During this USC election, each slate has said the biggest problem facing the organization is disengagement. Two teams offer different paths: Is the solution a series of bold policy changes or a plan to reach out to more students?
Team DiBrina comes to the table with plenty of experience and a series of plans that offer real change. Despite this, the slate has been unable to assert itself as successfully as many would’ve expected at the beginning of the campaign.
Then we have Team Tobi who bring a lot of positive energy to the election with two personable candidates. But their platform isn’t the most original and maintains the status quo of past USC slates.
Team Jan/Mohammad is well-intentioned and really wants to connect with students. But in terms of leadership experience and ideas, they lag behind the other two slates.
In our view, the 2017 election boils down to ideas versus personalities.
Team DiBrina’s vice-president candidate, Harry Orbach-Miller, has a strong track record of advocating for students on the University Senate as well as on USC council. He has shown willingness to stand up to the University administration repeatedly — a refreshing quality for a USC executive.
Similarly, Team Tobi’s vice-president candidate, Landon Tulk, has lots of experience with external political advocacy — a big part of the vice-president’s portfolio. If elected, he is competent enough to learn the workings of the USC on the job while doing justice to the role.
The two vice-president candidates are the driving force behind both the slates. But the teams are incomplete without the two presidential candidates.
David DiBrina is driven and passionate about things he believes will improve student life. While a strong leader at the helm can be a huge asset, DiBrina’s passion can sometimes come across as aggression, not an endearing quality to voters and those who will work under him if elected.
Tobi Solebo promises to be the students’ president. He’s personable and approachable and his focus on USC engagement with the larger student body is something that is strongly needed. On the other hand, the USC presidency is a busy job and whipping the bureaucracy in shape needs strong leadership and at least some experience — you can’t learn everything on the go.
There’s two things the USC needs year after year. Real change that can directly benefit students, and increased student engagement, so among other things, we can move past the 20 per cent turnout problem.
This year, there are two slates offering the two solutions — but individually.
Team DiBrina has shown potential for new ideas and backed it with research, whether it be the Purple Store closure or free movies at Western Film — they’re not afraid to start new debates.
Team Tobi is charismatic. They have drawn in previously disengaged students to the USC and have not only maintained their own support base, but have gained new followers on the way — many of whom have followed or have been involved with USC politics for a while.
We believe both Team DiBrina and Team Tobi have their strong suits, but it’s up to the students to decide what they value more of their student government. Are big changes needed to bring more students into the USC’s fold or should status quo be maintained with more energy funnelled into student outreach?
Make sure you make your voice is heard by voting on Jan 30-31.
Newspaper editorial boards regularly endorse candidates in elections and The Gazette is no different in that regard.
The Gazette endorsement process for this year’s USC elections was as follows. Each slate was given a 35-minute question and answer period with 15 members of The Gazette editorial board on Friday, Jan 27 from 3 to 4:45 p.m. Each slate answered six predetermined questions, followed by an open question and answer period with the editors. Candidates were not informed of the questions beforehand.
Following the slate presentations, the editorial board discussed the important issues of the campaign and how the candidates stacked up in terms of their platforms, ideas, leadership styles and their presentations to the editorial board in more than an hour-long discussion.
Following that, a vote was held by secret ballot. The minimum threshold to endorse a candidate was 60 per cent, which was agreed upon before the editorial board's discussion began. The votes were counted in front of the editorial board and none of the slates received the nine votes needed at the minimum for an endorsement. The vote breakdown was: eight votes for Team DiBrina, fives votes for Team Tobi and two abstentions.
The Gazette Editorial Board Volume 110