If you asked Undergraduate Student Trustee candidate Mike Blair what one of the most important issues that Queen’s needs to address is, he would say student safety.
Blair, Sci ’17, said he’ll push for more policies that ensure student safety and protection.
“Definitely in the event of anything like a sexual assault, or an assault in general — having proper policies to ensure that students are looked after and to ensure that the university is doing everything they possibly can for students is one major component of that,” he said.
Blair added that he hopes to make infrastructure improvements, including ensuring that Queen’s Physical Plant Services clear the sidewalks during the winter and that buildings are safe for everyone to learn in as the limestone some are built out of begins to age.
Blair said he is the best candidate for the position because of the experience he’s had in the past as a student trustee for the Niagara Catholic District School Board, where he represented 23,000 students.
Last year he worked as the Engineering Society’s first-year representative to the AMS, and was a responder for Queen’s First Aid (QFA) until deciding to run for trustee. Blair also currently serves as vice-chair of the AMS Board of Directors.
“All of that has allowed me to gain quite a bit of insight into the governance structure at Queen’s, and also the student government structure as well,” he said.
Blair said thanks to his experience with both administrative and policymaking bodies and a more “hands-on” experience with QFA, he has a good perspective on what students at Queen’s need.
“I feel that I am the best candidate for the job in the sense that I understand what’s happening at Queen’s from a high level, but also the grassroots,” he said.
Along with student safety initiatives, Blair would also like to enhance the value of a Queen’s degree.
“I think it’s really important for the Board from a representational perspective to ensure that Queen’s legacy and Queen’s reach is broadened beyond our borders in Canada,” he said.
This would include pushing for national and international engagement to diversify the Queen’s community and the student experience.
Another point on Blair’s platform is ensuring the University is making responsible capital purchases.
“I’m definitely a strong advocate of responsible use of University funding, especially when it’s a very tight fiscal time,” he said.
“I’d certainly be an advocate for capital projects like new buildings and new expenditures that directly benefit students, because at the end of the day that’s what universities are for — for the student experience and the student learning environment.”
Blair said he’s looking forward to engaging with students about their needs and concerns.
“I just look forward to communicating and collaborating with all the undergrads at Queen’s,” he said, “and hopefully being able to address their concerns on the Board level.”
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