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Candidate profile: Aaron Beale

Senate candidate Aaron Beale. (Photo by Bryn Karcha, DSU)
Senate candidate Aaron Beale. (Photo by Bryn Karcha, DSU)

Name: Aaron Beale

Age: 25

Hometown: Halifax

Program: Sociology and International Development, 6th year

Position: Senate

Relevant political experience: DSU VP academic and external. Student organizer on campus about food issues, tuition issues. Active organizer in Halifax, Vancouver and overseas.


Dalhousie Gazette: After two years as an executive, why did you transition to senate?

Aaron Beale: I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot and I’m ready to move on and hand off the position to someone else who is equally passionate as I am, but I also want to just stay in the loop, stay involved and finish some of the projects I’ve started over the past two years because not all of them have been wrapped up.

DG:  Why are you running for a senate position?

AB: I want to see students’ voice heard on this campus, I want to hear students respected and treated as the most relevant stakeholder in the future of this university.

DG: What policy experience do you have?

AB: My two years on the executive. I’ve written reports for senate, for the university, lobbying different institutions and I’ve worked on policy internally.

DG: What issues are you proud to have been a part of on senate this year?

AB: I’ve been pushing for student senator position reform, so increasing the number of positions from seven to 15 to allow for one rep per faculty in order to democratize student senator positions. That’s one project that I have been working on for two years and is still not done, so I’m hoping to complete that next year, hopefully early in the year. We’ve been pushing for a fall reading week for the past two years. That’s another thing we’ve just won but it’s not completely finalized.

I want to continue the work, making sure students’ voice are heard in things like the SRIs (the student ratings of instruction). Also, increasingly, there are discussions about the university’s strategic plan and the future of Dal led by President Richard Florizone, so I’ve been interested in taking part in those and I’m interested in contributing.

DG: What role do you see the Senate having in the coming year?

AB: Some of the things I mentioned are specific things that students and myself will lead, but then there’s always things that come up. There’s a big appointment including the appointment of VP finance, as well as important issues like university funding, and funding distribution between faculties and services are something I care about and I think a lot of students care about.

DG: An expected one per cent increase in government funding this year is not enough to prevent another tuition hike. What would you do to help the university’s budgetary concerns?

AB: That’s probably the biggest issue I’ve worked on in my past two years in some ways. Obviously, the root cause is government funding. A one per cent increase is better than the cuts we’ve received the last four years, but it’s not enough to keep up with inflation, even considering a three per cent tuition hike, which is what it’s going to be. I think continuously lobbying the government and engaging students to help pressure the government on these issues is always necessary, and I will continue to do that within the university, even though the university has a budget the decisions they make are still about priorities, so pushing the university hard to prioritize students as opposed to some other things they consistently try to prioritize.

Right now we’re pressuring the university to not raise international student differential fees and professional student fees. We also do not want them to cut university funding. Instead, they can take that money away from strategic initiatives, facilities renewal and there’s a surplus fund they could dip into if they wanted to.

DG: What committees would you hope to serve on if elected and why?

It’s kind of up to my VP academic and external in some ways, but I would love to continue sitting on Senate Planning and Governance, the Constitutional Review committee and maybe Senate Learning and Teaching. My reason is that there are important decisions made there that affect students and I care about them.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Ian Froese
Ian Froese
Ian was the Gazette's Editor-in-chief for Volume 146. He was the Sports Editor for Volumes 145 and 144.

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