Wyatt wins as new SU prez

Besides the mess of posters that overtook MacEwan Student Centre, the 2006 Students’ Union General Election ran smoothly.

In his election report, SU Chief Returning Officer Mike Brown noted voter turnout was down four per cent from last year, as only 17 per cent of eligible students voted. Brown said the low turnout was likely caused by having fewer candidates, especially for the president position.

The SU received 62 nominations for 33 positions, six positions were acclaimed and four faculty representative positions will remain vacant until the fall.

Emily Wyatt won the title of SU president for the 64th Students’ Legislative Council, Eric Jablonski won vice-president events and Julie Labonte won VP external. Shannon O’Connor and Cody Wagner were both acclaimed to their positions as VP academic and VP operations and finance respectively.

Wyatt is thrilled with the results of the election and is looking forward to developing a close bond with the new executive.

“It all comes down to open communication,” said Wyatt. “We need to ensure that we all have common goals and that we are all committed to improving the overall student experience on a number of different levels.”

Wyatt believes the differences in leadership style represented by the various members of the executive will bring positive changes to the SU and the university. Developing a stronger student feedback strategy will be one of her first priorities as president. Part of this initiative includes re-formating the SU online Beef Board so that student concerns are more publicized.

Wyatt also wants to focus on improving U of C 101 and the inter-faculty games.

“We need to combat apathy by getting students involved right off the bat,” she said. “We need to make a positive first impression on new students.”

Labonte stressed her main priority as VP external will be tuition reduction.

“Tuition is simply not affordable for most students,” she said. “This has to change. This is a big year for opportunity in education. I am not just looking forward to the lobbying. I want to get more students involved and make them care.”

Labonte attended the Public Interest Alberta Post-Secondary Education Conference in Edmonton over reading week. Planning the next political action week, incorporating more fair trade products on campus and encouraging green policies are other areas she wants to focus on.

Getting well acquainted with his position, the SU staff and especially with his commission is first on Jablonski’s priority list.

Although Jablonski admitted that music comes easy to him, he is ready to fight the stereotype that it is his only priority.

“Music already has a really good foundation and I am going to continue with that,” he said. “But I want to challenge myself in doing things that aren’t as easy as putting on concerts.”

Jablonski is especially looking forward to planning BSD 2007 and re-introducing an improved version of Overflow for September 2006.

In his election report, Brown noted only three complaints have been received about the election, versus the 300 received last year. The report also noted polling stations accounted for only 11 per cent of voting, which proved the online voting system was a success. The election came in just under budget; however Brown credited this to fewer candidates requiring SU grant money.

Brown recommended a re-examination of the by-laws in order to give the CRO power to grant nomination extensions, something that was an issue during the election. Brown suggested the need for a stronger poster policy, a better definition of what is appropriate during the campaign and a policy on bribery. His final concern was better promotion of the election itself.

“This year worked really well but we need to get more people out as candidates,” he said. “That’s why voter turnout was lower.”

In the non-binding plebiscite question asking students to rate priorities for quality enhancement money, undergraduate endowment came out on top. Academic enhancement received the second largest number of votes, followed by student financial aid, university infrastructure and finally student space.

check out su.ucalgary.ca for the full election result.

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