Campaign Statement

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    • #196980

      “Services For Our Purposes”

    • #197004

      I am running to fix problems, not to pad my resume.

      I want to start by mentioning that a student in this forum during the 2020 by-election pointed out a lack of land acknowledgements in campaign statements back then, and the AUSU team promised they would give space to include them this go-around. Despite that, land acknowledgements were not a part of the candidate package we all submitted. Instead, they were an afterthought requested weeks later. Performative allyship doesn’t fit into my vison of AUSU, and I know AU as whole can do better.

      I am a Métis person living in Treaty 6 territory. It is the traditional and ancestral territory of the Cree (my heritage), Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and Nakota Sioux. It has always been their home and always will be. Before writing a land acknowledgement I would ask that a person really think about what they are acknowledging and why. Does beginning a paragraph with “We acknowledge Treaty 6 territory…” and then listing a serious of nations you may or may not know anything about accomplish something? What *are* you acknowledging by doing that? The recent tragedy in the news regarding the 215 (and counting) children’s bodies recovered from a residential school site in Kamloops, BC, has been particularly difficult to cope with for me. Not because of the tragedy itself (horrible as it is) but because of the world’s reaction to it. When I first read about the discovery, I thought it would be a headline for a day and then fade into the background like it always has before, because I thought this was common knowledge and I was beyond disheartened to realize it isn’t.

      You see, I grew up with stories of my great grandmother’s experiences in a residential school. Her brother, my great-great uncle, was beaten for speaking Cree as an 8 year old until his back broke. He has been in a wheelchair his entire life. Canadians *do* learn about this in school, even if it is a footnote. These experiences have been depicted in Emmy-winning dramas, documentaries, and New York Times bestselling novels for years, and yet somehow in 2021 the world is collectively shocked at the discovery of indigenous children’s bodies in residential schools, when it was never a secret to begin with? The world’s response has been upsetting to me, because it means people were faced with this information time and time again and chose to ignore it until it became a trending topic. Only now are these experiences worthy of headlines. So when you write a land acknowledgement, please first understand what that acknowledgement means. Please reflect on whether you “knew” about what transpired in residentials prior to last week. If you did and yet you are just now feeling shock, why is that? And if you truly had no knowledge about residential schools until this week, why? There is a lot of work still to be done, but land acknowledgements as an after thought or a weird new thing you know is necessary but don’t know why is not a part of that work. Leave it out if you don’t understand, it’s okay, I promise. Come back and enthusiastically include it when you do, if you want to support First Nations in Canada in their pursuit of #landback.

      Alright, now for my actual campaign statement!

      My name is Marley (as in Bob) and I am entering my 3rd year as a Political Science student at AU. I am a chocolate, chicken wings, and coffee lover, and an all-around political junkie. If you can’t tell yet, I’m pretty serious about advocacy. I have been volunteering with several political organizations for years, though I started on this path in high school when I joined the TUXIS Youth Parliament of Alberta and was elected Deputy Minister of Social Action in my first year. After I finish my undergraduate degree at AU I hope to pursue a master’s degree in Global Affairs (and maybe policy) from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the UofT. With that academic background I will pursue a career in – you guessed it – indigenous advocacy. I want to change the relationship between the Government of Canada and Indigenous groups for the better. Historically, this relationship has only been improved via international pressure (UNDRIP being a recent example) and so I’m going to knock on the doors of Canada’s trading partners and develop policy in collaboration with them to improve the social landscape of the Great White North, Kanata.

      In the meantime, I want to make AU a better school and help students reach their goals so that they can change the world too. First on the list of problems to solve is communication, or lack thereof. Any relationship councilor or business mediator will tell you, in all caps, COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Without it, everything else in a relationship or business enterprise will kind of suck and you will start noticing budget inefficiencies, resentment, and a high turnover rate. Does any of this sound familiar as to your experience with Athabasca University so far? The great news is, communication issues are super easy to solve. All you have to do is talk. Really.

      If you elect me to AUSU council, I am going to talk to administration, students, and AUSU until lines of communication are established that actually hold water and until things start improving. I want you to be able to get in touch with your TAs. I want you to be able to expect an email response from administration in less than 5 business days, even during emergencies (because the turn around time at a brick-and-mortar school is hours), and I want you to be able to reach out to your classmates if you want to and get to know your peers. The catch is that sometimes I will do this talking in lowercase AND SOMETIMES IN UPPERCASE, whatever the situation calls for.

      Now you know what you’ll be getting yourselves into by electing me. If you have any questions or suggestions as to what you want to see happen at AU over the next year, please message me on the AU student app. I promise to respond in less than 5 business days!


      If you have a cat please tell it “pssss ppsssss psss” from me and consider increasing its rations of treats.

      • #197106

        Hey Marley,
        I am also a proud Metis woman from Region 3 and I went back and forth on whether I should say something, but thought I needed to be honest with you. You don’t speak for all of us and what and how you said what you did about the land acknowledgments and recent public findings about residential schools was very disrespectful. First, although I can understand and share in your frustration and pain, this is the first time people outside of our community are learning and paying attention to our people’s history. By completely dehumanizing and dismissing their initial attempts to learn and pay attention to the traditional lands, peoples, and stories, you are judging people without knowing anything about them or where they also come from. That is not our way. Second, if elected you will need to work with people who do not share your background and that means you probably shouldn’t put people down that you want to establish communication with. Our people offer tobacco to start communication from a place of heart-to-heart honesty with the goal of understanding and resolution. When we smudge, we cleanse our ears to hear what others have to say and we cleanse our mouth to take care with what we say.
        I wish you all the best and hope you consider deeply what I have said.
        Good luck with your studies.

    • #197036

      My name is Cassandra MacKay (although you can call me Cassie) and I am running to help AU build on its already great reputation and to be the great university we all know it can be!

      I am just finishing my first year of my BA Psychology concentration (although I have been a student since November 2019). Some of my favourite things, aside from enjoying my studies, include politics, animals, music, and traveling. I feel like I can relate to just about anyone that attends AU on one level or another: I have several disabilities and medical conditions that I champion over everyday (I even have a YouTube channel that I use for advocacy and awareness), I tried university direct from high school and learned for me it was best to wait a few years which helps me understand both types of students, I also work full time half the year and, lastly, I’ve been self funded and government funded and can understand the positives and negatives of both. After I finish this degree, I’m planning on getting my Bachelor in Education and, once finished, will hopefully move to Scotland and teach.

      My teaching dreams are still a few years away though so let’s focus on the present. Right now, I admit AU is pretty amazing but I do see quite a bit of potential for it to be more amazing. With tuition rumoured to rise again this fall, I believe this issue is of the most concern. Realistically, I realize getting elected mid summer is probably a bit too late to stop this increase but I will do anything and everything in my power to prevent future increases, initiate a decrease, or improve the amount of scholarships and awards available. I also feel like us as students need better communication with our tutors. Not everyone is able to call in during office hours or feels comfortable talking on the phone. With Microsoft Teams included in our AU provided Microsoft Office Suite, it would be great if we could get tutors on there at least a couple of hours a week to either video chat or message with students in real time.

      If you elect me to the AUSU council, not only will I work day and night to find a way for AU to lower costs and still make a profit, I will also communicate with faculties and administration to see about improving communication with tutors as mentioned above. I will also listen to the concerns of my fellow students and the faculty and do everything in my power to resolve any additional issues brought to my attention by either party. These very well may be my priorities but they are far from the only issues I will work on if elected.

      If elected, you will never have any doubts about whether or not I am here for you. I have both Outlook (AU email), Facebook and even instagram on my phone, iPad and computer. If I get any notifications of people trying to reach me, I always will read through the message within the hour and reply the same day (unless I’m sleeping!).

      I’m not here for me, I’m here for YOU!

    • #197042

      Leah Campbell here! I’ll keep this brief.

      I’m running for council to be a voice for those who feel underrepresented, to ensure the needs of the student body are considered in all decisions, and to enact the necessary changes to continue the upward momentum of the current student union.

      I am excited to work as part of a team, meet new people, and create a lasting impact. Doing all this with the utmost respect for those involved, the students we represent, and the school that we are a part of.

    • #197043
      Joel Palyga

      Good day everyone! Thank you for taking the time to read the candidates’ campaign statements and participate in this important process for strong student advocacy. I know your time is valuable so I will keep this brief.

      I am running to be a member of student council to give back to the AU and AUSU community. AU and AUSU have fostered such a strong and positive culture for learning. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities AU has provided me to continue my post-secondary learning. Moreover, I am grateful for my fellow AUSU students who continue to foster this great culture of learning.

      I am a huge supporter of making education (at all levels) accessible to everyone. Advocating for subsidized education from both provincial and federal governments is a key contributor to ensuring that we are able to break down financial barriers that would discourage or inhibit someone from continuing to pursue their education.

      In addition to that, we still have many societal issues that we must confront and continue to solve. University is the launching pad for most of our future careers and the values we will take forward into the rest of our lives. Values including inclusion, cooperation, and understanding of ourselves and our fellow humans. I commit to continue to foster an environment of AUSU that supports these values.

      Please feel free to comment, or reach out to me through the AUSU app if you have any questions. I look forward to any questions or comments you may have.

      Thank you to my fellow candidates for stepping up to continue the good work of AUSU. I wish everyone the best of luck. Finally, thank you to all of you, the students of AUSU, for your dedication and contributions to AU. Please remember to cast your vote on June 24 – 28!

    • #197045
      Amy Mayer

      Hi! My name is Amy Mayer, and I’m running in the AUSU by-election for student council.

      How can we make our online experience better?
      How can we come together as an online community to make our learning experience richer?
      How can we make AUSU serve student’s distinct needs in a virtual environment?

      Individually we don’t have the answers.
      Collectively we are so much stronger.
      And together, we can make things better.

      One voice. Forward. Amy.

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