The undergraduate trustee position is up for grabs this year, as Jaya Sharma, HealthSci ’24, and current trustee’s term comes to an end. The position will be elected along with the AMS executive on Feb. 6 and 7.
Reem Al-Rawi, HealthSci ’24, is the sole candidate vying for the position in this year’s election. She is running on a platform of clarification and
The undergraduate trustee is one of the few students who sit on the Board of Trustees, alongside the Rector and the Graduate Trustee. Members of the Board of Trustees have a fiduciary duty towards the University.
“In the role, I’m really acting as a voice for students. For me, myself, I might have my own opinions, but that’s not really as important as what everyone else’s opinions are,” Al-Rawi said in an interview with The Journal.
Working with international students and students supporting AMS initiatives are a big part of Al-Rawi’s platform. She currently works in the AMS Marketing Office as a graphic design staff member.
According to her, her work experience from the AMS has inspired her to push for increased student government engagement and improve communication from student leaders to the Board of Trustees.
Collaboration with student leaders
“I really wanted to change and increase the collaboration and lines of communication with these student leaders,” Al-Rawi said. “I know this will help allocate resources and create better action plans.”
Focus groups are an effective way of communicating with student leaders, Al-Rawi said. She wishes to use these groups as a pulse to inform her
decision-making process and skills. Attending AMS Assemblies will be an important priority for Al-Rawi, as she can understand the concerns of student leaders.
While the role is estimated to be five hours per week, according to Al-Rawi, she emphasises the role is what someone makes out of it.
Anonymous online forums and advertising her contact information are essential to how Al-Rawi intends on communicating with all undergraduate
Communication with undergraduate students and Board structure
A challenge in the role of undergraduate trustee Al-Rawi identified is the fact many aspects of the job are confidential, and information can’t readily be released to students.
She wishes to act as a liaison point for students, referring them to resources in the University system, if possible. Clarifying the structure of the position and the potential is important to Al-Rawi, as she believe it allows students to engage with the office to its fullest potential.
When asked about the specifics of the Board of Trustees structure and committee system, Al-Rawi said she would wait for student feedback.
“I haven’t quite exactly decided which committee—the specific ones—that I want to sit on yet, because I know there’s so many. I think I really am able to make that decision, once I kind of get more feedback from students,”
The Board of Trustees has six standing committees, one of which the undergraduate trustee traditionally sits on: the Audit and Risk Committee. The Board’s Governance and Nominating Committee, however, has the power to review committee placements each year.
In a follow-up statement to The Journal sent after the initial interview, Al-Rawi clarified she would evaluate the effectiveness of the University-wide risk management framework, while ensuring the interests of undergraduate students are considered.
With respect to specific policies under the purview of the Board of Trustees, Al-Rawi couldn’t mention specific policies of interest in the interview. She brought up a review of the Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM) system, saying she wishes for greater student oversight and to investigative power over category two cases.
“Peer conflict resolution is a valuable tool which allows students to work together to reach a mutually agreed upon solution. This method can be more effective than traditional methods as students feel more comfortable discussing issues with their peers,” Al-Rawi said in a clarifying statement.
Background on the NAM system wasn’t elaborated on in the interview. In a clarifying statement after the interview, Al-Rawi expressed interest in working on the Health and Safety policy.
“One of the specific policies that the Board of Trustees oversees is the Health and Safety Policy which strives to prevent illness and injury at Queen’s University,” Al-Rawi said.
Her interest in this policy stems from her experience serving on a former workplace’s health and safety committee.
When discussing the triennial review of the Sexual Violence policy—which Al-Rawi said she would have to research more—she emphasized sensitive language for survivors and working with the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (SVPR) office.
Maya Morcos, HealthSci ’24, and Tiffany Li Wu, ArtSci ’23, both said they have the utmost faith in Al-Rawi if elected as the undergraduate trustee.
In an interview with The Journal, Wu brought up Al-Rawi’s compassion, and the specific example of consulting her on matters related to international students.
Both Morcos and Wu are confident student interests will be put first.
AMS, Elections, Elections 2023, Undergraduate Trustee
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