The various scandals that engulfed the University of Calgary this year loomed large at the presidential forum in MacHall. Candidates Nick Boots, Jordan Grant and Stephan Guscott squared off at a forum attended by roughly 40 students.
The first question posed by moderator and Students’ Union president Levi Nilson asked candidates to assess the SU’s handling of the MacHall ownership dispute.
All three candidates lauded the SU’s actions and vowed to continue fighting for the student centre.
Nilson’s second question focused on the university’s handling of the Enbridge affair and university president Elizabeth Cannon’s involvement.
Boots and Grant criticized the university’s handling of the issue. Guscott, however, said students should at least partially believe the independent review process that cleared Cannon.
Boots highlighted his consultation with 2,000 students and 300 clubs in deciding what areas to focus on.
“My platform is basically just an accumulation of feedback from students,” Boots said. “My priority is strengthening our spirit.”
Grant touted his plan to make the U of C a more entrepreneurial university.
“I want to help students who have ideas and skills to take their ideas and actually implement them,” Grant said.
Guscott’s main platform point centres on ensuring MacHall remains in the hands of the SU and working to make the U of C’s Board of Governors friendlier to students.
“This upcoming year there’s a lot of opportunities and it’s really important that we have an executive to take advantage of those opportunities,” Guscott said.
One of the forum’s more tense moments came during audience questions when an audience member confronted Boots about his Soviet-style campaign posters. The questioner called Boots’ posters offensive to those impacted by oppressive Soviet regimes.
Boots replied by saying communists had killed much of his family and that no candidate hates communists more than he does. He claimed his posters are meant to be light-hearted.
“That is something that if we can’t laugh at, we might as well cry at,” Boots said. “It’s not serious, it’s just a part of pop culture.”
Voting in the SU election starts tomorrow and runs until March 3.