On Wed., Feb. 5, SU vice-president external candidates Lauren Batiuk and Kari Doig participated in a candidate forum.
When asked about the three most important issues in the external portfolio, Batiuk mentioned tuition, student loan allowances, and parental contributions in student loans.
Doig also thought that tuition was an important issue.
"Differential tuition will increase students' burden," she declared. She also emphasized the role of garnering more money for post-secondary education in the Canada Health and Social Transfer (the federal transfer payment to social services) and student loan funding.
Although both candidates presented similar platforms focused on reforming student loans, battling differential tuition and tuition increases, Batiuk and Doig differed in their approaches.
Doig emphasized the benefits of the raising awareness in the general public. Batiuk thought it was more important to educate students on the issues.
"The greatest key to apathy is that the students aren't educated," Batiuk said. "There should be a lot more town halls."
Doig argued for a balanced lobby effort.
"We need to increase our voice on all levels," she said. Batiuk disagreed, saying that lobby efforts should all be focused on the provincial government.
As to student and public awareness and apathy, both Batiuk and Doig agreed that more media attention should be given to student issues, but they differed in their stances.
When asked about the Mullets Against Tuition Campaign, both candidates thought it was a good idea. Doig thought that media stunts were underutilized and under publicized. While Batiuk was enthusiastic, she was aware of potential problems.
"It's a great way to show what students are willing to do to get media attention, but we have to be careful that the message isn't lost," Batiuk cautioned.
After a five-minute introductory statement, candidates responded to questions from the audience as well as from a list. The forum ended with brief closing statements by each contender.