MASU executive election nears

elections coverNine candidates have emerged to stand in the Mount Allison Student’s Union upcoming executive election. Voting will take place on Jan. 27 and 28, ending three weeks of campaigning.

The candidates are contesting the four elected executive positions, with the remaining council positions to be filled in a later election. The other two executive positions, vice-president, finance and operations and vice-president, communications will be hired later this term.

Heather Webster, a third-year psychology student and this year’s vice-president, campus life is running unopposed for president.

Running unopposed, Webster will need a simple majority of ‘yes’ votes in order to be declared the winner. Should she fail to reach this threshold, nominations will reopen for five days before a second presidential election is held.

Kyle Nimmrichter, a third-year philosophy student and incumbent arts senator, is running for vice-president, academic against first-year philosophy student Agamemnon Kattis.

Andrew Johnston, a second-year commerce student and current president of Hunton House, is running for vice-president, campus life against Curtis Gibbs, a second-year science student and current assistant don of Windsor Hall.

Four candidates are running for the vice-president, external affairs portfolio. Annie Sherry, a second-year sociology student and off-campus councillor is running for vice-president, external affairs against Rayan Bouhlel, a third-year chemistry student and current off campus councillor; Noah Entwisle, a third-year international relations student; and Zhanshua Ma, a third-year commerce student and vice-president, external affairs of the Chinese Student Association.

Just four days before the deadline for students to announce their candidacy, it looked as if three candidates would be running unopposed, while the vice-president, external  portfolio had no candidates declared. This changed rapidly, as six candidates entered the races before nominations closed Monday at 6 pm.

The number of candidates this year stands in sharp opposition to last year’s lack of people willing to run: Last year’s executive ballots saw the president, vice-president, academic, and vice-president, campus life positions run unopposed, while two people ran for vice-president, external.

The executive candidates face a number of issues likely to manifest again next year. The candidates addressed a number of these in interviews with The Argosy, and summaries of their answers can be found in this week’s centrefold.

The Jan. 13 MASU council meeting saw the executive restructure punted to next year’s executive, meaning the candidates are signing on for another attempt at redesigning a structure often decried as broken by current executive members, councillors, and MASU members alike.

Councillors will also have to make difficult budgetary decisions due to an enrolment decline at Mt. A, a demographic loss that will be hard to reverse over the next few years. Compared to the 2012-2013 year, enrolment at the university, and consequently MASU membership, is down by nearly 190 students. Difficult decisions about raising student fees or cutting student services will await whoever wins the elections.

The executive, particularly the vice-president, external and the president, will have to decide on a strategy for political lobbying in the upcoming year. A provincial election is projected for September 2014, and the parties have already been vying for student and parental support with educational initiatives.

Thursday, Jan. 23 will see the candidates engage in an Argosy and MASU co-sponsored Q & A from 7-9 pm in Crabtree M14, to be broadcast online. Students will be able to submit questions posed to the candidates either in person or via Twitter using #masuelxn.

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