For Team MAP—presidential candidate Colin McLeod, vice-president (operations) candidate Ellen Allwright and vice-president (university affairs) candidate Suhail Panjwani—their election platform stands on three fundamental pillars: advocating, educating and empowering.
McLeod, ArtSci ’09, said advocating means standing up for the high quality of education for which Queen’s is known.
“One thing is putting pressure on the administration to make sure that teaching quality comes first. Queen’s has had this pattern over the past few years where we’re hiring top-quality researchers but we’re forgetting about educators.”
McLeod said his team plans to advocate for measures to keep professors more accountable.
“One thing we’re going to do is push for more USAT transparency to make sure it’s opt-out and not opt-in. The professors don’t have to put their scores online if they don’t want to,” he said.
McLeod said his team wants to reform the website which releases professor ratings to the public.
“Right now we have the USAT website for the AMS at whatswhat.ca, but the problem with that is the site is not that accessible and it’s a voluntary thing,” he said.
McLeod said his teams feels the structure of whatswhat.ca isn’t user-friendly.
“It’s just the format of the website that we have a problem with,” he said. “We want the website to have more of a scroll-down menu. It’s currently an alphabetical use of a drop down menu and we want to make it a more easily accessible menu.”
Also included in MAP’s platform is the promise to advocate for earlier release of exam schedules.
“The reason we put this forward is that we thought that it would reach out to absolutely all Queen’s students,” McLeod said. “We met with the registrar, Joanne Brady, and what she told us that it’s definitely doable; the departments just need to know that the students care about this.”
Panjwani, ConEd ’09, said the second pillar of MAP’s platform, educating, is designed to promote social justice on campus by implementing volunteer diversity and racism workshops offered by the National Coalition Building Institute. Each session costs $20,000.
“We propose to have educational workshops led by thorough organizations to come in and deal with these social issues and teach use how we can reduce our prejudice, prevent violence and also build coalition between different groups.”
Panjwani said his team also promises to increase the amount of transparency within the AMS.
“We want to make sure that our budget and our financials are released onto a website, or even e-mailed out to all the student body.” Allwright, ArtSci ’09, said the third pillar, empowering, is meant to reach out to AMS clubs, volunteers and beyond the bubble to the Kingston community.
“With clubs, we want to create a 12-month manager,” she said. “Under this 12-month manager position, we would have two to three deputies who have specific portfolios to aid club members in all their endeavours.”
Allwright said MAP also plans to give AMS volunteers more support.
“In terms of volunteers, what we want to have is a central hub for all these volunteers under the human resources officer. This is so volunteers are really getting that appreciation that they deserve, but they’re also getting that support from the AMS that they deserve.”
McLeod said the volunteer hub is meant to be a resource for students who want to get involved.
“It’s to make volunteer opportunities more accessible to students.”
Allwright said her team intends to scheduling regular meetings where students will be given the opportunity to have their voices heard on issues of public concern.
“We’re going to have town hall meetings. These will be open forum meetings for all of the Queen’s community and the Kingston community,” she said. “We will have guest speakers and what we promise to do is have these forums whenever an issue arises that people feel that they need to voice their opinions on.”
McLeod said his team believes the town hall meeting structure will provide students with a more comfortable alternative to assembly meetings.
“They are meant to talk about issues in a non-combative way,” he said. “It won’t have any binding motions. It’s meant to address issues in an informal way.”
McLeod said MAP is optimistic about the type of positive change his team can implement with the aid of student feedback.
“When we met with Patrick Deane, we had such an inspirational talk because he told us that anything we really wanted to do was possible as long as we had student support for it,” he said. “As much as the three of us are running, we would be nothing without student support. So we really need to build on that and put forward a strong, strong vision to the administration.”
To read Team MAP’s full platform, go to votemap.ca
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