Erik Hadekaer, tied with three votes each out of 12. Weng is intelligent, friendly, and seems to have connections with many students, including those in the rotunda groups. Nevertheless, his optimism has also been perceived as naivete, and he seems to lack tangible SFSS experience.
Hadekaer is a joke candidate, except that he’s not. Beyond promises of ponies and Taco Tuesdays, Hadekaer has plenty of experience with student organizations and a calm, steady voice that would suit the leader of the board. His maturity would totally benefit him in the position, and his ideas around restructuring the work of the society to make it more efficient are great. The guy’s a radical, but in the best way.
Ultimately, though, the votes fell in Zied Masmoudi’s favour. As the current VP Student Services, Masmoudi has been an integral member of the SFSS and knows what it takes to ensure the society functions. He communicates his plans with clarity and confidence, and understands the limitations of the position. Although he may lack the charm of some of his fellow candidates, his experience and accomplishments speak for themselves.
VP Student Services:
Our pick: Darwin Binesh
Since the top priority for the VP Student Services is to ensure that services such as the health plan, transit, and food and beverage services operate smoothly, we chose the candidate with the most knowledge of society matters and student needs.
Most of the staff approved of Darwin Binesh. Speaking concisely and respectfully, his experience on the board this year worked to his advantage during debates.
Competitor Shery Alam lost some of the editors’ confidence when he asserted that all services are equally important, rather than prioritizing services that are more widely used by students. In contrast, Binesh highlighted the importance of ensuring the future of the U-Pass as we transition to the Compass Card.
Alam’s platform included bringing back the night line, a 24-hour confidential crisis line, and emphasized an appreciation for student feedback.
Binesh, on the other hand, wants to bring us into the “information age,” with a digital database of the society’s membership. He already has our vote, but we’d be even more impressed if he agreed to return to his former, ’90s-style hairstyle.
VP External Relations:
Our pick: Kathleen Yang
The VP External Relations race is probably the most competitive of the entire election.
Karan Thukral, a fourth-year business student, has got some excellent business credentials. Blossom Malhan has an extensive political academic background, having worked with BC Youth Parliament and a plethora of SFU clubs and events.
Arjan Mundy was our runner-up. He’s a likeable guy who seems truly dedicated to bringing together a strong community. His claim to “support innovation, engage community, and improve communication” is not hard to believe given his experience as president of SFU’s Tau Kappa Epsilon.
But Kathleen Yang wins due to her clear vision on where to focus her attention in the position. We noted her advocacy work and plan to involve herself with other universities’ board meetings to ensure that SFU is up-to-date on recent issues — something that we haven’t seen for quite a while. Yang knows who needs to be lobbied and where to find the important resources.
VP Student Life:
Our pick: Deepak Sharma
Have you seen Deepak Sharma’s smile? But it’s not just those pearly whites — Sharma was our clear winner because of his vast experience.
Currently sitting on the board of directors as the Sciences Representative, Sharma has worked with 11 DSUs and was influential in putting the referendum question to create a Faculty Science student union on the ballot, showing that he can already navigate the intimidating processes of the student society.
Despite also having lots of event organization experience, Hassan Liaquat is a little heavy on the buzzwords. While full of ideas, his unfamiliarity with the society shows through his lack of knowledge of current projects and procedures. Though we do like the platform point of “more puppy rooms.”
At the end of the day, Sharma’s experience makes him a safe choice. He’s got a great handle on what projects are possible within the position, and how to make those projects happen.
Our pick: Barbara Szymczyk
Ah, VP Finance — arguably the most thankless executive position of them all. Responsible for keeping track of the Society’s multi-million dollar finances, it takes a special kind of person to want to take on this role.
Both candidates running this year bring experience. Thakur is the current president of the SFU Entrepreneur’s Club, and he’s got plenty of business cred off-campus. He also wears the hell out of a suit.
However, many of us were turned off by Thakur’s flippancy and aggression in debates, as well as his unwillingness to send his platform to us for our elections issue. Despite his professionalism, he doesn’t seem like the right fit.
Barbara Szymczyk has more SFU-based experience, having been a Senator and an assistant for the SFU Food Bank. Her platform is also more geared to helping SFU students, noting that our money should be going to what we care about the most, and she displays a better understanding of the functions of the board.
Despite her nervousness during debates, Szymczyk is our pick.
VP University Relations:
Our pick: Brady Wallace
With the Build SFU project in trouble and the debate over international student tuition hikes going strong, it looks like the next VP University Relations will have a lot on their plate.
Joke candidate Ally Van Poa boasts a funny and incisive platform, but he lacks the necessary skills. Ali Najaf boasts an impressive list of accomplishments, including a role on the Senate, but his question-dodging in debates and unclear platform turned us off.
Our runner-up was Lia Fallah. Despite a lack of experience within SFU, Fallah boasts plenty of outside credentials, including volunteer work. She’s confident, well-spoken, and brings a lot of interesting ideas to the table, including a plan to gain formal recognition of the board from the university.
Ultimately, though, 10 of our 12 voters chose Brady Wallace as our ideal candidate. As the current FASS rep, Wallace has more experience with board. He also openly supports initiatives like the Food Bank, Open Textbook Project, and (ahem) Build SFU. He occasionally comes off as a little overenthusiastic, but there are worse things to be in this role. Wallace is our guy.