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Candidate profile: Andrew Komlodi

Name: Andrew Komlodi

Program: Fourth-year political science and philosophy

G: Why are you running for President?

K: It’s [DSU] entire culture is exclusive and it’s no surprise that we have such low voter turnout. So, what motivated me to run was the belief that most of the students at Dal don’t care about the student union but are looking for some fresh ideas that they can relate to, with common sense and practical approaches. For president specifically, I think we need to have a leader of the DSU with distinct vision and my vision is perfectly suited to that.

G: What qualifies you for this position?

K: My qualifications are somewhat counterintuitive. What I think qualifies me most is that I am a DSU outsider, I’m not someone who is involved with the union, I’m not entrenched with the union’s approach as it stands and I think I understand the problems that students have with the union.

G: What do you plan to do if elected?

K: 1. The current approach is to yell and scream at government and hope they drop tuition broadly and while I wish that were the case, we know deep down that that bridge has been crossed and the government won’t listen. What I would do is focus the attention of the president, the student lobbyist, towards increasing government funding for the graduate retention rebate, which is a rebate that provides $2,500 per graduate who stays in Nova Scotia in the form of an income tax credit. So if we increase the amount available to students who graduate in Nova Scotia and stay and work here, although it might not be as good as a broad based tuition freeze or tuition decrease, it’s something that I think the government will actually listen to and it would affect the lives of lots of students. Unfortunately the current approach just hasn’t been working.

2. Be a more representative student leader. It feels like a few hundred students are intimately involved with the student union and the rest are left at the wayside. As president, I would do my best to change this culture and represent every student, whether they’re a part of the silent majority which I feel like I’ve been in my years at Dal, or someone who has been involved with the DSU, I think the president needs to represent the voices of everyone. Also, we can start by changing how commissioners are brought in. I think commissioners need to be appointed by council. Additionally we can get societies more engaged, provide more of a focus on the position of society coordinator, and work with societies to get students more excited with DSU initiatives.

3. Bring some common sense to the position. Current council executives and executives in the recent past have made quite a few relatively foolish decisions. Look for practical solutions, make as much money as possible without raising student dues because we already pay enough. What I’m saying is that I’d treat the students as they deserve to be treated, which is my employer and not an endless pool of funds or a loose concept, I’d be directly responsible for them and to them.

G: What’s your stance on the DSU potentially leaving CASA?

K: The current proposal to leave the Canadian Alliance of Students Association (CASA), which Dalhousie help found, quite frankly confounds me because I think Dalhousie needs to have a voice in the national educational arena. And what’s even more shocking was their lack of transparency in making that proposal. The fact that they didn’t consult with any students before making that proposal is disappointing. With that sort of closed door mentality, I just don’t see the union engaging students.

G: What are your thoughts on the new food-service system in the SUB?

K: It’s hard to have a firm grasp on this because a lot of the contract details are difficult to access but my understanding is that the current system just isn’t profitable. This year we’re making significantly less than with our past contract, and the executive is expecting the students to pay for it in the form of a due hike. If this current strategy isn’t going to be profitable in the long term, we need to look at other possible ways to provide food for students.

G: What do you think of the lack of women running in the election?

K: I really wish there were more because I think having a greater proportion of women in this election would bring about a different approach. I don’t know specifically what we could do to combat it, I don’t think quotas are the answer. I certainly think that no matter who wins this election, we’ll certainly have to address that in this and recent past elections there hasn’t been gender equality.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Watch one of Komlodi’s campaign videos:

Other candidates for President are: Matt FitzGerald-Chamberlain and Sagar Jha.

Claire Wählen
Claire Wählen
Claire was News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Wahlen.
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