DSU Election Coquitlam Candidates Forum
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Last week, a candidate forum took place at David Lam campus as part of the DSU Election campaign. Contrary to the previous year, only one team is running—Team Action. Though Team Action has faced many student issues and prevailed, they believe that they have more to prove if elected again. Five members of Team Action attended the Coquitlam campus forum.
Aran Armutlu, running for re-election as Director of Finance, called for an equal amount of resources at both campuses.
“We have plans to build a DSU office at David Lam. We’ve always valued equality, and we’ve already hired a full time staff so students can go to the Coquitlam campus for an abundance of resources. We are working towards more presence here, with student and staff spaces and all the services offered for clubs to be available, all things that the David Lam campus will see in the future,” said Armutlu. “An accessible education is the most important, especially with rising tuition costs. A big part of what we do is campaign, with Squash the Squeeze as our biggest success. The provincial government decreased the interest rate for student loans and that’s a victory—something that we will continue to fight for.”
When it comes to open source textbooks, Armutlu believes that students and professors shouldn’t be the only ones addressing the matter, but also the publishing press. Similar to previous campaigns, he hopes to continue lobbying for this issue if elected.
Telka Pesklevits, running for election as Women’s Representative, said she believes that there is a lack of women in male-dominated programs such as engineering.
“If elected, I will make sure that these programs aren’t just targeted to a male audience, but to females who are interested as well. As an executive at the Women’s Collective, we’ve booked a speaker on an upcoming weekly basis, creating the opportunity to see strong females in leadership,” said Pesklevits.
“Altogether […] we should support women in society. We are continuing weekly coffee houses at the collective that are open to those who don’t self-identify as women as well. Our goal is to bring awareness on how all genders can bring support to women’s issues at the college.”
Sahara Tom, running for re-election as Aboriginal Representative, hopes to increase awareness of services available on campus for students, especially Aboriginal students, if elected.
“Along with coordinators, I aim to create an Aboriginal student orientation starting in the upcoming fall semester,” shares Tom.
When it comes to pertinent issues surrounding Aboriginal rights in the community, Tom hopes to work alongside fellow students and professors to lobby for keeping local government accountable on promises they have made.
Paul Wittayaworapat, running for election as Director of Campus Life, wants advertisements for social events to be increased, noting that if there isn’t a table in the concourse or promotions on social media, the students won’t show up. In addition, Wittayaworapat addressed the promotion of pub nights.
“At pub night, we don’t purchase alcohol or promote the consumption. We create events such as this to improve the social life aspect of being a college student. [The choice to drink] is their own decision.”
Lastly, Francis Ataiza, running for election as Coquitlam Campus Director, praises the recently implemented Evergreen Line, and promised that those who make the trek to the David Lam campus won’t miss out on student life and important events.
“At Douglas, we are proud of our community in New West, which is already pretty solid. If elected, I will make sure that every student’s voice is being heard at both campuses,” said Ataiza. “My job is to ensure that events get planned here and will cater to students. I can’t wait to get some work done and take action.”
Voting for the DSU Elections take place from March 6–10. Polling stations are open in the concourse and outside the Library at the New Westminster campus, and in the AB Atrium at David Lam.