Dirk Slot is an independent running in the 2018 UVSS Election for Director of Student Affairs.
What are the three most important aspects of your campaign platform?
When I put my platform together, the most important aspect for me was making the whole process a little friendlier. So, my platform is more of a cover letter, because I’m looking at it like it’s an important job. Instead of a lot of big ideas, I thought I’d try to focus more on making it work, making it better to interact with people as a foundation.
What did last year’s board do well and what did they do poorly?
They mention trying to be more transparent, but they come across being less transparent. It might not be the case all the time, but when it comes across that way that’s what people see. So, they leave that impression.
What compelled you to run in this election?
It was pretty last minute, getting involved. But I’m taking it seriously. At least having me run is like a choice. Because I didn’t realize that if I wasn’t running, students wouldn’t have a choice. The bigger picture is there were 17 Director positions open, and only two are going to be voted on. I didn’t know if was going to be that serious.
I care a lot about the clubs and course unions system. I’m president of two clubs, that I care about quite a bit, and a course union. I’ve been president of the Chemisty course union. Not having anybody run for it, I thought wasn’t right.
What is the biggest issue students on campus face, and how would you address it if elected?
I think the biggest issue, and it’s always been an issue but now it’s accelerating, is housing. I think it’s worse than people realize. Hopefully someone has got nominated for International Student Representative, because I know for a number of international students — say if you want to rent a room near UVic they’re paying I think a premium over Canadian students, because Canadian students can dig around a little more.
What can we do to fix that? I mean, for international students, maybe they could be educated on a little more about what their renters rights are. Living in Canada, in B.C., there’s a lot of information for us — maybe we could translate a little bit of it? Just to be fair.
Are you concerned about the lack of candidates in this election?
I’m very concerned, very concerned, very very concerned. Where was the ball dropped? I don’t know if anybody is really to blame, because you know the question is how do we get more people to vote possibly, but the thing is it’s been dropping quite a bit.
Last year there was a fairly big election, looking at the numbers — I think I read it in the Martlet — they just made the minimum number of voters to actually have the election stand. So, where does that put me and Ciel? There’s only two of us running in an election. Will students bother voting?
Last year’s election saw a small voter turnout. How do you intend to raise student participation?
I think we will get enough people to vote. I’m hoping to get more of an independent vote. I think a lot of people are not voting because they look at one slate or the other and they’re not talking to them.
And that brings up another argument. In UBC, slates are banned. Being an independent, should I say slates are banned here? I don’t think so. Even though they kind of seem a little negative, there’s strength in having numbers of people working towards the same plan. I don’t think those good things would happen without slates.
What should the main job of the UVSS be?
I think what the UVSS should be doing is doing more for students here and now. Getting back to basics. I’m getting the impression, and I think some other people I know [are too], that things are kind of sliding a little bit.
“When I put my platform together, the most important aspect for me was making the whole process a little friendlier.”
In past elections, independent candidates and small parties have struggled to gain recognition against full slates. How do you intend to overcome this?
I think that it’s already overcome. Because, usually you have two slates and an independent, so you’re off to the side. Now, there’s just a whole slate and me and Ciel. Here’s another thing that I still haven’t heard from the Elections Office about — we each have a very minimal budget to work with. The thing is, on a slate, they combine all that funding. Where does that leave me [and Ciel]? There’s only two of us running, so how fair is that really? But, it’s ok. I’m running more for the position, not against a slate. That’s how I look at it.
What do you think is important for students to know about your campaign and the upcoming elections?
I just want it to be friendlier; that is my big idea I want to get out to people. There’s not a lot of bullet points or anything, but bullet points, I mean, people are starting to read through them.
The funny thing is, if I’m elected, it’s just me and everyone else from the other slate. The election’s already over. I’d have no problem working with them. They have good ideas. They want to work for the UVSS, that’s great. I just want to do my best for the clubs and course unions.
The voting period for the 2018 UVSS Election is February 28th – March 2nd. For more election coverage, follow the Martlet on Twitter and Facebook.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.