Meet STUSU presidential candidates

Power pushes for positivity. Youngest candidate disagrees with decision that excludes under-19s from voting on union (Cara Smith/AQ)
Power pushes for positivity. Youngest candidate disagrees with decision that excludes under-19s from voting on union (Cara Smith/AQ)

Dallas Power

Dallas Power graduated from high school at 16 years old, making him the youngest STUSU presidential candidate. Despite this, the third-year psychology student says he has the leadership experience necessary to provide transparency and positivity within the students’ union.

“I would be coming into this role with an open mind, without the worry of pre-existing relationships, dramas, or the like. I would strive to make meetings as positive and productive as possible.”

While Power has never been on the students’ union, he has been involved in two leadership conferences, one in Nova Scotia and another in Alberta. Since coming to STU he has kept involved. He was the environment and nutrition representative for Chatham Hall in his second year. He also was part of the Welcome Week executive which planned and ran Welcome Week this fall.

“I think I could handle things in a really positive way, and I think that’s important. Students need someone they can come to and something I’ve found with the student’s union since I’ve been here is that I haven’t found that they’ve
been overly approachable. I want to be that type of person who’s easy to approach, and overall I just really want to make sure the students are aware of the students’ union’s presence at the school.”

Power’s electoral platform includes a Frost Week, increasing transparency in the union, creating a composting program, addressing residence concerns, and increasing accessibility.

“I mentioned having a Frost Week second semester just to increase morale. I don’t like winter, but I think I could like winter if we had something like that going on.”

It would include inexpensive activities like sledding, skating, or hot chocolate socials.

Having grown up in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Power says he was surprised by the lack of garbage sorting in New Brunswick. He wants to change that with a composting program at STU.

The STUSU voted this year to change the union to a Board of Directors which under the Companies Act doesn’t allow for those under 19 to be voting members.

Power only turned 19 in October of his third year.

“I don’t agree with it to be entirely honest. If I wanted to run for a position like this or anything on the students’ union, I was 17 in my first year and some of my second year as well so that would have been awful.

I couldn’t have run for anything until this year.”

He says there was a girl who wanted to run for off-campus rep and couldn’t because she won’t be 19 in time.

Power says every campus organization should be treated with respect.

“It would be my goal to establish and maintain positive and harmonious relationships with the associations and societies at STU during the school year. After all, the journalists of The Aquinian are first and foremost students here as well.”

Power says his hobbies include listening to music, shopping, and going for walks with his dog back home.

“If you’ve known me in my first year compared to how you know me now, I feel like I’ve grown up a lot.”

 

Hoben running on record. One that includes executive reform, loss of voting rights and confrontation with the AQ (Cara Smith/AQ)
Hoben running on record. One that includes executive reform, loss of voting rights and confrontation with the AQ (Cara Smith/AQ)

John Hoben

STUSU President John Hoben is running for re-election on the promise of experience and expertise. Hoben says he’s already done the job, won’t have to face a learning curve and can hit the ground running on May 1.

“I ran last year because I felt there were a lot of issues with it and I felt that I was the best person to handle
it. I’ve got a lot of business sense and marketing skills that really apply to the job.”

Hoben’s year in office has not been quiet. It started with the firing of the chief returning officer and resignation
of the VP of student life, and included a controversial constitutional change that resulted in the stripping of voting rights on the STUSU of members under 19. It was also marked by a long-running conflict with The Aquinian that ended in
STUSU voting not to run the student newspaper’s Board of Directors election.

The paper had refused to sign a contract mandating a students’ union column in the AQ.

The fourth-year student is majoring in political science, history, and international relations. Before becoming
president, Hoben was an off-campus rep on the union and the VP internal.

Hoben says if there’s been a theme to his first term, it’s re-building.

“The difference this year from previous years is yes, we don’t agree on everything, but it’s also been a polite disagreement. No one’s calling each other an asshole in a meeting.”

One of Hoben’s biggest concerns for next year is the NBSA (New Brunswick Student Alliance) because if it falls apart, it would leave New Brunswick as the only province with more than one university without a provincial student group. He says an effective student group is crucial when fighting against cuts to university funding.

“Honestly, I don’t think there will be an NBSA at the end of next year if anyone but me is elected because that is an organization that’s falling apart and right now I’m the only member of the board of that organization that’s running for re-election.”

He also wants to focus on the budgetary negotiations for the union’s employees so there aren’t any excessive wage increases. The union’s employees are 42 per cent of the budget.

Hoben says another big issue for next year is the possibility of a strike.

“The university faculty association’s collective agreement is set to expire in June, creating the threat of a strike.

And with that I don’t want to take a side but we need to be prepared and we need to make sure students are at the table for that discussion.”

Hoben is promising a fall reading week and says he knows the proper channels to make it happen.

He also wants to improve communication by creating an additional communications coordinator. He says the union also needs access to a policy and research officer to provide accurate advocacy.

Hoben promised last year to create an online bookstore and to have cooperation on council. The online bookstore was created in the fall.

The union held the first Tommyfest last fall, with Hey Rosetta! as the inaugural performer. Hoben also put forward a new council structure, one which was approved by council after months of deliberation. The biggest change is it will make the union a Board of Directors, something which prohibits those under 19 from becoming voting members.

“The promises I made last year I’ve kept which is something I’m really proud of.”

Most recently, Hoben suspended the bylaw requiring the union to run The Aquinian’s board of directors elections
after The Aquinian declined to meet to negotiate a contract giving the union a column.

“I’d rather take a stand for something and be judged for it than duck the tough issues and accomplish nothing.

 

Murphy stresses communication, collaboration. Candidate wants to change STUSU’s ‘rubber-stamping’ culture and rash decision-making (Cara Smith/AQ)
Murphy stresses communication, collaboration. Candidate wants to change STUSU’s ‘rubber-stamping’ culture and rash decision-making (Cara Smith/AQ)

Elizabeth Murphy

If Elizabeth Murphy is elected as next year’s STUSU president she says she will focus on more campus events and helping students to find jobs after graduation.

“The two primary concerns of students now are finances and what are we going to do with this degree afterwards.”

Murphy wants to increase the alumni presence on campus and build on networking opportunities.

She says she knows she can work with the administration to host these events.

“Our priorities should be different. It has been cited that this year has been a building year but I think every year is a fresh start. To say that this year was only used for building, it’s not what should have been done. I felt that there was too much focus on external advocacy.”

The third-year political science and communications major travelled to STU’s sister school in Houston last winter. She also was the president of her high school’s student council and sat on the Education Council for District 8. She is currently a Board of Governors representative on the STUSU, a non-voting position.

If elected, she says she doesn’t want any “rubber-stamping” on the union so that everyone is comfortable sharing their views at meetings. She also says she will take plenty of time to make decisions.

“What sets me apart is definitely my ability to network with people on campus and off-campus and certainly I’m coming at this with the angle that I want to collaborate.”

The Saint John native says she always thought about running for STUSU president. The people who came up to her months ago, urging her to run, eventually influenced her decision to throw her hat into the race.

Another factor in her decision was her feeling things weren’t run smoothly, like communications which “really dropped the ball this year by not making use of our resources and our communications coordinator to their fullest extent.”

She says the union can’t risk getting rid of the emergency bursaries program.

“We can’t say to students at one point that we are going to fight for them for lower tuition or to keep it the same and then turn around and say but we’re going to get rid of our emergency bursary program.”

Murphy says for years student groups and groups from the university have been going to the government about funding issues but they’ve never gone together. She wants to change this.

“We’ve had the government agree with us that it’s unfair, that there’s a discrepancy. They know that, we know that. But they’re not willing to do anything about it because there’s not more people coming to talk to them, there’s not a bigger voice.”

Murphy also included in her platform her plan to run workshops to integrate new council members, update the STUSU website, publish a monthly newsletter, run Winter Welcome Week, and create a comprehensive review of privacy issues for online voting.

“I didn’t like the way things were done this year and I think I could do a better job.”

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • R Smith

    Everyone keeps saying all the constitutional change did was strip minors of their voting rights. It also ensured that we could never have another SEC make a decision without being accountable to the SRC (ex. Employees Collective Agreement), which oddly enough hasn’t been mentioned in any coverage.

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