Capilano students head to polls on Students’ Union representatives
On March 15, 16, and 17 students at Capilano University will be able to vote for their representatives at the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU). Several positions have contested elections, giving students at the University a choice of representation in through students’ union.
Issues at stake make a difference to students’ pocketbook
The CSU election has both a direct and indirect impact on students’ pocketbook. Both internal issues at the students’ union and external challenges off campus impact the University community.
Elected representative pay
CSU Vice Presidents make a whopping $1,300 per month on the board of directors. This means that Capilano students pay $62,400 to the four executives alone. All together, the directors of the students’ union make $139,200 combined. Students should be sure they’re happy with what the CSU does for them, or demand more of the students’ union, before and after they go to vote.
Students’ union building
The Capilano Students’ Union is currently in the process of planning for the construction of a student union building on campus. As a part of this process, Stantec Architecture was contracted to develop building plans. Most students on campus now will not be students when the project is completed, but the CSU representatives elected now will have an impact on the end result.
The CSU is planning for the new building despite having a newly renovated student lounge in the Maple building, as well as an existing student union building.
Education issues and tuition
Students at Capilano University rely on the CSU to represent them to the provincial and federal government when it comes to education issues and tuition. Currently, the BC Liberals are being criticized for possibly increasing tuition fees beyond the cap that was in place. If tuition fees go up, it could have a big impact on Capilano students.
The CSU is one of the few students’ unions holding onto hope for the mostly dysfunctional Alliance of British Columbia Students (ABCS), which it help create. Representatives of the CSU have held various positions in the ABCS, but very little about this work is effectively communicated to students. If the ABCS is to continue as a provincial student group, students at Capilano have to choose representatives that are interested and active.
Candidates come from various backgrounds
Two candidates are running for Vice President External, current Vice President University Relations and Services Sacha Fabry and Kevin Khamseh.
Fabry says this in his candidate statement:
“In this role, I’ve been successful in building and maintain good working relationships with all stakeholder groups throughout Capilano University and have used those relationships to further projects that support students. If elected to the position of VP External, I’ll use those skills to leverage government on projects like student housing, support for post-secondary institutions and advocate for student’s interests.“
While Fabry touts his relationships and experience, he is currently the Director of Campaigns for the Alliance of British Columbia Students. Despite being on the board of directors of the ABCS, Fabry has been unable to bring stability to that organisation. Membership in the ABCS is shrinking quickly, and if it is to right itself it will need directors who are able to do that. The Campaigns section of the ABCS website only has two old posters and nearly no information. It isn’t just impressive to be a part of a provincial group, CSU representatives have to do something with that opportunity.
image from the website of the Alliance of British Columbia Students
Unfortunately, Kevin Khamseh did not submit a candidate statement to the CSU. His LinkedIn profile describes him as:
“I am an extrovert individual with creative attributes. My core areas of interest are mainly politics and economics. It’s very clear that business and economics, are deeply connected with our environment that we live; in the 21st century. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand that climate change is real and happening. I’m confident that by integrating the two in my future endeavours, I can be an important asset to any business.“
Vice President Internal Development
The only other contested executive position on the CSU board of directors is the Vice President Internal Development. Amina Mantari and Farhood Fadaghi are both running to take the position, both with candidate statements available for students to read.
Mantari’s candidate statement suggests a wealth of experience in human resource management:
“I have three years of diverse Human Resources experience that spans start-ups and established organizations. I have extensive hands-on experience with accounting and leading HR initiatives, including policy design, compensation, performance management, recruiting, compliance reporting, and HR workflow development. My passions include employing student talent and inspiring students to participate in a vibrant study life where the spirit of diversity can flourish. Currently, I am the president of Capilano HRMA and I’m a BBA candidate majoring in Human Resources.“
This is all well and good, but it speaks very little to Mantari’s plans if elected. The opposite is true of Fadaghi, who says:
“…plan to address issues that impact students on a regular basis such as the U-Pass, campus wide events and financial aids. Specializing in accounting, coupled with extensive work experience, utilizing the necessary skills in this new work environment will come readily and effortlessly. In addition, I have learned how to manage, lead and evaluate performance measures in order to meet deadlines. Lastly, my ability to plan ahead and tailor make decisions for each matter will surely bring peace of mind to all students, validating the choice they have made.“
The U-Pass program is exceptionally important at a commuter campus, and Capilano students rely on it. Electing a representative that is thinking forward about the program means less time training and more time for action on their part.
Faculty representatives, Coordinators, and Liaisons
There are several other contested races for CSU positions representing specific demographics on campus. Students in those programs and constituencies should take the time to see out candidates and ask the their priorities. Even if the position does specifically speak to a given issue, all CSU directors are equally responsible to the students of Capilano University. If you want the CSU to fight for lower tuition fees or better education, demand it of your candidates.