USU Board candidates 2021: Pablo Avaria-Jimenez

Honi's profile and interview with 2021 USU Board candidate Pablo Avaria-Jimenez.

Slogan: Pablo’s HERE

Colour: Green

Quiz score: 23%

Faction: Independent (ties to SULC)

Pablo Avaria-Jimenez is a bit of a political wildcard in this election. He’s a member of the Young Liberals, and has campaigned for Liberal candidates in previous USU and SRC elections such as Ben Hines, Cady Brown and Josie Jakovac. Nevertheless, Avaria-Jimenez told Honi that he is self-managing his campaign (which is decked out in bright, Nickelodeon-slime green), without the support of his faction (who are backing fellow Liberals Nicholas Comino and David Zhu). Though he believes the USU should be “extremely apolitical,” he welcomes it taking stances on “issues that affect all students,” such as 12-week semesters. Avaria-Jimenez isn’t an executive of any other campus clubs, so we are curious to see where his support base will come from.

He wants to revive Manning (who doesn’t?) and trial it as a nightclub-style venue once a week, which could prove feasible and popular. His leather jacket will certainly suit the role of nightclub baron. However he didn’t advance other strategies to improve campus culture, other than making Welcome Week in Sem 2 just as big as Sem 1. He faltered on his knowledge of the new C&S funding model (only stating he would support “increased funding for activities”). His policy to improve students’ mental health (a new “life hub” space) would be difficult, considering current expenditure constraints, and he did not touch on current institutional supports. He also wants a salad bar at Courtyard for more healthy food, which is certainly novel.

Avaria-Jimenez’s stances are sometimes confusing. He thinks the current Board is too reliant on in-camera discussions, and would publish all meeting minutes and salaries of senior executives, but would not break fiduciary duties to speak on internal matters (which minutes would reveal anyway). He would have voted to cut staff hours last year, “but not by a lot.” Scoring 23% on his quiz, Avaria-Jimenez faces an uphill battle to get on Board, but the unknown nature of his candidacy could equally be a strength or a weakness.

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