Op-Fi forum

By Ricardo Urbina

The battle of the Operations and Finance candidates began this Tuesday at a candidates forum in MacEwan Student Centre. Of the four candidates running for the position of Students’ Union Vice-president Operations and Finance, all but Paul Newman attended.

It came as no surprise that one of the major issues discussed was MacEwan Hall Expansion, the question being: is it ever going to happen?

"I’ll do everything I can to make sure it’s done," said candidate Mike Bradshaw. "If I have to wait outside Keith Winter’s office every day to get him to sign the tender forms, I will."

Incumbent VP Op-Fi Amanda Affonso said she believed there would be an advantage to having a VP who knows the history behind the expansion talks.
"I’d hate to see it fall apart because the university uses a new Executive to their advantage," said Affonso. "They know a new Exec is coming in and they’re not familiar with all the issues. They know they’re not up-to-speed with the history of Mac Hall expansion and what’s happened in the last year."

"As much as being a past executive is a help, I think it’s even more of a help to be a fresh face with the administration," responded Bradshaw. "I have no plans to be taken advantage of."
As for what the candidates felt will have to be done to push through expansion, they all had different ideas.
"I don’t want to speculate at all," replied Affonso. "I hope that the university is professional enough to keep tuition and expansion separate."

Affonso went on to say how expansion has already been passed by the Board of Governors.

"There’s nothing preventing us from going on with this building," said Affonso. "The only two things that we have to have in place are the operating agreement and the financing of the building, and those are two things we’ve addressed and are working on."

"It’s like a fine-tuned balance of give and take," said fellow candidate Adrian Wolþeg. "We have to see what we’re willing to give up and let them know exactly what we really want to take."

Also on the agenda was Affonso’s idea of changing the current Health/Dental plan so students could visit the dentist of their choice.

"Once you come to university, I don’t understand why you have to suddenly change your dentist," said Affonso.

"I don’t want any fee increases," stated Bradshaw. "I’ll look into fixing that [unmanaged dental plan]. It’s one of those things the insurance company might not be willing to give on."

"At the very least, if we can’t get an unmanaged plan-if you increase the physicians that are within the program-that would make it a lot easier," added Wolþeg.

However, Affonso indicated that there will be no increases. Apparently, after some discussion, the insurance company came back with the same premium figures that are currently paid. In any case, any potential increase would have to go to a student referendum before being passed.
Of course, these weren’t the only issues discussed by the candidates.

"This is an opportunity to make this a ‘one on one’ position," said Wolþeg. "One-on- one with individuals, groups, administration."
Bradshaw also believes that there has been some break down in communication with others.

"Bridging the gap with clubs is going to be a huge issue," said Bradshaw. "Improving their funding and opening up communication with them."
Affonso is focused on the future expansion.

"Redevelopment and expansion-sorting out office space. Also, a new Max’s will be built this summer," she said. "Right now I don’t think Max’s caters to all
students. I’d like to change that with new Max’s, make it more

"There are also smaller issues, like NUTV coming out with closed circuit TV," continued Affonso. "Monitors will be installed all over campus, so they can broadcast shows, upcoming SU events or messages."

Having to deal with such contentious issues as Mac Hall expansion and changes to the Health and Dental plan, whoever becomes VP Op-Fi for the 1999/2000 school year is bound to have a busy
schedule .

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