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Candidate profile: Taylor Quinn

Board of Governors representative candidate Taylor Quinn. (Photo by Bryn Karcha, DSU)
Board of Governors representative candidate Taylor Quinn. (Photo by Bryn Karcha, DSU)

Name: Taylor Quinn

Age: 21

Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Program: Combined Honours in International Development Studies and Social Anthropology, 3rd year

Position: Board of Governors Representative

 

Dalhousie Gazette: Why do you want to be on the Board of Governors?

Taylor Quinn: I want to be on the Board of Governors more than anything else because over the last few years at Dal I’ve tried to create change on the ground—whether within my department or society or with room bookings, with numerous different issues over the last couple years. Ultimately, you need to get to the root of the problem, and that kind of structural change. From my experience, the Board of Governors is a place where a lot of that structural change can be discussed.

DG: What do you plan to do once you’re elected?

TQ: Once I’m elected, I plan to, more than anything else, keep doing what I’ve been doing during campaigning. I feel like it’s great that there’s a one-week period every year where potential student leaders are out talking to students, but I want to try to keep that going. And that’s why I’ve been giving everyone my phone number. I want to continue those conversations with the students who are involved, but also the students who aren’t involved, and try to see what the issues are from different perspectives. And then, ultimately, hold people accountable.

DG: If you had been on the Board of Governors this year, what issue would you have brought up?

TQ: It’s been a really interesting year on the Board of Governors. Divest Dal was an important issue, the board meetings were seen as a place for students to go to discuss that, and I really think that was amazing. And that was really exciting, to see a student group be that organized and really make that much traction within a year. I think the Board of Governors reps, to be honest, did do a good job, and did focus on the issues that students cared about. I personally would have brought up the library issues on the board, quite a bit, which were brought up by the current board members. I started the petition through my involvement with the Arts & Social Sciences Society, so that’s an issue I would have discussed.

DG: What role do you see the Board of Governors having in the upcoming year?

TQ: In this upcoming year, the university’s at a very interesting time. I’m very excited that within the BAC report, there’s been a formal recommendation to review URBA, which is how the university allocates money to its faculties. So I think this upcoming year will be very interesting because that review of how the university’s budget is done will be completed. I hope that’s a big issue that comes up on the board, and looking at the student services budget is something I think is very important. My priorities are student wellness, international student services, and interdisciplinary education; and those are common themes that students seem to care about right now. But, how can we get the money to fund those things? That’s ultimately the question. And where does the money go currently, and how can we make sure the money’s going to what students care about the most? That’s what I’m going to be fighting for.

DG: What capital projects are you most in support of?

TQ: There’s a ton of great things that need to happen at Dalhousie, and I think everyone recognizes that. We need a new arena—our athletic facilities are not where they need to be. The library is not by any means the most eye-catching building in the world. But more than anything else, the biggest priority I would see for capital projects would really be the IDEA building on Sexton campus.

I think especially for capital projects that take a lot of resources, academic buildings should be the priority. All of those other things are super important, but ultimately if we don’t have the spaces in which to learn, we’re just a fun type of hotel, an all-inclusive resort.

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?

TQ: I’m a very strong believer that we need to have external advocacy and that we need to work with the government and different levels of government in order to increase funding, ideally. In a perfect world, make education more broadly affordable for all students. But I’m a big believer that there’s a lot of money here at Dalhousie. And the university, each year, gets a lot of money. The question is not so much, trying to get money from the government short term-wise. The short term priority should be, how can we get the university to give more money to students? So whether that’s student services, lower tuition, keeping good profs on staff and keeping class sizes small. Those are the kind of things I would work on, and that I have been working on. The library is a good example. The university said, “The library has to face a cut.” And it was cut. But when students gathered together, the money was there to refund the libraries. And there’s numerous committee meetings that have catered lunches every week.

DG: You were rumoured to be considering an executive position; why have you instead run for BoG?

TQ: I’ve been involved in the union for a long time and I definitely considered running for an executive position. But then, more than anything else, why I do all this stuff, and why I’m involved in societies and the DSU more broadly, is because I love chatting with students. More importantly, I want to spend my time next year chatting with students, and I thought the best place to do that would be on the Board of Governors. The DSU execs, those are all amazing roles, and I’m excited for whoever gets those positions. But they’re time-consuming. You have to sit in a ton of meetings, you don’t have all that time to chat with students. So that’s why I’m committing to making a coffee promise, where I’ll go on a coffee date with anyone who wants to talk, or I’ll text back-and-forth with anyone who has questions about what’s going on at our university and our student union. I want to be that accessible voice. It’s a simple concept to just say, “Send me a text if you ever have a question about the DSU,” but that’s the thing I can do to create change. So I’m going to try and do it.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. 

Online: http://www.votetaylorquinn.com/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215541941988070/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/votetaylorquinn

Jesse Ward
Jesse Ward
Jesse, editor-in-chief of the Gazette, is a fifth-year student of journalism at Dalhousie and the University of King’s College. He started university with three years of experience writing for Teens Now Talk magazine, where he is now copy editor. Before writing a story Jesse likes to think about how his metal detector could finally be useful in researching this one, but there is never a way it could be. Jesse has produced writing and interactive features for Globalnews.ca and The Chronicle Herald. He may be followed on Twitter, @RealJesseWard, or from the Gazette office on Mondays around 8 p.m. to his home in West End Halifax. Email Jesse at editor@dalgazette.com.
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