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MSU presidentials debate highlights The candidates discussed a number of issues, including the Ford government’s tuition changes and sexual violence response

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Photos by Kyle West

 

On Jan. 17, the McMaster Students’ Union hosted a debate featuring the 2019 MSU presidentials candidates four candidates. Here are some of the highlights.

The first question of the debate concerned whether the candidates are more focused on advocacy or student life.

Josh Marando said he would be more focused on advocacy.

Jeffery Campana explained that the limited one-year term of a president would mean smaller initiatives are more important to him.

The debate quickly turned to Ontario government’s decision to restrict Ontario Student Assistance Program grants and make some student fees optional, a move that was announced the morning of the debate.

Madison Wesley pointed to the announcement as proof of why advocacy is central to the MSU president’s role. Justin Lee and the other candidates were also quick to condemn the new changes.

When the topic reasserted itself later in the debate, Marando noted the need for students to be “prepared to mobilize.”

When candidates were asked to outline their main platform priority areas, Wesley pointed to the need for improved mental and physical health support systems, while Lee chose his “HSR Drivers Accountability” platform point.

Marando said he is focused on making students feel welcome, and Campana spoke about his plan to place free menstrual products in all-gender bathrooms.

On the subject of off-campus housing, all the candidates said they were in favour of the new MSU landlord rating system.

Marando pushed the need to continue supporting landlord licensing, while Wesley and Lee talked about continuing housing education programs for students.

The discussion became more heated when candidates were asked to critique an opponent’s platform point.

Marando pointed to the logistics of Campana’s on-campus ice rink proposal.

Campana, Lee and Wesley criticized Marando’s proposed increase of the maintenance budget and various advocacy goals.

One audience member asked how the candidates would increase campus safety.

Ideas ranged from Wesley’s call for improved police response to the need to upgrade lighting and fix emergency poles on campus, put forth by Campana and Lee, respectively.

When asked about sexual violence on campus, all of the candidates agreed that training for students, Welcome Week reps and staff needs improvement.

Marando pointed out that none of the other candidates’ platforms addressed sexual violence.

Campana countered by saying that the issue could not be fixed in a one-year term.

The candidates were also given the opportunity to explain what made them unique.

Marando cited his comprehensive MSU experience. Campana did the same while stressing his experiences outside the MSU.

While acknowledging their relative inexperience, Lee and Wesley stressed the creativity of their platform and noted that they represent the only ethnic minority candidate and only female candidate, respectively.

The full debate can be found on the MSU Facebook page.

 

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Author: Ryan Tse

Ryan Tse is a second year Arts and Science student. In his free time, he enjoys cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs, drinking coffee, reading articles in The Athletic and listening to all kinds of music. He spends most of his time in HSL and BSB.