SU academic hopefuls duke it out over citation methods

A heated debate in the academic forum kicked off the first of seven Students’ Union general election debates, Mon., Feb. 5.

While all five academic commissioner candidates agreed on most issues, four of the candidates argued against a proposition put forward by commissioner candidate Alastair MacKinnon. MacKinnon proposed an initiative to implement universal citation across all faculties in the University of Calgary, maintaining it would relieve student stress.

“I am not in favour of [universal] academic citation because no reputable university uses it,” said academic commissioner candidate Megan Martin, stressing the importance of better education on the subject. She also argued that different citation systems are better suited for different purposes.

“We have [an Effective Writing] Centre on campus specifically for this purpose, and it’s part of the learning experience,” added commissioner candidate Mitchell Way, who also focused his platform on easing the transition from high school.

Despite the disagreement with his proposal, MacKinnon persisted.

“I have no problem with U of C being an innovator and leader in citations,” said MacKinnon. “If we had one system across the board, it would ease a lot of first-year stress.”

Academic commissioner candidates Luke Valentine and Tanya Zhao also disagreed with MacKinnon’s proposal.

Valentine–a current academic commissioner–has placed a great deal of emphasis on continuing the “DeStress Days” program he helped to create in his current term.

“With one set of DeStress Days under my belt, next year’s will be even bigger and even better,” said Valentine. “I plan on working harder to give you all a quasi-stress-free exam week.”

While Valentine continues to work on reducing student stress, Zhao–also a current commissioner– is finding ways to reduce book costs.

“Something I’m currently working on, and hope to continue to work on next year, is to reduce the cost of textbooks,” said Zhao.

Zhao is researching the model the University of Alberta has successfully managed to implement, and mentioned the idea of price comparisons with online bookstores.

Despite MacKinnon’s passion, neither of the two VP academic candidates seemed interested in implementing universal citation either.

“I think it is necessary for students to understand how to do citations, as each have their own strengths,” said VP academic candidate Brittany Sargent. “[I would] give the person the tools to develop [their proposal], but not support it.”

Teri Cameron felt that problems among students and citations could be solved through better communication and understanding of the effective writing services already available to undergraduate students.

“I want to work with the commissioners to weigh out the feasibility of the policy,” said Cameron.

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