Posted in News, Top News

SFSS Byelection Update

Candidates Announced


Presidents! Who they are? What are they running on? Have they been the president yet? Do they think Willie Desjardins should be fired?

Larissa Chen


The prior VP Student Services for the SFSS, as well as the interim president for the board since Deepak stepped down. She’s focusing her campaign around her experience on board as interim president, and is looking for students to choose her to continue and finish the year strong as president. She doesn’t follow hockey, so she has no stance on Willie Desjardins.

Darien Lechner


The dark horse candidate, having no experience on board before (although he joined the Advocacy Committee after losing the presidential race in the spring general election). Biggest issues are transparency on board, and taking a closer look at Build SFU and the accompanying levy. He thinks that Desjardins should be fired if the Canucks lose to the Leafs, but if they win we should have another look after Christmas.

Deepak Sharma


The last elected president, who had to resign a month in after he didn’t enroll in any classes. He wants to earn back students’ trust and respect, and repeatedly insisted he wants to fulfill the commitment he intended when he was first elected. He believes that Willie Desjardins is doing the best he can, and the fanbase should remain faithful and see the season through.

The Debates 

Vancouver debate

The only candidate who showed up on time was faculty of environment rep candidate Supreet Malhi, although Lechner did show up late. However, this was a better showing than the student body — no one showed up.

Surrey debate

Attendance was much better in Surrey, as far as both students and candidates were concerned. All the aforementioned candidates were there, as well as Thadoe Wai, the other candidate for enviro. rep. The debate ran the full two hours, as the question period for presidential candidates was peppered with question after question. Topics ranged from the stadium closure to board transparency to the individual circumstances behind everyone running.

Lechner showed signs of life by taking some shots at his running mates, at one point saying, “You’re not going to get a real answer from other candidates.”

After not showing up to the previous debate and submitting his platform late, Sharma came on time this time around. He said several times that he wanted to earn back the trust of students and wanted to fulfill the commitment he made to them. This is in contrast to Sharma’s only choosing to run in the byelection at the last minute, which would explain his absences and late submissions.   

Chen seemed the coolest under all the pressure, sticking to her speaking points and constantly referring to her experience on board, and telling students to trust that if they feel they are getting value for what they are paying, the Board of Directors is doing right by them. This came after several inquiries about the Board’s decisions and operations, spurred by the Build SFU project and stadium cancellation.

What’s Next?

The campaigning period ends this week, with the final debate taking place Wednesday November 9 at 12:30 p.m. on Burnaby Mountain. Students should expect posters to plaster the walls by then, as Sharma’s challenge to go paperless (made a week into the campaign, after the other candidates had ordered posters) fell on deaf ears. The voting will take place the week after, from the 15th to the 17th.