Meet your new AMS executive candidates

HML
HML
HPR
HPR
MBT
MBT
SHT
SHT

HML

By Tamsyn Burgman
News Editor

Team HML has some bones to pick.

They say they’re frustrated with the bum rap students have been getting around Kingston. They’re also concerned by the lack of support they believe the University—and even the current AMS—have afforded students in the face of criticism.

“You can really see that we’re being vilified … by city council and the Kingston Whig-Standard,” said presidential candidate Dave Homuth, ArtSci ’06. “It’s as though the city doesn’t respect us and really doesn’t want this university to be here in the first place, despite all the positive implications we have on the city.”

Homuth and his teammates, VP (Operations) candidate Mark MacGregor, Sci ’07, and VP (University Affairs) candidate Naomi Lutes, ArtSci ’06, have all held positions within Queen’s student governments. Homuth said they don’t believe the administration is listening to what students really want, because they are “too concerned with lining their pockets with increased tuition dollars [rather] than standing up for students.”

He added the current AMS executive hasn’t taken a strong enough stand against the undeserved treatment, either.

“The AMS executive has been noticeably silent on this, they’ve been silent on the fact that the administration really isn’t engaging students,” he said. “We’re tired of how students are not being respected, and we think that it’s time for us to fight back.”

Lutes said if the team is elected, they would fight for what they believe students deserve. This would include ensuring fair treatment of students in the community by both landlords and police, as well as ensuring fair treatment on campus—especially in regards to gaining sufficient student representation on the University’s decision-making boards, she said.

Homuth added that at the very least, his team would like the Board of Trustees to create another undergraduate trustee position.

“But we [also] need to go further, to get representatives not just from the AMS, but from the faculty societies on the Board of Trustees, to get as many people out as possible, so that the trustees can truly be held accountable.”

The team is also concerned by the administration’s stance on tuition—especially by the fact that Principal Karen Hitchcock has said she is in favour of “locally-set” tuition. Homuth said his team contests the argument that a choice must be made between an accessible education and receiving education of higher quality.

“It’s up to the AMS to fight against this, to say that we deserve both,” he said. “We’re supposed to be a school that’s here to attract the best and the brightest, not those that can afford the most.”

The team also has devised a plan to avoid another ugly Homecoming weekend. They want to recreate a street party atmosphere—what they say students are really after when they go to Aberdeen—by holding a sanctioned celebration on the campus portion of University Avenue.

“We’re going to ensure that the police are actually looking out for safety and controlling the situation, and not just ticketing for minor violations,” Lutes said.

On the whole, Homuth said the team will make it a priority to work proactively to prove the AMS’s relevance to the student body.

“It’s wholly unacceptable that every undergraduate student is paying for the AMS if we’re not doing every effort imaginable to try and get the message out … to try and give people the opportunities that the organization provides.”

Other team goals include creating an events calendar on the myams.org website, helping clubs by paying for them to advertise in the Journal and reinstating the All Ages Access program, which has been suspended until further notice.

HPR

By Janet Shulist
Assistant News Editor

AMS candidate team HPR—comprised of presidential candidate William Howe, ArtSci ’06, VP (Operations) candidate Diane Phatsaphaphone, ArtSci ’07, and VP (University Affairs) candidate Jennifer Raffoul, ArtSci ’06—is “passionate about positive change,” and plans to address incentives, academics and inclusivity for students.

Phatsaphaphone said Team HPR plans to increase incentives for AMS salaried employees.

“We are proposing a salary cut for all AMS salaried employees [of] 20 per cent and using that money to create an incentive program so that [employees] can reach their potential and be accountable to students for their performances.”

Phatsaphaphone said every AMS salaried employee would see a reduction of 20 per cent in his or her salary. However, after undergoing a performance review, employees would receive either 10 per cent for moderate performance, 20 per cent for good performance, or 25 per cent if they exhibit exceptional performance.

“So, they would see a five per cent bonus on their salary as a way to ensure they are working at their highest, like in a private sector, where you get incentives like that,” she said. “At the same time, those who haven’t performed up to their ability can actually see some repercussions.”

Phatsaphaphone added that the three team members would also reduce their own salaries.

Performance reviews would happen three times a year, at the end of August, November and March, Howe said.

Raffoul said another key issue for Team HPR is academics, which they plan to address in two main ways.

“The first way is to have a course calendar in which students [can provide] input, because the one that is run by Queen’s is sometimes vague and doesn’t really explain what courses are [or] give a proper outline.”

Raffoul said Team HPR would also create a position in the academic affairs commission that would get updated course descriptions from the professors and input from students to create a more student-focused description of classes with suggestions for the best classes to take.

“The second thing we want to do is have more transparency for teachers. We want to make the USAT scores available online,” she said. “We will be communicating with the administration as well as with the faculties and teachers themselves.”

Howe said one of the important issues in the AMS is how the organization has been run.

“It’s not really inclusive necessarily of all student opinion. I think we can see that based on last year’s [Annual General Meeting (AGM)—in which the former AMS executive passed a mandatory student fee for the Queen’s Centre, rather than put the fee-creation question to referendum],” he said. “One of the proposals that we’re hoping to push forward is amending the AMS Constitution so that no financial increases can take place in AGM. They must all go to referendum.”

Raffoul said HPR plans to improve the social experience of students as well as the academic.

“One of the ways we want to do that is getting up the website and improving it so that there is a website where students can go and find out every single event that is going on on campus,” she said. “This would include guest lectures, social [events], clubs, concerts, fundraisers, anything and everything.”

This would include possibly mounting monitors in the JDUC and cafeterias on campus that would list campus events, Raffoul said.

Howe said another issue his team would take on is deciding how to deal with the unsanctioned Aberdeen street party that took place Homecoming weekend.

“It always has to be about us representing students and student safety,” he said.

Phatsaphaphone said the team discussed the need for Homecoming to be about Queen’s heritage and traditions. She added that HPR will improve the relationship between students and alumni, encouraging alumni to sponsor events during the weekend that students could participate in.

Howe said there isn’t enough student representation on the Board of Trustees and that HPR would try to increase student representation.

“The Board of Trustees is an extremely important governing body within the University and [student] representation now is very weak. Even the AMS executives are only standing members, [and] don’t get to vote,” Howe said. “It’s important for an AMS executive to do the best [they] can to always get representation of students everywhere and in every level of the University.”

MBT

By Anna Mehler Paperny
Assistant News Editor

Presidential candidate James Macmillan, ArtSci ’07, VP (Operations) candidate Ian Black, ArtSci ’07, and VP (University Affairs) candidate Meghan Teuber, Comm ’08, of Team MBT have ambitions to “make it happen” for students.

“We’ve seen over the years that AMS executive campaigns have been marked by big promises that haven’t happened,” Macmillan said. “Once AMS executives get into office, they become really focused on the everyday running of their office and they tend to forget about the promises that they’ve made over the campaign.”

He added Team MBT, if elected, would make and keep 12 promises—one for each month that they are in office.

“That way, we have a timeline and we know when the month comes around, we know what our promise is and we make sure that we get it done,” he said.

Teuber said their slogan also encourages student involvement.

“‘Make it happen’ also speaks to the students, inviting them to become part of the AMS [and] take part in the voting process,” she said.

The team cited Homecoming, the All Ages Access program and student involvement in the community and as three particular issues they believe are most important for students.

Macmillan said he thinks one of the most important issues facing students is that of Homecoming.

“I don’t think you can talk about the important issues facing Queen’s without talking about Homecoming,” he said. “What would be absolutely ideal is a celebration off Aberdeen, so students could create their own tradition, one that the school would be proud of and that eventually alumni could be a part of.”

Macmillan said team MBT’s plan for next year’s Homecoming would be for each of them to come up with an alternate plan: one for a licensed party away from Aberdeen, one for a licensed party on Aberdeen, and one for a non-licensed party on Aberdeen. He said they would go to members of the administration and the community to determine which plan would work best, and then implement it.

Teuber said they have already done research into these ideas.

“We’ve spoken with the people in charge of Homecoming at Summerhill, as well as the chief of police, and we are meeting with the mayor,” she said. “It’s not just concepts that we’ve brewed in our minds.”

Black said one of the University’s strengths is the opportunity it provides students for community involvement, and that the AMS has a role to play in facilitating that participation.

“Not enough people are included in the options that the AMS has to offer,” Black said. “If we were able to reach out and include more students in volunteer opportunities and jobs in the community as well as in the AMS, I think more students would get more of an education.”

Macmillan said the role of the AMS is to represent students and give them a voice in the creation of their broader learning environment.

“AMS executives have done a good job of representing the JDUC students that pay a lot of attention to the AMS, and sort of left behind other students,” he said. “That’s what we’re not going to do.”

Macmillan said one thing he would change based on this year’s AMS executive would be to get started earlier on projects like the Golden Cockroach Award.

Black said many first-year students don’t know enough about the AMS, and his plan to rectify the situation would be to have one member of Council dine with each residence floor early in the year.

“This kind of has a dual purpose,” he said. “We can reach out to first-years and educate them about the AMS and opportunities to be involved with the AMS, but also so the AMS can hear feedback from first-year students so we know how we can better reach them.”

Regarding the Queen’s Centre, Macmillan said that now that the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, and plans for the Centre are underway, it’s the job of the AMS to advocate for student interests, ensuring that the services currently in the JDUC remain and even become more efficient in the Queen’s Centre.

Teuber said ensuring that the Centre is student-run will allow for more student involvement and the creation of the environment students want.

Black agreed, emphasizing the purpose of the Queen’s Centre as a centre of student life.

“We need to ensure that students have a priority in the building, whether it be in retail space or space to interact with your peers or the International Centre or what have it,” he said. “The focus of the Queen’s Centre needs to be students.”

SHT

By Christina Bossart
Assistant News Editor

Jonathan Scarlett, Sci ’06, Nancy Huynh, Comm ’07 and Jonathan Taylor, Sci ’06, are on a mission to remind students “that there is no ‘I’ in team SHT.”

That’s the slogan team SHT has adopted and they said they hope for greater communication between the students, AMS and administration.

“Approachability, as far as being able to approach the AMS, is one [issue] we intend to address by opening up communication channels that are better suited for students,” said Huynh, the VP (Operations) candidate. “I find that currently, there’s not a lot of ways to get in contact with people who are on the AMS or with the AMS.

“[We want to] add ways of using the web in terms of technology, in terms of instead of only just giving away information to students, [but] through the same medium give us information, give us their ideas and their thoughts.”

Presidential candidate Scarlett was out of town on an academic field trip and unable to attend the interview.

However Taylor, the VP (University Affairs) candidate, said that the external image and reputation of the University are important to them.

“We would like to engage the faculty and we would like to make sure that the university on the whole looks excellent on a global scale, national scale and even a regional scale,” he said. “[Students] contribute a lot to this community and [Team SHT] want to make sure Queen’s students are recognized for what good they do.”

Ensuring that all of the services run out of the JDUC—both AMS and non-AMS—do not conflict with one another is another team goal, Huynh said.

“There is a self-cannibalization in terms of each service,” she said. “If you take a look at the Green Room, they do t-shirts, but if you look at [Oil Thigh Designs] that isn’t necessarily part of the AMS but belongs to the student community, they also do t-shirts, and you don’t want [the two services] to compete with each other.

“We are supposed to be an organization that works effectively together, so when we look at efficiency, rather than looking at individual services as a whole, we are going to look at services collectively regardless of if they are AMS-run or not AMS-run. They are still part of the school.”

Taylor said that communication between the AMS and students should begin as soon as they arrive at Queen’s.

“Frosh week is incredibly necessary, because that’s the introduction of the four, five or as many years as it takes at this university,” he said. “There should be more advertising of student activities on campus.” Huynh said that the theme of communication extends as far as helping students access Principal Karen Hitchcock.

“Realistically, I have never spoken with [Hitchcock] before. I’m sure 99 per cent of students have had very little actual contact with her,” she said. “It’s very difficult to be able to voice the individual or collective student concerns to Principal Hitchcock.”

Taylor said he feels that communication with the principal is something that should be looked at in light of the meeting held by Principal Hitchcock with Aberdeen Street residents following the party over Homecoming weekend.

Taylor added that his friends who attended that meeting felt they were lectured by the Principal.

“[We want to] make sure she knows students are a necessary part of this university and we should be respected,” he said. "Why is the representative for us lecturing to us?”

Huynh said that her team’s plan for Homecoming next fall would include more alternative activities, but that they believe there is nothing wrong with a party on Aberdeen.

“Keg parties are great in celebration of the Queen's tradition,” she said. “But at the same time, we feel that students should understand that their actions are not only accountable in Kingston, but on a national [and] international scale considering that headlines do travel fast.”

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