Mike Young, ConEd ’15, said running for Rector is about building connections between people.
Young said he started thinking about running for Rector this September when he realized how many possibilities there were for the Rector to support students.
It was only when a friend made him promise to run during Frosh Week that he said he threw himself into building a platform.
Young said his campaign’s two main focuses involve mental health and equity. The other issues his platform brings forward are student autonomy and long-term enrolment planning.
“I see mental health and equity as kind of the personal touch, the stuff that I can offer and the stuff that I’m really passionate about that maybe might set me apart,” he said.
Formerly an orientation leader and later Head Teach, the head of ConEd Orientation Week, Young said he thought he would continue with the Concurrent Education Students’ Association (CESA) and Orientation Week until graduation.
“I saw Orientation Week and ORT as: you’re very organized and you have to keep a lot of records of stuff and it’s a lot of managing and behind-the-scenes work,” he said. “I find that my skill set is more with people.”
Young said he’s concerned about University plans to increase enrolment, citing problems like lack of space in the Lederman Law Library as a concern in the face of growing enrolment without enough resources to support it.
“You can’t really have enrolment growth without campus growth,” he said.
Young said he’s also concerned with keeping Non-Academic Discipline and Orientation Week in the hands of the students, as they traditionally have been, despite what he calls “clawback from the University and administration.”
He said he plans to work on installing gender-neutral washrooms, which were promised with any major building renovation or construction, he added.
The Vice-Principals’ Operations Committee had approved a policy to install gender-neutral washrooms in new or “significantly renovated” buildings and repurpose existing washrooms when the funding exists.
Young cited the successful motion passed at AMS Assembly earlier this year, making all proceedings gender-neutral, a step towards equity.
Coming from his experience as Head Teach for ConEd orientation week, Young said he wants to increase positive space training for other Orientation Week leaders.
He said he’s also concerned about student health and wellness, and intends to focus on alleviating the stress that students feel at certain “peak times.”
“I think that we can be doing more, especially in the fall semester around week six and week seven. We don’t have a fall reading week … so I’d like to look into implementing a long weekend so the students have an extra day or two to catch up on some work,” Young said.
He added that he has the necessary qualifications to assume the responsibilities of being Rector because of his experience as Head Teach, which made him the “face of the faculty” for incoming students.
“You basically have to watch every word that you say and the way you represent yourself because you’re very much an ambassador,” he said. “Part of that job was … being a liaison between students and the faculty.”
For Young, it always comes down to the people, he added.
“I think giving [the administration] some respect and showing that you’re generally looking to work with them and collaborate, I think that will go a long way.”
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