“The debate was really productive, it was a good opportunity for all the candidates to go for their issues,” said University Affairs Commissioner candidate Anton Neschadim.
Candidate Keith Ho said that the debate was mainly based on how candidates could help “improve engagement,” in order to “get people motivated through a series of new ideas and platforms.
Keith Ho wasn’t the only candidate to express feelings about the apparent lack of motivation to vote in the GSU election. “It really isn’t getting much support, if you look at the stats. Last year it was about three percent student turn out for the voting,” said candidate Ann McPherson.
Graduate students have been feeling the impact of reduced grant amounts, and increasingly competitive submissions for awards since the introduction of the Doctoral Thesis Completion Award. The award is highly competitive and sought-after, carrying with it a tenthousand dollar value. The award replaced the Doctoral Completion grant last year. Although the grant consisted of a smaller sum of money, about four-thousand dollars, it was available to four times as many students.
“One of the biggest things for the position of Internal and Finance Commissioner is transparency in GSU and whether or not they are able to reach the wider graduate student population,” said internal and Finance Commissioner candidate Ann McPherson.
“I felt this position was best suited for an outsider to actually criticize GSU’s current practices and make suggestions as to where it can be improved.”
Securing access to funding and establishing a transparent decision-making process is a vital goal for the union, which represents nearly 15 000 students. The GSU is aiming to be more progressive in its affairs with the university’s administrative body, in order to secure a long-term solution to this concern.
Voting takes place from March 22 to 24 for the election of candidates in the GSU. Graduate students will elect candidates for the positions of University Affairs Commissioner and Internal and Finance Commissioner.