ResSoc candidates debate in uncontested election

Debaters speak to dining hall experience and inclusion in residence

Image by: Max Yi
Candidates debated Thursday night at Ban Righ fireside.

Students running for Residence Society (ResSoc) positions debated in the uncontested election held at Ban Righ fireside on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. Each candidate is running for a ResSoc position for the 2023-24 school year.

The debate saw Nathan Beckner-Stetson, MSc ’24, running for ResSoc president, Alison Wong, Sci ’23, running for vice-president (society operations) (VPSO), and Teagan Schuck, ArtSci ’25, running for vice-president (residence operations) (VPRO).

The discussion included several topics: the first-year experience; equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity; ResSoc operations; advocacy; and leadership.

Debate moderators took turns asking candidates questions with each candidate having 90 uninterrupted seconds to respond. The candidates began with opening statements.

Beckner-Stetson noted in his opening statement that his three campaign pillars—integrity, identity, and interconnectivity—are common practice within ResSoc.

“The reason that these are all important is because they are essentially the base foundation of what ResSoc is because the organization is there to bring people together to run events to allow first years to transition into their new university experience,” he said.

Wong began by explaining they are looking to be the liaison between ResSoc on behalf of all students and residents. They based their campaign on three goals they’d like to accomplish in the next year if elected: EDII, professional development, and transparency and efficiency.

Schuck said she would be overseeing every house president next year if elected. She is campaigning on three pillars: opportunity, accessibility, and accountability.

Moderators asked the hypothetical if some students are in favour of dining hall trays while others oppose it, what position the candidates take on the topic.

Beckner-Stetson believes ResSoc should not promote tray-less environments since it would negatively impact many people.

“I believe that it should be up to the student population and there have been many surveys,” he said.

Wong and Schuck believe removing trays isn’t feasible.

“I think it’s just impractical and inaccessible for any students who may have difficulty carrying several items at once,” Wong said.

Although Schuck believes sustainability is something the community should look into, she doesn’t believe tray-less dining is the way it should be introduced.

The moderators asked what events the candidates would like to see at ResSoc.

Beckner-Stetson would like to see a lot of people in the same space again, suggesting events like semi-formals.

Wong would love to see more culturally specific events that are for certain communities.

“People [can] learn about a culture or holiday, for instance, but anybody can attend. I think that helps break down any barriers people have, and any curiosity they have but they don’t know how to ask about it,” they said.

Schuck wants to implement more academic events since she believes the transition to university is “really difficult.”

“I would like to see a workshop that helps students develop their study skills, help them with organization, and just help them transition into university life across all residences,” she said.

Other questions asked included changes the candidates would like to see with the meal plan and what mental health initiatives they would like to see implemented for students in the presence or absence of the pandemic.

The moderator noted systemic racism and violence continue to be an issue in the Queen’s community. They listed antisemitism as a major problem when asking the candidates how they plan to ensure all students feel safe and welcome in residence.

“One of my campaign goals is to make resident’s spaces visually. When students move in on that very first day, they see themselves represented, whether that be working with dons for their floor themes to make them more culturally diverse,” Wong said.

There needs to be a lot more follow up and accountability with instances like this, Shuck added.

“I think we need to be very clear that if this is something you are doing, this is not tolerated in residence,” Shuck said.

“I think that improving our communication with external organizations and having more active conversations with these folks before incidents happen is very important,” Schuck said.

Candidates were asked what their plans were for running ResSoc with a fully in-person team, as well as how each candidate plans to manage the team in the coming year.

One question asked near the end of the debate asked candidates how they plan to manage the society’s budget.

As vice-president (society operations), Wong said the management style of establishing a goal for a specific period will enable the team to manage the budget on a broader scale in order to see where the money is going.

A clear definitive list at the beginning of the year of how ResSoc plans on spending money is essential, Schuck added.

“It’s going to be good for us to take a look at what the budgets done in previous years, how much has been left, where we have allocated certain projects, because, as I mentioned earlier, I’d like to hire a chief financial officer,” Beckner-Stetson said.

The debate wrapped up with the moderators announcing the ballot to vote will be released on Jan. 23, giving students the opportunity to vote for any of these three candidates.

With files from Clanny Mugabe


A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed quotes and has since been corrected.

The Journal regrets the error


2023 student elections, debate, Elections, ResSoc

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