Queen's University — Since 1873
18th October 2011

Six candidates vie for rector role

Rector candidates talk about presence on campus, political involvement and student input

Six rector candidates are currently campaigning.  Front row: Laura Stairs (left), Asad Chishti, David Myers and Robyn Laing. Back row: Mike Cannon (left) and Nick Francis. Elections occur on Oct. 25 and 26.
Six rector candidates are currently campaigning. Front row: Laura Stairs (left), Asad Chishti, David Myers and Robyn Laing. Back row: Mike Cannon (left) and Nick Francis. Elections occur on Oct. 25 and 26. (Justin Chin)

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The campaign period for a new rector started nearly two months after Nick Day resigned from the position.

At AMS Assembly on Oct. 13, six candidates were approved. Mike Cannon, Asad Chishti, Nick Francis, Robyn Laing, David Myers and Laura Stairs.

Each candidate had to collect 800 signatures before the campaign period, amounting to approximately four per cent of the Queen’s student body.

Mike Cannon

Cannon, ArtSci ’12, said he plans to engage students by being available on campus.

“Literally going out, walking through Mac-Corry, walking through the ARC, going out to BioSci, setting up a booth where everyone can see you,” he said.

Cannon said the rector’s job is to deal with internal politics and not advocate externally.

“There’s enough issues that this school needs to address before addressing any others,” he said.

Asad Chishti

Chishti, Sci ’14, said he decided to run for rector because he noticed a growing gap between the administration and students.

“The only way you can know anything is if you’re on the inside,” he said.

Chishti also said he’ll work to become a presence on campus.

“It’s okay if students don’t know who the rector is initially, as long as the rector gets to know the students,” he said.

Chishti is currently taking a leave of absence from his position as an assistant photo editor at the Journal until the end of the campaign.

Nick Francis

Francis, ArtSci ’13, said he’s already been involved in student discussions surrounding issues like SOLUS.

“I started a SOLUS group on Facebook called ‘Share Your SOLUS Experience’ and students shared their experiences in a thoughtful and credible way,” he said.

Francis added that one of his goals if he’s elected is to keep students updated with what’s going on around campus.

“It’s as simple as having a blog or a monthly email report that has bullet points on what the administration is doing and what the rector is doing,” he said.

Robyn Laing

Laing, ArtSci ’11 and MES ’13, said she plans to be a resource for students.

“Going out to different groups and asking them what their priorities are … realizing your office is the campus, going out and speaking to these students,” last year’s ASUS vice-president said.

Laing said she plans to represent and advocate for the student body through the creation of groups to speak to students on campus.

“I would like to strike up committees that serve to gauge student opinion on a variety of issues.”

David Myers

Myers, ArtSci ’08 and JD ’13, said he’s begun showing students what kind of rector he would be by running a transparent campaign.

“On the website, I’ve been throwing up receipts of expenditures for the campaign in advance, even though stuff’s not due until the [Oct. 25],” he said.

Myers’ website and Twitter handle is Queen’s Rector. He said he chose the handle because it was easy to remember and grabbed attention.

“The responses I’ve gotten have been quite positive,” he said.

Laura Stairs

Stairs, who has taken a leave of absence from her position as AMS Food Centre director, said one thing she hopes to accomplish is to make education more affordable for students.

“Something I’ve been working on with the AMS and the administration is a two-semester payment system so that students aren’t forced to pay the large lumps of money up front,” Stairs, ArtSci ’12, said.

Stairs added that if elected, she would change the rector website so that students can access information faster.

“I’d want to include things about financial aid at our school, about mental health resources, about upcoming events and make it a hub of information,” she said.

Voting for the rector election will happen on Oct. 25 and 26.

— With files from Catherine Owsik, Jordan Ray and Meaghan Wray

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