Issue 18: Darts & Laurels

Union Gallery

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Darts

AMS involved in multiple voting mishaps

The AMS should take pause after having been involved in several voting mishaps in the span of two years. Last year, counting errors resulted in a delayed announcement of the winter election results. This past week, nearly 6,000 Fall Referendum ballot logins weren’t sent when they were supposed to, due to a technical issue with the Queen’s email system and Votenet. The AMS risks a deteriorated reputation if these issues continue. It’s not in anyone’s interest to have a student government known for screwing up elections and referendums. The latest incidents may not have been the direct fault of the AMS; however, recurring problems raise questions about the quality of our voting system.

The Communications Office could have also done more to notify students about the missed email. When the AMS has its own initiative to promote, such as the recent “Let’s Not Fuck It Up” campaign, there was no problem getting the word out. Overall, the current voting arrangements need to be rethought. Effective democracy is at issue here; every student should have a vote that is properly conducted the first time around.

McDonald’s employee directed to food stamps

When McDonald’s employees call a designated employee hotline to complain that they aren’t earning enough to support their families, “Mc-Resources” employees direct them to government assistance programs. This story can be seen in the context of many news stories and studies that have shown that low-wage workers employed by corporations like Walmart make so little money that they’re forced to turn to government assistance. Not only do these workers make a pittance, they are often scheduled sporadically, which results in stress and underemployment. Minimum wage laws in the United States are due for reform and labour laws and practices should be changed so it’s easier to unionize all types of workplaces.

Canadian couple has Russian adoption blocked

Vladimir Putin is at it again. As if his domestic anti-LGBT crackdown wasn’t enough, Putin may have banned adoptions to Canada on the basis that same-sex marriage is legal in this country. A Canadian couple has presumed this to be the case after their adoption was blocked without explanation. While the adoption process isn’t perfect, countries should not be discriminated against based on same-sex marriage laws. Gay marriage isn’t a threat to children, and childless couples shouldn’t be used as political leverage.

Laurels

Queen’s implements ConfidenceLine

Queen’s has created a 24-hour, third-party phone line that its employees can call to report workplace misconduct. While Queen’s undoubtedly made the right decision to implement this service, it would have been best if it had already existed. However, since these types of lines are not ubiquitous at universities across Canada, it could be claimed that Queen’s has exceeded expectations for workplace accountability.

Organic garbage bins rolling out on campus

New waste stations, some featuring organic waste bins, have been introduced on campus. It’s great to see a student initiative that’s dedicated to reducing waste, as these new bins will remind students about the necessity of recycling and composting on a day-to-day basis. AMS Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainability, Colin Robinson, struggled to convince a hesitant Queen’s bureaucracy to make this change. We all owe a debt to the efforts of the CES and everyone else struggling to keep environmental issues on the agenda.

Post-doctoral fellows get a favourable agreement

Everyone at Queen’s should be happy that our post-docs negotiated an agreement that included a base salary and increased benefits, including access to Queen’s dental plan. It’s ridiculous that it took the administration 18 months to settle with this group. Post-doctoral fellows do a lot of the work that maintains Queen’s special reputation for research. Their strategy of shaming Queen’s by handing out “worst employer” flyers on campus was particularly effective. Now that these passionate academics have a more secure livelihood, they can get back to work.

- Journal Editorial Board

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