CampusOpinion

Larsen solidifies his first-place standing

Every year, a number of mostly anglophone hopeful politicians visit Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ) and tell them that they matter. Every year, however, very little is done for the small Francophone community, leaving them to become quite embittered, akin to Canada’s early relationship with Quebec.

This year’s forum was no different. Many hopeful candidates looked into the French crowd and promised them, mostly in English, that things would change, resources would be available to them in French, and that Campus Saint-Jean would be on par with North Campus.

The candidates for vice-president (student life) performed as expected:

  • We have a clear winner
  • The second place candidate is performing adequately
  • Why does the third candidate even bother at this point.

Jared Larsen was the only candidate with concrete ideas on how to mend the rifts between North Campus and CSJ. One such suggestion was a Students’ Union resource guide that would be published and made available in a multitude of languages. He was the only candidate that could name CSJ student events properly. Say what you will about pandering and empty promises; it seems Larsen is truly committed to making campus a better place for all students. He has performed strongly in every forum and has not surrendered any ground. I strongly favour Larsen in this race, so much so that he could not show up to the Myer Horowitz forum and still win 51 per cent of the vote in the first round.

Shuaa Rizvi has been able to push past her nerves to be a competent second choice. She did fumble a bit when she failed to name La Fête de la Francophonie correctly, calling it the “poutine party,” which earned her some deserved heckles. She was also unaware of progress on the SU’s French translation committee, but her redirected focus creating a more positive community on campus seems like a genuine belief and goal. I like Rizvi as a candidate. She’s humble, passionate, and driven. The problem lies, however, in the race she chose to run in. She cannot compete with Larsen, and she seemingly would’ve been better suited to campaign for vice-president (academic).

Rory Storm seemingly only has one campaign point: student group collaboration. He claims he is the “students’ candidate” and a grassroots motivator. To say this is a bold claim would be an understatement at best. How can he be the voice of the average student when he didn’t know what events went on at CSJ, other than the Edmonton Fringe and the Flying Canoë Volant (both of which aren’t CSJ-specific)? How can he be a grassroots motivator when he says he just learned about residential schools last year? Did he not go through the Alberta education system? I could say Storm would be incompetent as vice-president (student life), but that implies that he would have an ounce of competency at all. It truly terrifies me that he has a chance in this race because of the Greek community consolidating their vote.

TLDR: This race has a clear winner: Jared Larsen. Shuaa Rizvi is becoming overshadowed but she seems genuine. Voting for Rory Storm would be a lost cause.

7 Comments

  1. Not gonna lie even though it’s an opinion piece, Katie’s point still stands. Opinion pieces directly attacking one candidate are fine in normal elections because generally there’s multiple media sources, but when you take into consideration that The Gateway is the school newspaper (and really the one source writing about these elections) it’s irresponsible of them for writing such charged pieces. At least tone the bias down a bit, because when people (who don’t care about SU elections and won’t dig deeper) scroll through their feeds and see articles like these, guess what opinions they’re gonna form?

    1. But that’s the point of opinionated pieces. They’re meant to tell students how one particular writer feels about how candidates have performed at the forums. And judging from this piece and the related news article, seems like the guy being crapped on in this kind of deserved it.

      Seems like people are saying The Gateway should just never write any opinionated pieces about elections and just stick to publishing only news/objective pieces, but that’s never how any school does it for any student election.

      1. Honestly, I think it would be different if the piece was titled “OPINION: Who has my vote in the VPSL race”. Rather than “So-and-so solidifies their first place standing”, because the latter title makes it sound like a news piece and, as someone mentioned before, it’s too difficult to tell it’s not.

    1. Then the article should not be highlighted on the main page side-by-side with their informative election coverage without the word “Opinion” to be found in the headline or article. When accessed from FB or the main page, the only way to distinguish opinion from news coverage in the Gateway is by the track bar.

  2. Considering that in many cases the Gateway is the only news source students have to learn about and follow the UASU elections, it is incredibly poor form for the Gateway to take such an unbiased stance, to the degree that they have actively harmed the democratic process on campus. In several articles now, the Gateway has declared a single winner for an ongoing and contested election. It is one thing to discuss who performed “best” at each forum or what points were discussed, but to call the entire election several times over effectively positions the Gateway as telling students how to vote. This at best decimates the credibility of the Gateway as a reliable news agency capable of providing non-partisan information and at worst places the Gateway as an active opponent to the fundamental basis of democracy. Taken with other coverage that borders on actively bullying particular candidates through personal attacks while completely ignoring missteps or misinformation from others, it is no question why we are seeing many uncontested races. I am beyond disappointed in the blatant and harmful bias the Gateway has approached the VPSL race with.

  3. Considering that the Gateway is in many cases the only news source students on campus have when they are following elections, I believe it is in incredibly poor form and wholly undemocratic to declare, across several articles, that a single candidate is a clear winner in a contested race. Presenting how well they perform at forums and what platform points they highlight is one thing, but declaring them to have won, when there are no other news sources to look for for coverage, is no different than telling students how to vote: at best discouraging students from further examining campaign platforms that may better align with their personal values and at worst breaking down the fundamental basis of democracy. Between this and coverage of candidates that borders on personal attacks it is no question why we are seeing so many uncontested races this year and the credibility and trust of the Gateway is all but broken. Good journalism reports facts, not obviously biased opinions. This non-partisan stance is especially crucial when you are the only news source. I am beyond disappointed in how the Gateway has reported the VPSL race.

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