It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Students’ Union election is right around the corner and every year the Gauntlet puts together the fine SU election supplement that you’re holding in your hands right now. The supplement is made to inform students of who is running, what they hope to do if they’re elected and who we think is most likely to actually accomplish their goals.
We cleaned up the office, put on some clean shirts and invited all candidates with eyes on executive positions to make their case for this year’s election. After a five-minute platform pitch and a 10-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of Gauntlet staff, we put together these snack-sized profiles to help inform students on the election candidates.
It will be an interesting year for all incoming SU representatives. In early 2018, a long-awaited resolution to the MacHall ownership dispute was put forward, with the SU to take management and the University of Calgary to take ownership of the building on May 1. The need for a strong student government that’s ready to represent students’ interests on the Joint Liaison Committee — the committee that will be responsible for any future developments in MacHall — is more necessary than ever. In addition, Elizabeth Cannon has announced her resignation and will be on her way out on
Dec. 31. This rare combination offers the potential to set a new status quo for relations between the SU and administration.
We’re well aware that election time isn’t a joy for everyone. It’s impossible to walk to class without getting every meme-riddled election poster seared into the deepest parts of your brain and you’re probably not paying attention to every classroom pitch ahead of your morning lectures. While it can be annoying, SU elections have a significant impact on all U of C students whether you’re here for several more years or not. Electing competent officials to represent the student body deserves at least a day’s worth of attention every year.
Once you’ve read the Gauntlet candidate profiles, check out our endorsements and take the time to review every candidates’ platforms for yourself. We’re happy to help present you with as much information as we can but the choice will always be yours. Every platform is available on the SU website and every candidate is available during the campaign period to answer your questions themselves, so don’t hesitate to ask them anything.
So what next? Well, park yourself down and give this a read, then make sure you vote from March 6–8. You can vote online through your student centre or in-person via ballot boxes across campus.
The president is the leader of the Students’ Union. They have the most flexible portfolio, but are generally in charge of setting the direction of the organization. They also maintain official relations with the university, oversee the work of Students’ Legislative Council and vote on the Board of Governors. Look for an assured, pragmatic candidate who is aware of the challenges facing the SU.
Sagar Grewal – Acclaimed President
University of Calgary students should breathe a sigh of relief that if anyone is going to be acclaimed as president, it’s Sagar Grewal. The current kinesiology representative is well-prepared to competently and thoughtfully lead the organization next year.
As kinesiology representative, Grewal has shown that he is able to deliver meaningful accomplishments for students. In his first term as a faculty representative, he secured $450,000 in funding for study space renovations in the kinesiology complex and was named elected official of the year. His projects this year include launching a survey in his faculty for scholarships and creating gender-neutral change rooms in the Kinesiology complex.
Grewal’s platform points are safe and predictable. Firstly, with the conclusion of the MacHall dispute, Grewal believes the next steps for the SU’s involvement in the building are redevelopment. He wants to launch a new consultation for the building’s needs, as the last one was conducted in 2012. His goal with the building is to approach the issue of student space so students want to stay on campus after their classes are done, a solid approach that he’ll represent to the administration. Secondly, the SU president will be on the selection committee for the U of C’s new president following the resignation of Elizabeth Cannon. Grewal wants to ensure that the commitment to the student experience is a top priority for Cannon’s successor.
A key part of his platform is the revival of SU town halls at the beginning of the academic year. SU-hosted town halls have been noticeably absent for almost a decade and by reintroducing them, Grewal wants the event to allow executives to showcase their portfolios and present the SU’s annual plan. Though it may only be attended by the “hyper-engaged” — who probably know already what’s planned for the upcoming year — it’s a commendable effort to increase student engagement with the SU. This commitment to greater student involvement is also present in his plan to change membership in the Presidential Consultative Task Force from stakeholders of particular groups on campus to just students-at-large.
When asked what makes him best for the position, Grewal jokingly responded with “I applied.” He considered including reforming acclamations into a yes/no vote in his platform, saying that he’d “be more than happy” with a yes/no vote. Though we’re upset that we won’t be seeing his rumoured Drake-themed campaign this election season, we’re optimistic to see Grewal running through MacHall with his woes as SU president next year.
• SU kinesiology representative, 2017
• Recipient of the Students’ Legislative Council award
Check out our interview with Sagar Grewal: New SU president-elect talks acclamation and his would-be Drake campaign.