VP Academic forum

By Natalie Sit

Good news from the Vice-president Academic forum: both candidates, Mark Hoekstra and Brent Robinson, have never received an F in any course.

The Academic forum on Tues., Mar. 7 was chaired by current VP Academic Heather Clitheroe. It began with difficult brain teasers which neither candidate got right.

The next category was background questions concerning issues like direct entry, cheating and why they want to be next VP Academic. Both said they want to be an advocate for students on all issues, and answered the questions knowledgeably, despite the efforts of a loud heckler and the noisy lunch crowd.

“I was worried they would throw pies at us and make a mockery of everything, but they didn’t,” said Hoekstra, who has an Economics degree and is now earning a Political Science degree.

Student attendance at the forum was low–many people walked by or stopped only for a few minutes.

“I don’t know if students are disillusioned about tuition or if students honestly don’t feel that they can have a voice through the Students’ Union,” said candidate Brent Robinson, a third-year Economics student. “There are other student organizations [for students] to make their voices heard.”

Another feature of the forum was the knowledge round. The
most interesting part was the naming of all 13 faculties plus graduate studies, continuing studies and Environmental Design. Hoekstra and Robinson took turns naming faculties until one of them couldn’t name anymore.

The lightning round followed, demonstrating their mastery of university acronyms and arcane knowledge such as the instrument played by University of Calgary Vice-president Academic Ron Bond.

“I wish I would have remembered it’s academic program and not academic planning, but it’s semantics,” said Robinson about naming the Big Four Committee.

Bonus questions ranged from which pages of the U of C Calendar contain information on student appeals and the proposed new name for the Faculty of Nursing.

One serious question that came from the audience was
where the blame should be placed for the high tuition. Both candidates refused to place blame on a specific source but said it was a combination of both the university and province’s responsibility.

“I thought they set it up well,” said Hoekstra. “Professional, appropriate. Questions were good and fair. It was a good, informative forum.”

“If I had known how long I had to give my platform, I would have talked more about different things,” said Robinson.

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