The Journal’s Editorial Board has full confidence in Team CBW as the AMS’s incoming executive.
CBW — comprised of Kanivanan Chinniah, acclaimed AMS president; Kyle Beaudry, acclaimed vice-president of operations; and Catherine Wright, acclaimed vice-president of university affairs — has a praiseworthy focus on student advocacy and a long-term approach to student leadership.
CBW is right to credit their diverse backgrounds and experiences as their greatest strength.
Chinniah — the AMS’s current Campus Services Director and a former ASUS representative to the AMS — has both internal and external experience, while Wright has the most internal involvement of the three as last year’s Municipal Affairs Commissioner.
Beaudry’s resume is entirely peripheral. He’ll have the largest adjustment when transitioning into his new role, but his experience as the Commerce Society’s current president should assist in engaging students from smaller faculties.
The majority of Team CBW’s platform appears practical and feasible. Just as importantly, it demonstrates a sense of continuity that’s refreshing to see in AMS executive plans.
Their proposed initiatives — such as increasing study spaces around campus, expanding Common Ground’s seating area and hosting housing workshops for students transitioning out of residence — account for the toll that increased enrolment will have on student services, and how minor changes can mitigate this strain.
These smaller projects would help improve the day-to-day lives of students.
CBW is aware of the major issues facing Queen’s. This shines through in their proposal to hire an Educational Campaigns Manager — a position that will focus on widespread campaigning for sexual assault awareness — and to strike a committee that will promote safe discussion spaces.
When the team was asked to list a mistake made by a predecessor that they’ve learned from, Chinniah cited decisions made by the 2005-06 AMS executive to sign over total control of the Queen’s Centre project to the administration.
This response demonstrated an understanding that decisions made by an executive can impact the student body for years beyond their term in office.
Chinniah’s expressed desire to “de-corporatize” the AMS is critical to ensure the executive fulfills their fundamental purpose of advocating for students, rather than acting on behalf of “AMS Inc.”, as he put it.
Conversations around libel and other insurance issues, though necessary, can often alienate students.
CBW’s proposal to provide insurance information packages to AMS clubs is a good way to balance the interests of the University and students. By understanding libel, club leaders will be able to take informed, responsible risks and effectively fulfill their club’s mandate.
Team CBW has a prime opportunity to revitalize town-gown relations in collaboration with Kingston’s new City Council.
Wright successfully spearheaded the AMS’s appeal on electoral district boundary realignment to the Ontario Municipal Board in 2013, which, considering the City’s strong opposition, was no small feat.
Throughout their campaign, Team CBW said they would fervently advocate for student input to be taken into account in the University’s major projects, such as the redevelopment of Richardson Stadium and the Health & Wellness Centre in the PEC.
While we feel confident in the team’s abilities to advocate, they’ve yet to determine specific methods for garnering student opinion, except for surveys.
Team CBW’s platform includes points on Queen’s TV, which, following the platform’s release, was amalgamated into the newly created Studio Q.
As the AMS’s current Campus Services Director, Chinniah was aware of the pending change, but due to confidentiality issues, he said he didn’t tell Beaudry, who wrote the “Service Reviews” section of CBW’s platform. At the very least, this speaks to Chinniah’s integrity, which he maintained despite other interests.
When responding to questions concerning the Underground, CBW’s response that student input needs to be taken into account echoed current Vice-President of Operations Justin Reekie’s during his executive campaign. While student opinion is critical, action needs to be taken by this executive to maximize the space.
While it’s critical an executive efficiently completes as much as they can during their term, they must also consider the best interests of students in years to come.
CBW’s understanding of their place within a larger history — and their plans to implement practical change — makes them ideal student leaders for the coming year.
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