The Runner's Interviews with the Candidates Running in the KSA By-Election
Features / October 20, 2016
Running for Students of Colour Representative (1 seat available)
Candidate Statement: My name is Zahid Dossa and I want to become your Students of Colour Representative. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Policy Studies. As your Students of Colour Representative, I will strive to put an end to racial discrimination on campus, to promote and strengthen the rich cultural diversity amongst KPU students’, and to foster a sense of belonging amongst all KPU students regardless of colour.
Why are you running?
“I’m one of the founders of the Sustainability Club on campus. We were founded in July, so I was looking to get more involved in school life.”
What do students of colour need?
“In my opinion, more support. I don’t know what the full makeup of the [KPU] populace is, but I would guess that students of colour are somewhat in the upper minority, maybe the majority. And throughout all four campuses, whether it’s Langley, Richmond, Cloverdale, Surrey, just more support. Because we’ve seen—especially what’s going on in the United States right now—there’s so much clash of ignorance. People want to label it “clash of civilizations,” or whatever, whether it’s discrimination or whatever, but it’s such a clash of ignorance. So more awareness and more openness is what’s needed.”
What do you mean by more support?
“It can be anything from cultural events—I know KPU in the past has had events for Black History Month, and Diwali, but you know, there’s more than two cultures out there.”
How will you do these things?
“I know in the past the Students of Colour Collective have had open dialogue with the students of colour on campus, so I’m looking to re-open that and engage with students.”
Have you had KPIRG experience?
“[I’ve had] a little bit of experience with KPIRG. I’ve been to some of their Disorientation events and they had limits to growth in the past, but I’d definitely be working with them.”
What sort of experience do you have?
“I’m a policy studies student, so hopefully that carries forward, but in terms of experience I’ve done lots of volunteering things. I’ve been volunteer coordinator, that’s about it. With my Jama’at Khana at my mosque, we have this thing called CIVIC. “Challenging Ismaili Volunteers in Communities.” So besides volunteering at the mosque and for different functions, we go out in the communities and find food banks or soup kitchens or tree plantings and we bring those to our volunteers and help the communities in which we live.”
Is there anything you want to change about the KSA?
“I would like to know a lot more of their positions, and hopefully make social justice a mandate.”
Anything else you want to add?
“I’m really optimistic about this, and I really hope people come out and vote. Even though I’m running uncontested, I really hope people come out and vote.”
Running for Mature Students Representative (1 seat available)
Candidate Statement: You deserve to be heard! You deserve to have an experienced voice on council who is willing to advocate for resources for Mature Students. You deserve to be able to connect with other mature students. I want to know the best way to help you. I want to listen to you and provide you the best voice on council. This vote is not about me, it’s about you and what you want. If elected I will provide the resources to connect with other mature students and have the best university experience. The change we need; the experience we trust.
Why are you running for Mature Students Representative?
“I’ve run for the KSA for a couple of years before. I started as the arts rep, and then the mature rep, and then I wanted to be the queer rep. I decided to run this year [because] after a year absent from the KSA I had time to collect myself and collect my thoughts. I wanted to run again because the KSA is something I’m definitely passionate about. It’s something that I really think needs to be done, and the mature students really need to be represented.”
What have you learned from your previous experience as Mature Students rep that you would bring to the position now?
“I learned that the mature students really need to be represented and they need to have concrete meetings and they need to be able to communicate with each other, which is something that I’m strongly focusing on during this election.”
What do you mean by communicating with each other?
“Right now, there isn’t really a mature student’s group. There isn’t any way for one mature student to find another mature student and kind of figure out what their experiences are and what they can gain from one another. There really isn’t that connectedness like with other students. Women have WOOW, and queer [students] have the Pride meetings, but there really isn’t that with the mature students, and that’s something I definitely want to develop.”
Other than communication, what are you hoping to focus on?
“I want to organize meetings, and another thing that I want to do is work with the KSA to help develop a mature students website that they can go to and find information on the meetings, find out what was talked about [during] the meetings, and have a way of contacting me or somebody else. I want to do maybe a monthly email mailout with some issues and maybe some links to some extra resources for mature students, and things of that nature. I don’t have the answers for what mature students want, that’s why I want to listen to them. I want to find out what their issues are and what they need.”
What would you do different from that last time you held the position of Mature Students Rep?
“Last time, I didn’t really connect with mature students and It’s something that happens when you get onto KSA council. A lot of students just think ‘Oh I just have to attend council meetings I don’t have to do anything, I just have to be on the committees,’ but it’s much more than that. That’s something that I’ve definitely learned during my year off—that I actually have to take this position and run with it and do something to help connect with students and find out what I can do for them, not what I can do for myself representing them.”
“I’d start a discussion, and then also if they can’t attend meetings, feel free to email me. I’ll put my posters up around campus if I get elected. We can sit down and have a meeting time and arrange that if you can’t come to the meetings.”
Tabert declined interview requests, her candidate statement is presented below:
Thereysa Tabert has been taking more of an interest in the operations of KPU and the KSA since she began in 2014. Having spent much of her younger adult life supporting herself and working multiple jobs, Thereysa understands the struggles faced by many students, and mature students in particular. Currently, her major is Human Resources Management, though her passion is on studies in psychology. If elected, Thereysa would like to work with other reps to ensure that advocacy coming from the KSA includes the needs of mature students and that more financial and service support is available to all students.
Running for Faculty of Arts Representative (1 seat available)
Candidate Statement: Hello, my name is Natasha Farris and I am running for Faculty of Arts Representative for the KSA. I picked running for KSA because I recently moved full time to Surrey and would like to build community. If you elect me as Faculty of Arts Representative I want everyone to feel included and in control of how their faculty is managed. Everyone’s voice matters, let me be your speaker.
Why are you running?
“I wanna be involved in the school and everything, during my past I was never really involved and I really regretted it, so this year I really want to be involved in the school and help make a difference around the school and make it my own.”
What do you want to do?
“My biggest thing is I want to provide a voice for everyone, I don’t want it one sided. I’m sure the KSA isn’t like that, but I found in my past educational [experience] it’s been, one person says and feels what they feel, and I really want to be able to incorporate the whole school, faculty, and get everyone’s voice through to the best of your ability.”
“I really want to talk to everyone and build connections with everyone, and try to really hear what they want and what they’re looking for in the faculty, and in their school life and hear all their opinions.”
Have you had prior experience with student politics?
“No, I was never really involved much before. I was with teachers and different people, I volunteer a lot around the community, and [have been with] leaders in that sense, but in the school and such, no experience.”
“This is my first year at KPU actually, so I haven’t really gotten involved too much with hearing what the KSA has done. I’ve read their policies online and everything, but I really just want to make sure that no matter what, everyone is involved and every voice matters.”
What are some of your specific plans?
“I really like the idea of having different functions and everything to bring people together, and I’ve thought of different ones for either fundraising or fun around the community. Even doing car shows or other things like that, which would take a lot of planning, but I’ve seen done before and I find it extremely neat. I feel that it brings it together as a community, as opposed to a school where you go to learn and leave.”
What do arts students need?
“I haven’t really talked yet—I know that’s not the best campaign statement ever, but that’s why I want to go around, and part of my campaigning is I want to go and talk to as many people as possible, whether that be sitting in the Grassroots or sitting in the library, and get what they want and what they’re frustrated with. I’ve talked to people in the Psychology department who are frustrated with how they don’t have experience, but they have knowledge. So I want to talk to some different majors and find out where their frustrations are. So talking to people I feel is the best way to go around.”
Candidate Statement: For too long, we have watched as our elected representatives sit idly by; squandering their allotted mandate, while failing to recognize the core concerns of the student body.
I speak of issues central to us all: Bloated Textbook costs, caused by overzealous Monopoly’s, and other hidden course fees; insane parking rates; nonexistent Residences on campus; as well as the absence of Varsity Level Sports Teams; to name but a few of the common concerns I have heard raised in my time here.
Why are you running for Faculty of Arts Representative?
“I have three different things that I want to get done. First, I would like to bring back our varsity sports teams, if possible. I remember first year, actually, I wanted to join rugby and apparently they got rid of it. Another [thing] I want to help with—working towards what we’ve already done and building on it—is the residences. We need more of those, of course.”
“My main point that I would really like to do is I’d like to try to get textbook costs down. And there’s a few different ways we could go about doing that, and I’ll discuss more as the campaign goes on. So we’ll eventually have a survey and we’ll let people pick which options might work.”
Do you know how you’d go about achieving these goals as a member of the KSA?
“Within the context of the KSA, we already have our own health plan, so we could potentially do a similar thing with textbooks—where you’d all just pay a bulk rate. That’s one thing I think could work. We could try and also build on the open textbook platforms that some classes are already using, and as we go forward we’ll see what the students want and we’ll try and implement what we can.”
Have you been in contact with the KSA previous to running?
“This is my second year; I haven’t really spoken to that many people just yet. It’s a new experience but I’m looking forward to it.”
Why should students vote for you over the other people running for Arts Rep?
“I’m the only one who knows how to get this done. I can get them to have textbook prices go down, and that’s something I will guarantee.”
Do you have any previous work experiences that you could bring to the table?
“I worked for StatsCan for the census last year, so I do have some experience working with people and negotiating and getting things done.”
Candidate Statement: This is Neelham I am for running for Faculty of Acts Representative. I am running for this position because I want to make a difference at Kwantlen. I also want to make Kwantlen a better place for students to learn. I want to get the experience of being a Candidate. I want to learn new things when I am elected.
Why are you running for Faculty of Arts Representative?
“I want to make a difference at Kwantlen. I believe that when students pay for parking, it’s a little expensive. You pay five dollars for the whole day—I feel like that’s a little too much. I feel like it should be at least two dollars for a whole day, then that way students wouldn’t have to worry and stress.”
How would you go about lowering the cost of parking for students?
“By talking to the KSA about it and doing a survey for the students, asking them questions like ‘Would this be a benefit for you, to reduce [the cost] from five dollars to two dollars. Is that easier for you? Is that less stress for you?’”
Anything else that you feel makes you a good fit for this position?
“I just want to help students and make Kwantlen a better school for them. I was also thinking about the shuttle from Kwantlen. It runs from Surrey to Cloverdale to Langley—and I know it runs in Richmond on certain days or certain nights, I’m not sure. But I feel like it should be more frequent for Richmond. It shouldn’t just be Surrey, Cloverdale and then Langley—it should be all the campuses.”
What sort of past experience would help you be a good Faculty of Arts rep?
“Well I volunteer a lot at Kwantlen. I volunteer for the KSA street team, and I also volunteer for orientation leader, where you lead groups of new students coming to [KPU]. So I feel like that will help me in this because I’m helping students and this is a way to get more involved in the school.”
Why should students vote for you over the other people running for this position?
“I’m a good candidate because I’m respectful, I’m a nice person, I’m easy to talk to, easy going and I just want make Kwantlen a better place for students to learn and have fun even though school is stressful. Try to enjoy it as much as you can. Because you’ve only got one life, so enjoy it as much as you can.”
Running for Faculty of Business Representative (1 seat available)
Candidate Statement Not Submitted.
Why are you running for Faculty of Business Representative?
“Well I’ve been at Kwantlen for way too long and for a long time I wasn’t really involved with anything. I realized that after being here for four years or so that I should probably be putting more into the university. That way I can get more out of it.”
“I was really just kind of wasting my opportunities at Kwantlen, and through that I just started getting more and more involved with the KSA. I’ve been sitting on a committee for the last six months […] the appointments committee, and it’s through there that I started to realize that there isn’t a lot of student engagement, and I want to see what I can do regarding committees and getting more student involvement with them, because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of outreach as far as getting people on committees at the moment.”
What do you hope to achieve as a KSA Councilor ?
“Primarily, I’ve been disappointed with the number of applicants we get for various committees. I know in the past there have been problems. We have [also] had almost no vacancies, but the opposite is true at the moment. I’d like to make sure that we get the right people aware that there are vacancies to begin with.”
How would you go about achieving that?
“I think one of the things that we need to do is make people aware that there are actually vacancies on committees. When I had to apply I basically had to find out through word of mouth, and then the entire process was kind of shrouded in shadow. It took a lot of deciphering just based on what people were telling me, [on] whether I could apply, or what the process was.”
“No one’s really examined why committees are staffed the way they are—they’ve just been relying on general student interest, and that interest can’t really be generated if people aren’t aware that there’s the opportunity.”
Do you have any previous experience?
“I’m enrolled in the HR program here. We do a lot of study on the theory of how to get the right person for the job, making sure they’re satisfied with it and what they need to do. I don’t feel, presently, that some of that theory is being applied, and I think it’s just sort of an afterthought.”
“I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve been aware of what’s going on throughout, but have never really been involved, and I think that the fact that I have that perspective is advantageous.”
Running for Aboriginal Students Representative (1 seat available)
Davis was unavailable for an interview, her candidate statement is presented below:
Samantha Davis, Haida Nation, from Haida Gwaii is a full time mother pursuing a Bachelors Degree in General Arts. Samantha will be pursuing a Masters degree then a Phd in Indigenous Studies after her final semester in the summer of 2017. She is positive, ambitious, determined and aims to bring KPU’s aboriginal students together in numerous ways. Goals include creating a solid aboriginal community within KPU, creating cultural awareness on all campuses and working with students to help voice their ideas or concerns. KPU needs a strong Aboriginal KSA representative, Samantha is that voice.
Some KSA seats will remain unfilled for the remainder of the sitting period. Below are the positions that will be empty at least until the regularly mandated elections in February.
Cloverdale Campus Representative (1)
Faculty of Academic & Career Advancement Representative (1)
Faculty of Health Representative (1)
Faculty of Design Representative (1)
Faculty of Trades & Technology Representative (1)