Talking with VP (University Affairs) hopefuls

Naomi Lutes
Naomi Lutes
Jennifer Raffoul
Jennifer Raffoul
Meghan Teuber
Meghan Teuber
Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

HML

By Tamsyn Burgmann
News Editor

Naomi Lutes, ArtSci ’07, has an “incredible passion” for student housing and safety.

“The more you learn about the issues, the more you really want to be able to effect some change and see positive results in what you’re doing,” Lutes said. “That really ties into my motivations for running.”

Lutes has taken a two-week leave of absence from her current position as AMS municipal affairs commissioner to try to persuade students to elect Team HML.

“I’ve seen some great successes and results, but there’s still so much more to be done—I’d really like the opportunity to build upon those successes,” she said.

Born and raised in New Brunswick, the fourth-year classics and linguistics student attended high school in Brampton, and now calls a dairy farm in Mitchell, Ont., home.

Lutes was the chair of the AMS municipal issues committee last year, and before that, a member of STRIVE.

“I think the VP (University Affairs) should be more a resource person than a boss,” she said. “You’re the person who gives guidance and support and direction, but has to trust in your commissioners.”

If elected, Lutes said she would like to increase both internal and external student representation, improve physical accessibility on campus and improve relations with the Kingston Whig-Standard.

“The goal is for fair and unbiased coverage,” Lutes said.

She added that she doesn’t think accessibility has been made enough of a priority by this year’s AMS executive.

“To the best of my knowledge in the past year, no money has come out of [the AMS accessibility] fund,” Lutes said. “It’s something the entire executive should be looking at.”

Team HML would also like to reinstate the All Ages Access program, which was suspended indefinitely in December because of ongoing liquor license infractions, she said.

“In the past year, one of the primary problems with the system was the actual absent-mindedness, with the students forgetting their student cards,” Lutes said. Team HML proposes to install a sensor system where underage students could exchange their card for a sensor. If the student forgets to retrieve his or her card, a light would flash. She said an early estimate for the system is $1,000.

Lutes added she has hopes for Queen’s future.

“In ten years, I would like to see this campus be much more diverse, but I would like to do it in a way that doesn’t just increase international students here for the international tuition,” she said.

HPR

By Christina Bossart
Assistant News Editor

Jennifer Raffoul, ArtSci ’06 , is not only passionate about the diversity she sees at Queen’s, she’s part of it.

Raffoul, who’s from Trinidad, comes from a diverse ethnic background—her mother is Canadian and her father’s family is Lebanese. She said living in Trinidad gave her a good idea of what life can be like as a visible minority and how different groups can come together, something she hopes for Queen’s.

“I have been a minority all of my life,” she said. “Coming to Queen’s is a bit of a shock, for the first time not being a minority.”

Raffoul said she sees the University as a diverse place—something she experienced first-hand when she lived in Jean Royce Hall in her second year with floormates from England, Pakistan and across Canada.

“I think [Queen’s] is incredibly diverse,” she said. “I found even the Canadian people were diverse, as Canada itself is such a diverse country.” However, Raffoul said she still believes there is room for improvement particularly by raising awareness of the cultural activities on campus.

“The problem is [that] there is no forum for exchange of diversity,” she said.

Raffoul spent her first year at the Castle and has been involved in campus life ever since she arrived in Kingston.

“I have met a lot of people who don’t like Queen’s and have not had a good experience,” she said. “And that’s one of the reasons I really want to do this, because initially I had such a fantastic experience.”

In addition to her work with NEWTS, Raffoul said she has been involved with numerous clubs and services including Queen’s Model United Nations, Oxfam and Queen’s Project on International Development. She has also worked at the QP.

“The reason I want to [be VP (University Affairs)] because [I’ve had] so many different experiences at Queen’s,” she said.

Raffoul said that improving academics and increasing awareness of campus events are two things she sees as important for the AMS.

She added she wants to review the All Ages Access Program, which has been suspended.

“We don’t want to put the [liquor] license at risk, but we don’t want to isolate first-years … from participating in regular Queen’s events,” she said. “So we have to figure out a way in which they can participate, and also ways in which they can do things that don’t revolve around alcohol.”

Raffoul said she likes the idea of Principal Karen’s Hitchcock’s vision for Queen’s, but knows it is only a preliminary document.

“I think ‘Engaging the World’ is a really noble and wonderful concept, but it certainly hasn’t been developed yet in her vision statement,” she said. “I see a Queen’s which is wonderful in every sense of the word.”

MBT

By Janet Shulist
Assistant News Editor

Meghan Teuber, Comm ’08, has a big to-do list for next year.

Teuber said she will focus on student issues such as generating solutions to improve Homecoming, increasing diversity on campus, and reinstating the All Ages Access program, if her team is elected.

“The biggest responsibility of the VP (University Affairs) is to ensure that the student government is taking itself and the University down the path that the students want to go,” she said.

Teuber, who hails from St. Catharines, Ont., said her past involvement with the AMS—including as this year’s deputy campus activities commissioner—has given her the skills she needs to achieve her team’s goals.

“I have learned a lot about how to deal with different people,” she said. “I have the ability to listen to what those working with me are looking for, the ability to adapt and be flexible, as well as [to] maintain a constant direction in where I am going.”

Regarding Homecoming, Teuber said she and her running mates have devised three different proposals.

“We have done research and spoken with Chief of Police [Bill Closs] and with Judy MacDonald, who is responsible for the alumni aspect of Homecoming on campus,” Teuber said. “Both are open to all possibilities.”

Teuber said the team’s plans include an on-campus, licensed celebration for students; a licensed street festival on Aberdeen and an unlicensed street festival on Aberdeen.

She said the goal is to make the event safer for students and police.

Encouraging diversity at the University is also an important goal for Team MBT, Teuber said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it is important to have a diverse campus,” she said. “To have all of those different perspectives come together can only make anything better.”

Teuber said she thinks increasing diversity on campus is linked to increasing accessibility to the University.

She added her team has planned a week-long festival to celebrate Queen’s diversity by holding cultural events across campus.

Teuber said she thinks Principal Karen Hitchcock makes excellent points about accessibility and international representation on campus in her vision statement, and would like to see Queen’s improve in both areas.

“If you want the best, then it shouldn’t depend on financial ability and inability to come,” she said.

Teuber said the All Ages Access program is an invaluable asset and if elected, would attempt to have it reinstated.

“I came to campus when I was 17,” she said. “I know how that feels to be excluded.”

SHT

By Anna Mehler Paperny
Assistant News Editor

If anyone at the AMS needs something translated into Thai next year, they may find their go-to guy.

Jonathan Taylor, Sci ’06, said he spent a year in Thailand after graduating from high school.

“I was staying close to the border of Thailand and Myanmar,” he said. “My backyard was a state park.”

Taylor said he studied Thai at a government school, but the real value of the trip came from the experience.

“It gave me the opportunity to understand a whole new group of people,” he said.

Taylor said that for him, Queen’s stands out as much for its community as its academics.

“The reason why I decided to come to Queen’s was the bohemian nature of the student village,” Taylor said. “It was the quality of student life and individuality that really engaged my interest.”

Taylor said he believes he has a lot to offer students.

“I feel I have a significant amount of leadership qualities and talent,” he said, adding that he has participated extensively in student government at the University, but primarily focused on the Engineering Society (EngSoc).

Roles he has filled include Faculty Board representative for Sci ’06, third- and fourth- year representative for Sci Formal, and member of the fundraising committee for the ILC Tea Room.

Taylor said his favourite position, however, was in first year, as Sci ’06 year society vice-president, a position affectionately referred to as “Pop Boy.”

“You’re responsible for filling up the pop machines in the EngSoc lounge,” he said. “It was an entrance to the University community, and through that I feel I’ve met so many people.”

Taylor said he thinks the primary role of VP (University Affairs) is one of representative and advocate.

“I think the responsibility of the VP (University Affairs) is to make sure that students feel represented in government [and] to make sure that government represents itself to the administration to organizations like OUSA.”

Taylor said that while he thinks all-ages programming is a good thing, he is not sure if bringing underage students into bars is the best idea.

“I do very much see the merits of the program,” he said. “We have to determine if it’s the best way to provide programming for students who are underage.”

On the subject of Principal Karen Hitchcock’s vision statement, Taylor said he agrees that Queen’s reputation is “incredibly important.”

“I’d like to see Queen’s much more actively represented in the global community,” he said. “I think that Queen’s rating should be much higher than it is.”

Survey answer key

3) In Jan. 2002, five students from the Coalition Against Deregulation occupied former Principal Bill Leggett’s office to protest a deregulation proposal submitted to the government, called the “Pathfinder Report.”

4) Floyd Patterson / Janice Deakin / Harrison-LeCaine Hall

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