Razan Qaoud – President
What are you going to add to the current SLC expansion plan?
Right now everything that has been set as of my knowledge is just like lounge space. Everything else is still undetermined. Something that I really want to add is more like study rooms for groups sessions because it is really hard to find a place to have a quiet group meeting on campus and that’s something I am sure everyone would appreciate.
How do you plan on balancing the expenses of replacing Feds’ logos and implementing rest areas on campus?
My main issue with my attempt with doing that was just to create more school spirit. And that was just the idea I included in the platform, I wasn’t like 100 per cent thinking about it. But now that I am thinking about it, it is really hard to rebrand and like redesign everything, like re-logo it … I don’t think it is an important issue right now and it’s not something I want to focus on, even though I did include it in my platform … that probably makes me sound really bad, but sure if it’s something immediate than I really want to do it because it would create a much more positive school spirit and experience because all the people right now hate Feds… Just being aware and being engaged of like what Feds is and what we do and actually updating the website is probably more of a concern than updating the logo.
But the implementing of rest areas on campus, how would you go about that?
Rest areas … it is just more like lounge areas. So it is going to happen with the extension, with the expansion.
Would they have it indoors or outdoors because on your platform it said…
I wanted both because I feel like we have such a beautiful campus. We need more picnic tables and more benches here and there where people can actually go sit as a group.
Do you know how you’d go across doing that?
After like looking at the map, I realized it is probably going to be difficult to fit something like that on campus, but the school has bought a lot of property … way out that’s not being used right now and that’s something that we can definitely look into.
What is your main priority in terms of advocating for students?
I just really want everyone’s voice to be heard. We are the people’s voice obviously. But one of the issues people have with Feds is like Feds doesn’t really care about us they do what they think is best and they don’t take in our opinion. And that’s something I really want to change, I want Feds to be a positive thing on campus.
How would you advocate their priorities?
What do you mean by advocate?
Basically, in the role as president you advocate for students by participating in campaigns that they want, talking to the university bureaucracy to make changes. So just in terms of that, what exactly would you do?
As president I will be attending a lot of the board meetings and like all that stuff by making that transparent. I feel like that on its own will speak a lot to allow students to come in and put their voice and I also want to freeze tuition. I think that’s a big one everyone has been agreeing on because it is ridiculous how expensive it is getting. I think I pay the second most expensive tuition on campus… I can’t promise a lot right now because I don’t know, like once again like Chris, he knows all this stuff and I am still very new to this kind of role and position and new to politics.
Jeremy Spira – VPOF
How do you plan to reduce student contribution to the SLC expansion cost?
I’m going to look into some sponsorship opportunities. Currently it’s hard to really know without digging through the contract and looking through the legal language … and what we can figure out and where there’s some wiggle room. But, in my mind, what I’ve done in the past, I think sponsorship is always a good opportunity to help reduce the cost. And also create some more value for the students.
How do you plan to bridge Feds’ commercial services with non-Feds’ commercial services and other services in the surrounding area?
I think that really comes from talking to people, listening to people. Kind of my conflict resolution background could really come in handy and figuring out what makes each tick and what each enjoyable. They’re similar services in a sense and they’re both providing food for students. And affordable and healthy and fresh and all those fun sort of stuff. So it’ll be looking at both and seeing how they can work together more effectively than they already are.
How do you plan on improving the transparency of how student’s contributions affect the university’s operating budget? Students haven’t had like great communication when it comes for Feds funding on operating budget, for instance, 2014 I think, the Mappedin kiosks happened, and nobody really knew about it until a little later on. How do you think something like that can be improved?
I think that goes to the fundamental core of People’s Voice. What we’ve found is, technically Feds doesn’t do anything illegal. The problem is that there’s so low buy-in, nobody knows it happens until it’s on campus and it’s too late to do anything … I’ve been talking to engineering students [who] traditionally have been the most opposed to Feds, and really trying to make sure that people know about what’s going on. And then they can have their voice, because once you know the information, I’m a marketing student, a person of marketing, you know, it has to always be a multi-prong approach to giving people information so social media is a great one, in person is a great one.
Kinsey Schurm- VPED
What will be your priorities in terms of lobbying for greater funding? Are you lobbying for a tuition freeze or lower tuition?
I think, first things first, we need to freeze tuition … so with regards to what Stephane has done and what I hope I will do, if elected to office, will be working with fellow student unions as well as OUSA and contacts in government so that we can make that happen … We can lower the rise of tuition and ultimately freeze it. Once it’s frozen … the argument I’ll be making, [is] that UW provides some of the best students in all fields and those students go on through co-op and other opportunities to make Ontario and Canada a very very great place to live. First and foremost, they put a lot into Canada. And I think because of that … we deserve more. I know it sounds selfish … on behalf of students at UW, we want lower tuition, that’s just how it is. And I think money could be earmarked … to lower our tuition … which in turn would allow for more students to enter UW and go through coop or go through [the] regular stream [and through taxes after graduation] to give back. Short term deficit for a long term profit.
What is your action plan in terms of opening discussion with the Provincial Legislature?
I would probably begin by speaking to all three leaders of all three parties … focusing on … [Premier] Kathleen Wynne. I know her personal scheduler, I am sure I could work something out so I could speak to her. [I am also planning on] working together with other lobbying groups which share some of our values. [The] provincial government wants students to go through school. They want them to have an easier time to get to post-secondary education without too much financial burden. So with that once you open those arguments with the Conservative party, with the Liberal party, as well as the NDP, [and] come to the conclusion to that working together is an all-partisan issue. Once you have the liberals and the conservatives on board, where most of my contacts remain to be truthful with you, people come on board … once everyone is on board that should be easy.
How will you be advocating for fairer tuition rates, especially given the 9% increase that international students will face?
My role is kind of redundant, in that we constantly do the same thing. I think [international tuition] should be frozen firstly … The best and brightest come here … and I think people realize that. The international students we have, they bring capital in, they bring both intellectual and financial capital … these people come here because we are the best and if you’re raising tuition by nine per cent every year, at a certain point, it might be beneficial now, but you’re going to start cutting people off … and I’d rather them come here.
At the Board of Governors Meeting, UW VP explained that the reasoning behind 9% increase, international students already have the money to support themselves. Can you elaborate.
As you keep increasing by 9%, there will be a certain point where international students won’t be able to come anymore. Obviously there are international students who are very wealthy … but when you start to see a massive drop-off …, do we scale [tuition] back by nine per cent? I don’t think that’s fair. I think what we have now it’s already expensive enough.
Will you be taking up a position on the OUSA Time Out campaign?
Personally, I’m marginally interested and I’ll look more into it … as it stands now … we’ll have to work with them on campaign … I will look into it more.
What is your vision for increasing accessibility?
There’s a lot of money that is earmarked provincially for things such as anti-poverty … or accessibility. So [the] main thing is the washrooms … we need to have more gender neutral washrooms and that’s a big thing right now. The fact that there [are] few available, that’s got to change, and there’s the money available for the province but we haven’t asked for it… I plan on doing that. We have very limited money [for the foodbank]. There are anti-poverty initiatives that we can tap [into from the provincial government] that we can ask for [and] not just the food bank, we can start up different initiatives … clothing for example. Those things are available … the province has made it a big goal for itself. They have the money, the bursaries, and the funding and [using them is] my goal.
VPIN Candidate Amanda Fiorini was unable to be interviewed due to recent health issues.