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SPOTTED DAWSON, POSTERS, INCLUSIVENESS AND SOCIAL EVENTS – HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DSU ELECTION DEBATE

by Sam Dagres


April 26, 2017 | News



In my opinion, I predict that Anthony Williams will likely be Chair for his second consecutive year. Not all the candidates spoke very much, the only candidates who stood out were Arielle Conolly, who was very vocal about her views on Spotted Dawson, Maxime Vanelli and his opposition to Wong’s cultural event as he would consider it “cultural appropriation” and “offensive,” and Adam Wexler who brought up pertinent questions regarding DSU’s interaction with Dawson Spotted users. Otherwise, I personally think they spent too much time discussing Spotted Dawson, social issues, and not enough time on what they want their very large budget to go toward. Although, the subject of budget allocation will be discussed next Monday (1st of May) at their General Assembly in the third floor caf. I encourage everyone to vote! Polls open on Monday from 2 – 7:30 in the third floor caf/Sherbrooke entrance/lower atrium. For a full list of candidates go to the Plant’s Facebook page!

6:49: The debate has finally ended. Yoopie.

6:42: How will the Treasurer remain transparent, and ensure that there will be no corruption? The only candidate, Cheranda Fraser Williams said that “with my organisational skills I would be able to keep track of the money. I am not apart of any clubs, therefore I would not be biased in any way” in terms of allocating money.

6:38: Audience member said that as most of the events/clubs are geared towards day students, how would they make it inclusive toward night students? Djazia Bousnina, candidate for Chair Deputy, responded that the DSU would hold events for night students specifically.

6:34: An audience member notes that the “CLL has organised a similar cultural event” and asked what would make DSU’s event be different?Ethan Wong responded:  “I feel like people should express their culture. All kinds of activities would take place, an emphasis on music.”

6:30: Spotted Dawson is a hot topic tonight, Vanelli even suggested that the DSU moderate posts published on the page.

6:15: Debate arose between Wong and Vanelli, when Vanelli asked Wong if he thought it was appropriate to have people wearing sacred clothing for an event, “I believe in cultural appreciation and not appropriation,” remarked Vanelli.

6:10 Question for Student Life candidates, they were asked what specific activities would they like to hold and why? Maxime Vanelli said that he would intend to host pizza days, pyjama days, anything to improve “student happiness.” Ultimately he wants to hold a referendum so see what students really care about. Ethan Wong said that he would want to hold a Social Jam, an inclusive event where people would flaunt their nativity and wear traditional clothes, taste different food, listen to music etc. Melina Medjdoub said: “I would have to do extensive research, but I would like to have daytime events. What I really want to bring to the table are Galas, Galas to address issues such as Islamophobia, racism, feminism.”

6:00: Question to External Affairs candidates, essentially: what they would bring to the table?  Adam Wexler responded that he would like to go after “whatever students want, whether it be reducing student prices from Alexis Nihon restaurants, or maybe internships available to students.” Emma Lalonde also responded to the question by saying that she would like to host more public speaking events, open to all Montreal universities/CEGEPS, for people to discuss social issues.

5:55: Arielle Conolly, candidate for Clubs and Services interjected and said: “I don’t think that Spotted Dawson is a fair representation of the students.” When asked how to remedy this reliance on Spotted Dawson, especially over the DSU, she said that “People rely on Dawson because there is an allusion of choice, we would create a new platform, [and expose ideas] whether positive or negative. We want to show that it isn’t just those thoughts that are posted on Spotted Dawson that are the thoughts of everyone.” Williams also remarked on the fact that Dawson Spotted isn’t even run by Dawson Students, but by a third party.

5:53: Adam Wexler, candidate for External Affairs, asked Mejia: “since the DSU has a history of being ineffective, people would turn to and rely to Spotted Dawson to be heard, how would you rectify that?” Mejia responded that he would like to go to the grassroots, he said “We have to go face to face, get people knowing that we are there. That there exists a platform that they can be heard.”

5:50: Camilo Mejia, the only candidate for Communications and Mobilisation, was asked if he’d interact with Spotted Dawson. “It shouldn’t be a question of a dialogue between DSU and Spotted, but students and other students. They only expose some voices, and not others. I would allow all kinds of voices to be heard.”

5:40: When asked, Williams gave several examples of racism which has directly affected Dawson students. He said that one of the incidents that inspired the campaign was when a black student was going to buy ice-cream with his girlfriend, and was nearly arrested. There were apparently 8 police officers who showed up. “This happens to Dawson students, this happens to me, I’ve been asked what I was doing in suburban area by police officers on several occasions.” Last year, the Legacy club put up posters about AIDS awareness, and it they were found vandalised soon after, people allegedly wrote the n word and drawings of lynches on said posters.

5:35: The topic of privilege persists. Most of the candidates are on the same page in terms of offering the students a platform to be heard, “all voices” as they put it. Williams’ stated that the effort put into having students acknowledge their privilege is like parents “hiding carrots in children’s food.” When asked how Williams planned to take a new approach to raising awareness, he responded that they would hold bigger activities with more people.

5:27: Same question to the Internal Affairs candidates, Jennifer Marshaal responded that she wanted to ensure all the student’s have a voice, so that they take part, “I want to bring back the old student council.”

5:25: First, a question to the the Chair candidates, which there was only one present. Mediator: There was much discussion on campus discussing privilege (referring to the privilege posters), what role would you have towards Social Justice as the Chair of the DSU. Anthony Williams said that he takes responsibility, and that he would have changed the approach, but not the message. “This is something Dawson students need to be aware of, but this was a learning experience. I feel like the way it was handled, we did receive a lot of negativity online, but a lot of positivity in person. No such thing as bad press, some people who had no idea what it was — it sparked a conversation.”

5:21: The debate has yet to begin, was supposed to start at 5:00 pm. Waiting as candidates continue to trickle in.

Sam here, I’ll be sharing some of the debates’ highlights, live!! Enjoy!!!

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