CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, there was a graphic that indicated that Josh Marando answered that he "strongly agreed" with the police presence on campus. However, in our survey, Marando answered that he "strongly disagreed" with the police presence on campus. We apologize for this misconstruction and have changed the graphic since.
The Silhouette recently surveyed the four McMaster Students’ Union 2019 presidential candidates on their opinions on where the MSU and the university are doing well and where they can improve.
The survey consisted of seven statements. Candidates were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each statement on a scale from “strongly agree” to “disagree.”
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The first question asked candidates about their opinions on the statement that “The MSU is committed to equality and inclusiveness.”
The candidates all agreed on the MSU’s commitment to equality and inclusiveness. Jeffrey Campana and Madison Wesley indicated they “strongly agreed” with the statements, whereas Justin Lee and Josh Marando said they “agreed.”
The second question asked candidates whether or not “Increased police presence will promote increased safety of students on and around campus.”
There were a range of opinions on the relationship between McMaster students and the police.
Lee was the only candidate to agree that police presence will promote safety. Campana was neutral, while Wesley disagreed. Marando was the only candidate to strongly disagree.
In September, a string of break-ins in Westdale prompted a greater police presence in the area. During the same month, a video depicting a woman being run over a McMaster police horse was widely shared on social media.
The candidates were mostly in agreement with the statement that the MSU should oppose the provincial government’s free speech mandate requiring Ontario universities to implement a free-speech policy.
Wesley was the only candidate not to agree with the statement, choosing a “neutral” response instead. Campana indicated he agreed, while both Lee and Marando chose “strongly agree.”
In October, the Student Representative Assembly unanimously passed a motion opposing the government mandate.
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The next question asked candidates whether or not the MSU should lobby against the government’s changes to tuition, student fees and the Ontario Student Assistance Program.
The survey showed that all the candidates were in stark opposition to the provincial government’s changes to tuition, student fees and OSAP announced on Jan. 17.
Lee, Marando and Wesley all strongly agreed with the statement, while Campana selected the “agree” response.
Regarding McMaster’s accessibility, Wesley and Campana indicated there was room for improvement, as they strongly disagreed and disagreed with the statement that the school is “fairly accessible” for students with various disabilities.
Lee and Marando were neutral on the issue.
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The results also show that none of the candidates are satisfied with McMaster’s current efforts to prevent and address sexual violence. When asked if McMaster does a “sufficient job” in this area, Campana and Wesley strongly disagreed, while Lee and Marando disagreed with the statement.
McMaster’s sexual violence policy is up for review this year.
Overall, it appears that while there is a high degree of agreement amongst candidates on topics such as the Ontario government’s recently announced tuition and OSAP changes, candidates differ in their views on issues like the relationship between students and the Hamilton police and McMaster’s response to sexual violence.
The voting period for this year’s MSU presidential election is taking place from Jan. 22 to 5 p.m on Jan. 24. To vote, students can fill out the ballot sent to their McMaster email or login and vote at www.msumcmaster.ca/vote.