Index
Brent Schmidt – Students First
Shaun Shepherd –  Team Unity
Rohail Tanoli

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Brent Schmidt – Students First
http://studentsfirstuoft.com/ 

 

THE VARSITY

U of T has had problems with campus bars. The Blind Duck Pub at  U of T Mississauga loses money, and St. George’s Hangar  was shutdown in the ‘90s. What will you do if liability issues and  costs prevent the opening of a U of T undergraduate campus bar?

BRENT SCHMIDT

There are a few key things to mention here. First, while Mississauga’s bar may lose money, it is far from a foregone conclusion that campus bars lose money. The campus bar at Queen’s is packed all the time and runs a huge profit.

In terms of liability, the issue was that the security at the time was negligible if existent at all. All of the liability could be mitigated by having effective (and if necessary, outside) security to ensure safe and legal drinking. Also, ideally, we would lobby for the space for the bar; we wouldn’t need to purchase land. This proposition is consistently made to look more difficult than it actually is because it is our central platform piece. But there is a reason every school in the country manages to run one.

THE VARSITY

During the debate, you were critical of Shaun Shepherd for tweets that he was tagged in. Why didn’t you criticize your own supporters  for their jeering, heckling, and the signs they were holding, or at least try to get them to stop?

BRENT SCHMIDT

First, during my opening speech I asked that people settle down. Perhaps I should have been more explicit. However, I think it is highly disingenous to compare offensive and defaming tweets to people cheering and booing.

While it may have been disrespectful, the distinction is quite clear. I regret the atmosphere of the debates, as I have stated quite a few times before, but confronting your friends when they are offensive and racist is far different than asking someone to keep it down.

THE VARSITY

Name one idea from each of your opponents’ campaign that you like and that you would actually implement if you become President of UTSU.

BRENT SCHMIDT

I think Rohail’s idea to lobby for lower textbook costs is admirable and an eminently good idea. I would also (if possible) continue the UTSU’s work trying to close down St George street.

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Shaun Shepherd –  Team Unity
http://www.voteunity.ca/

 

THE VARSITY

Some students at the debate critiqued UTSU’s tacit support for controversial political causes. Where do you stand on supporting controversial political events? What role do you see politics playing in the union?

SHAUN SHEPHERD

The students’ union is a political space and serves the needs of the diverse membership, over 44,000 students. The democratic system set up allows multiple issues, controversial or not, to come through the students’ union through various ways. I don’t believe the students’ union should shy away from bringing issues to light, because any issue that affects students is one that the students’ union should be comfortable facilitating open conversation and debate about.

THE VARSITY

One of your promises is to pedestrianize St. George Street. The same promise was made two years ago by the Stronger Together slate and wasn’t implemented. How will you succeed where Stronger Together previously failed? 

SHAUN SHEPHERD

Previous executives were successful in pedestrianizing Wilcox Avenue. We recognize that major victories such as these take time (it took the Ryerson Students’ Union years to successfully pedestrianize Gould Street). We will continue to work with municipal politicians and staff to make the case for a safer, more contained and sustainable campus. We will also work with other organizations and students’ unions that have successfully pedestrianized spaces to learn from their strategies. We will also try to bring other students’ unions and groups on campus into the campaign to increase pressure on the municipal government from various angles.

THE VARSITY

Name one idea from each of your opponents’ campaign that you like and that you would actually implement if you become President of UTSU. 

SHAUN SHEPHERD

I would definitely be advocating for expanding needs-based grants. In fact, I currently do! We won the tuition grant this year (however problematic) and successfully pressured the government to expand the grant to those who initially weren’t eligible by working with other students’ unions across the province. We’re really encouraged that minister of training, colleges and universities has publicly stated that he will be working on grants for mature and part-time students who are not eligible for the tuition grant. We’re also hoping to expand grants at the federal level.

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Rohail Tanoli – Independent

 

THE VARSITY

You have stated repeatedly that you want to remain in the middle. Do you foresee a circumstance that would have you pick side and not stay in the middle?

ROHAIL TANOLI

On most issues, I would not have to pick a side because the incumbent slate and opposition slate often fall on such far sides of the spectrum that the middle ground is not hard to find. However, if there was a particular issue where a side must be chosen (can’t think of any), I would hold a referendum and support the majority of students. In accordance with democracy, minority views must be respected but majority views must be implemented.

THE VARSITY

You said that you have friends who support Unity and StudentsFirst. Choose one promise from each slate that you fundamentally disagree with. 

ROHAIL TANOLI

StudentsFirst — I would not promise to increase funding by 50 per cent. The simple reason being, we do not have access to a comprehensive budget of UTSU’s yearly expenditures. It may not be possible to increase funding by 50 per cent, but it should be increased.

Team Unity — I disagree with closing St. George street. St. George campus is in the heart of downtown; closing the street could affect the transportation efficiency and economy of the city. It is an idea that will never be accepted by the city. Pushing for it is a complete waste of resources.

THE VARSITY

Name one idea from each of your opponents’ campaign that you like and that you would actually implement if you become President of UTSU. 

ROHAIL TANOLI

Students First — I would review the paid positions. It is possible that there are unfair benefits associated with paid positions in the union. This issue needs to be addressed for transparency.

Team Unity — I will continue to fight forms of discrimination. This is one aspect previous UTSU administrations have addressed, and the tradition should continue.

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