There’s an age-old political adage which states “we elect our betters, not our equals.” While politicians like Ralph Klein are exceptions to this rule, Andrew Simon is the reason the phrase was coined.
Simon has spent the past year critically examining the actions of the current Students’ Union while extensively researching other student associations worldwide. He purports to have studied SUs at Harvard, Yale and Oxford, as well as schools in both Japan and Australia, looking to establish effective forms of governance abroad which could be imported to the benefit of U of C students.
The ideas he brings include replacing establishments like the StÃ¶r with massive, diverse vending machines (courtesy Japan), establishing open mic comedy nights (courtesy Australia), and forfeiting $5,000 of his presidential wage to bolster scholarships for students in need (his own brainchild). What Simon has seemingly failed to consider are the significant socio-cultural differences between those cultures and our own, differences which may undermine the effectiveness of his approach.
Simon is the mastermind behind the Action Party, a slate of candidates whose common interests are not immediately clear. While he and some of his running mates support ideas like a gas station and a liquor store on campus, other party members are less enthusiastic.
In short, Simon is an idealist, an intellectual and a visionary. His ideas for the SU are grandiose, although they are not likely very realistic or achievable and his slate of candidates is quite weak. However, were he leader of a cross-section of non-Action Party candidates, he’s innovative and intelligent enough to potentially surprise a few people and effectuate some real, positive change.
How will you effectively represent students and the SU to the general public?
“The most critical things are accountability, professionalism and actually getting
What is your strategy when approaching tuition?
“The Russians have a saying: ‘Pray to God, but row to shore.’ Realistically, we
should have an alternative plan in the meantime to deal with the issue of reducing
How will you effectively communicate with students?
“Using space in Mac Hall, using NUTV, partnering up more with the Gauntlet.”
How will you lead the SU?
“By leading by example, starting by donating $5,000 of my salary to scholarships
for students in financial need.”‘