Gabriel Goodman may be new to King’s but he’s got political prowess on campus. He won the five-person first-year representative race by 11 votes, and, since then, Goodman has put a strong focus on communication throughout the King’s community. Recently, he has been involved in drafting the school’s strategic plan and advocating for the release of the new Sodexo contract to the public.
Now Goodman is running for one of two Board of Governors representative spots.
The Watch: What made you want run for the Board of Governors position?
Gabriel Goodman: I think my qualifications are good for this but I also think it is an important position. I really want to work and be a representative of the students and their voice on the Board of Governors.
W: How has your experience on the King’s Students’ Union (KSU) made you a good candidate for this position?
GG: I think facilitation and communication are skills you need when dealing with different bodies…Through student council and the various student causes I have been a part of, I have gained experience interacting with the president, the Board of Governors and the administration of the school. It is important to have a good understanding of how this things work and I think I have that.
W: What would you like to accomplish as a student representative?
GG: I think representation is a big part of what I would like to accomplish, finding out what students want and bringing that to the Board of Governors. I mean, it is not an activist position. It is a representative position. It is important to remember that my aims and the students’ aims may not be exactly the same. I would like to think they are. I would like to think that my aims are the students’ but that isn’t always true. It is important to remember that.
W: You seem to strongly oppose the new athletics fee. Where would you rather spend money?
GG: The athletics fee itself isn’t a problem. I don’t have a problem having access to that. In the end it would be better for King’s to have a stronger athletics facility of our own rather than Dalhousie’s athletic facility… Things like the Pit are hugely important. I think the Pit is a more productive use of funds in terms of facilities because the Pit and the KTS are a pillar of the King’s community. It needs to be better supported.
W: You have said that King’s is becoming increasingly antiquated. What do you mean by that?
GG: Look around us, we are a very waspy institution. We are predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. This is something that the administration is also recognizing. Enrolment can’t depend on a very specific demographic of the Canadian population anymore. We need to be much more flexible and become relevant to tomorrow rather than yesterday. We spend a lot of time looking at the past but we need to focus on the future as well.
W: As a supporter of the new strategic plan, where would you like to see King’s in the next five years?
GG: I would like to the administration and the students working really well together. I think there has been a lot of friction in the past years … I would like to see the administration and students work very closely together in a more structural sense. If students have input on certain issues that appear every so often that’s good but it is better for them to be institutionally involved in the running of the school … This isn’t a factory for producing degrees, this is a community dedicated to education and that needs to be better reflected.
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Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand is a third year history of science and technology student. She sits on the Galley board as well as the food advisory committee, and she’s the co-president of the Student Horticulturalists, which she co-founded last year. On top of Roberts-Stahlbrand’s involvement in the King’s community, she is also actively involved in the general community as a youth member of the Nova Scotia Food Policy Council. Roberts-Stahlbrand’s passion to “fight for the specific character of King’s” but also to “promote change,” is what has pushed her to run for student representative on the Board of Governors. She’s focusing on governance review and the implementation of the strategic plan.
The Watch: What changes do you propose for the mechanisms of the Board of Governors?
Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand: One of the big suggestions is that we should focus on community-based decision making, which I think is a really important thing to do. I think that it should be written into the governance procedure that students must be consulted in all big contracts, that is the biggest change I would like to see. And also just getting more student representation on the board of governors, right now there is only ten percent, and considering we are a university for students that seems quite small.
W: How do you plan on getting more student representation?
AR: Perhaps getting letter writing campaigns going so that the administration understands that this really is an issue that is important to all students and not just me and my fellow BoG reps. Just putting in the discourse as Foucault might say.
W: What qualifies you above the others and what role does your time at King’s play in this?
AR: Well first off, one of my favorite quotes is, “Age doesn’t matter unless you’re cheese,” so I mean I don’t think that just because I am older I am better than anyone, but I mean, I do think that you gain life experience. Part of it is just learning new things through school which just gives you new ways of seeing the world and which helps you be able to back up your opinions, especially through King’s courses because it helps you learn how to think critically and justify things. I also think that I have had three years here to participate in the King’s community and learn what students are concerned about and just build my skills in communicating and advocating.
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Student life vice-president
W: What is your stance on the food issues here at Kings?
AR: Anne Leavitt promised that she would consult students about the Sodexo contract, and then Gerry Smith, who was the then-bursar, signed it behind the backs of students and faculty in January, and faculty didn’t find out until May and students didn’t find out until after. So, take food out of the equation. To promise students one thing and then go behind their backs and sign a big contract – one that goes until 2017 – is just not a respectful thing to do and not really a good way to maintain a positive relationship. On the food issue specifically, I don’t think that food is a commodity just like any other. Food is a more important thing, and it shouldn’t be seen as a way to cut costs. Food is something that you are taking from the environment and putting into yourself. It is a very important part of who you are, it changes how you behave and how you feel and it also has a huge impact on the environment and can also connect you to the community or separate you from the community depending on where you get your food and so I think that it is an important thing that can have a really positive impact if you get your food from somewhere that promotes food sovereignty and local economy and makes people feel proud of the school for their good decisions with food. Also, the students have no choice; once you live in res you have to pay for Sodexo, so, to not consult the students in something they are already limited to, is not very fair.
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As she campaigns for a seat as a Board of Governors rep, Karis Tees says she hopes her diversity of experience will make her a valuable member of council.
You may have met her earlier this year as she solicited responses for the letter that the KSU’s external committee, Action! King’s, prepared as an answer to the university’s Strategic Planning Initiative.
A second-year student in religious studies and contemporary studies, it’s Tees’s first time running for council.
In addition to being an active member of the Strategic Planning Committee, Tees serves as a student rep with the Chapel’s Presidential Advisory Committee. She enjoys the close relationship she shares with the faculty there.
Last December, she planned a vigil with the King’s Feminist Collective in remembrance of the victims of the École Polytechnique shooting of 1989.
We spoke with Tees after she returned from a trip to Port Williams with the King’s Chapel Choir.
The Watch: Why is this the position that you decided to run for?
Karis Tees: That’s a great question. Nick (Hatt) and Omri (Haiven) mentioned that I would be, that I could do it, and I thought, “Yes, I could do that.” During my time at King’s I’ve just become increasingly interested in how it kind of works and how everything works above, you know, what goes on on the ground on campus. And in the student government and then, you know, the supreme governing body, the Board. So I know lots of students, I’m comfortable with the faces and I’m all over campus all the time. And I also really enjoy committee meetings! And I really enjoy engaging the faculty and you know, trying to keep King’s great.
W: Why do you think that specifically the Board of Governor’s rep position is an important one?
KT: I guess there’s kind of two sides to that, because it’s kind of a two-sided position. In terms of being on the board as a student, obviously that’s hugely important, because there’s only three of us. And because we’re the ones learning and we’re the ones, you know, experiencing everyday life here. I think there’s a huge gap between how the board sees King’s, maybe, and how the students see King’s. I think that we agree on what’s good, but maybe not about how to make it better. And I find that, George Cooper mentioned that, you know, when he took his position as president he had no idea what King’s students were really like. And you know, students have no idea what the board’s really like, and I have no idea what the board’s really like. The idea of being a liaison between the board and the council is so appealing to me. It’s just so important to have all these perspectives, so important for King’s to keep its integrity.
W: What’s one of the best times you’ve had here so far – one of your best distinctly King’s memories?
KT: Okay, a distinctly King’s memory? Last year, someone was tabling something outside of Prince Hall. I can’t remember what it was for, whether it was elections or something. It was Taylor Syracuse, actually. And he had a guitar going and he was like, “Do you have a melodica?” Like a little piano thing. I didn’t, but the person across the hall from me did. So I brought a melodica and a guitar, and then we just had a massive three, four hour jam sesh right outside Prince Hall. And there was a tour group coming through, and that’s probably what made it distinctly King’s for me, I think — is having prospective students come in and see this crazy ten, fifteen people playing crazy instruments right outside the meal hall. That was pretty distinctly King’s for me, yeah.
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