“I have heard what students want and they are #Hungry4Change. I have the experience to bring about #RealChange for you! I’ve been involved with social justice initiatives for 6 years, politics for 5 years, and BUSU for 4 years. I’ve been involved with 11 clubs, 3 clubs as an executive, BUSAC for almost 3 years, 6 BUSU Committees, OPIRG Brock Board of Directors, and more!
My platform has realistic achievable points such as:
• Tuition freeze for domestic and international students
• Free Online Textbooks for everyone
• OSAP Reform
• GO Train to Niagara
• Better Transit
• Sidewalks and Lighting on St. David’s Rd and Merrittville Hwy
I want the Advocacy Department to focus on the issues mentioned above but to also focus on:
• Mental Health
• Food Affordability
• Student Poverty
• Sexual Assault
I want to change BUSU and BUSU politics for the better and it all starts with one vote!”
January 29, 2015
To the best of your understanding, what is the role and responsibilities of the position of Vice President of External Affairs?
“The Vice-President of External Affairs’ job is to work with OUSA and CASA to lobby the provincial and federal governments on behalf of students, to write policy papers and participate in OUSA and CASA to push the student agenda forward. Also, the VPEA works with other executives to lobby the municipal and regional government. Another responsibility of the VPEA’s role is to sit on the External Affairs Committee and take guidance from both the committee and BUSAC on how best to implement policies and follow the bylaws. One final major aspect is running the Advocacy department: OUSA campaigns, partnerships with Niagara College and anything advocacy or external affairs related.”
In last year’s executive election, you ran for the position of BUSU President. Why this year have you decided to not run for President? And, why have you decided to run for VPEA?
“Last year I ran for president because I believed I would do the best job. This year, however, a lot of my ideas fell into other portfolios, specifically VPEA. Recently, I’ve seen a lack of organization and collaboration with students and student groups. That’s why, after consulting with multiple people about their ideas, I believe it’s my time to step up and run.”
Why do you believe you should be elected as VPEA?
“I believe I should be elected because I have experience with BUSU, various levels of government. I have a strong track record of transparency, openness and following through with what is right, and not necessarily doing what is in my best interests. This is a time of change for BUSU and I believe that I represent that change.”
If you needed to summarize your platform into three main issues at Brock that you believe need to be addressed, what would they be? How do you plan to address these issues?
1) “Advocacy: We need better organization when it comes to advocacy and reaching students. I will collaborate more with students groups and focus more on campaigns that benefit all students. Advocacy, as of late, has lacked in certain areas, I want to focus on some campaigns that would benefit the student body as a whole. Specifically, I think that student poverty is a huge issue, there have been a lot of problems with different organizations around the school and I believe BUSU needs to step up to the plate.”
2) “Affordability: I would say there are a lot of pocketbook issues facing students right now. I want to lobby for changes with OSAP, specifically in terms of loan repayment and making the 30 per cent off grant more accessible. Right now it can only be used by recent high school graduates, within a specific timeframe, which is a problem for mature students. Plus, the limit cap assumes that parents are helping their children with tuition, which isn’t true for financially independent students in many cases.”
3) “Social justice: There are a lot of social justice issues that affect students’ everyday lives. Food insecurity, poverty, discrimination and sexual assault seem to be major concerns.”
Last semester you, among two others, circulated a petition to recall three BUSU executives, one of which is the current VPEA. What would you do differently if elected?
“If elected, I would make a point at BUSAC and in my role in general that I encourage people to be critical of the work that I am doing. I want to people to hold me accountable to make sure that what I am doing is always in the best interest of the students. I will work with others, but healthy debate is also important, and something I would definitely encourage. If everyone is in one mind, it’s hard to be objective. I don’t want to create a culture of yes people, but instead a culture of doing things in the best interest for the students. Open office hours that anyone can attend, be they student, councillor or the press. It’ll allow students to directly approach an elected official to get their questions answered, and their ideas heard.”
You’ve been vocal in regards to BUSU’s membership in CASA in the past throughout your terms as BUSAC councillor, if elected VPEA, how will you address these concerns?
“I haven’t been critical of CASA as an organization, but rather the fee that we pay, specifically because it was implemented through two invalid referendums. BUSAC agreed to pay out of division one, which in my opinion, is money that could be going somewhere else. Students have not said we should be a part of the organization, which I believe should be corrected. CASA isn’t perfect, but I believe that we should bring back other universities that have left. I think it’s important if the students decide whether or not we are involved in CASA. That’s why i‘ve been petitioning for a referendum. CASA represents the students to politicians in Ottawa, everyone who represents anyone should be elected democratically, not just by one group of people.”
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