The Ryersonian’s Emily Westover met individually with the three candidates for RSU president to ask them what current campaigns should continue, which should be scrapped and what new campaigns they would like to implement if elected. Here is an edited excerpt:
Which of the current RSU campaigns would you like to see continued?
Hoilett: I’d like to continue the tradition of advocating for students and creating spaces for discussion to defend students’ rights. The bottled water free campaign is a great example of a successful campaign. The university agreed to go bottled water free three years ago. We’ve seen a full cycle of students come through who weren’t there for that work, and it’s important to keep educating those students about why campus is bottled water free.
Mohamed: I support most of the current campaigns. Trying to lower tuition is an important issue for all students.
Scott: I like the consent is sexy campaign. Though consent is mandatory far before it is sexy. But it’s a cool campaign, when they hand out free condoms to students, everyone loves that.
Which of the current RSU campaigns do you see as unnecessary?
Hoilett: All the RSU campaigns from the past few years here have received great response. We want to continue to educate new students on why the issues are important.
Mohamed: The water-bottle free campus. That’s an environmental issue, it shouldn’t be a Ryerson-focused issue. It’s not directly related to the betterment of students at Ryerson. Any money put into that campaign could be put somewhere that directly helps Ryerson students.
Scott: Statistically, Drop Fees hasn’t worked. In past years, tuition has only ever gone up. That money could maybe be used in better ways. The bottled-water-free-campus, I’d get rid of pretending it’s still a campaign. It’s done and the goal is reached. One of the candidates talked about a free lunch program. I think that’s ridiculous. There’s no way we could provide a meal a day for 30,000 students.
Do you have any ideas for new campaigns to start?
Hoilett: We’ve been working to start a task force for students living with mental health issues. Students with mental health issues might not see a lot of support on campus. The task force would work to provide support for counselling services, and provide information for profs and instructors on what accommodations would look like for those students, and generally change culture surrounding mental illness.
Mohamed: I’m interested in starting a campaign focused on giving students more power, giving them more venues to vote on issues. Every student should have a chance to start anything they want to. There should be debates, discussion. Any time a student has something new they want to bring forward, like a group, or if they don’t agree with a certain policy, they should have their chance to argue in a debate setting.
Scott: Part of my platform is creating a daily puppy or kitty clinic, which would be fantastic.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 5, 2014.