AMS teams talk strengths & weaknesses

In final days of the campaign, the teams meet with the Journal’s editorial board

Team TPC’s Vice-President (University Affairs) candidate Liz Craig, right, handed out cotton candy during the last day of campaigning yesterday. Voting takes place today and tomorrow.
Team TPC’s Vice-President (University Affairs) candidate Liz Craig, right, handed out cotton candy during the last day of campaigning yesterday. Voting takes place today and tomorrow.

Team CMM would encounter the most challenges implementing its promise to establish a university-wide sustainability office, said Julia Mitchell, vice-president (university affairs) candidate.

“[In this case] we’re relying solely on lobbying and sort of asking the admin and other people on campus to work towards it,” she said sunday, during a meeting with the Journal’s editorial board.

“It’s not something the AMS is just responsible for, especially since it includes admin, students, Physical Plant services and a bunch of other groups on campus that would have to come together and unite in that one goal.
“That’s probably something that we have the least direct effect on.”

CMM Vice-President (operations) candidate John Manning said even if they don’t succeed in creating the office this year, the goal is still worth campaigning on and pursuing anyway.

“If it happens now or it happens in five years it has to happen,” he said.

“The only way it can happen is through political pressure, and that happens when students are aware of the idea.
“It’s the only one we’re not absolutely promising.”

TPC Vice-President (university affairs) candidate Liz Craig shared similar sentiments with respect to her team’s most challenging promise to implement: lowering the minimum number of exams required to declare a conflict from three in a 24-hour period to two.

“We think it’ll be challenging because, for the next five years, we won’t have access to as much space
[because of the demolition of Jock Harty arena],” she said, adding that even if they don’t achieve their goal this year, they want to get the university to start thinking about it.

“If we can start it and at least get it so that the university can agree, ‘OK, when we have space in five
years, maybe we can implement it,’ then we’d be absolutely thrilled with that.”

Both executive teams sat down with the Journal’s editorial board sunday afternoon and discussed their campaigns, their thoughts on this year’s executive and their opinions on current campus issues.

Presidential candidates from both teams lauded this year’s AMS executive for its Homecoming strategy and town-gown relations, but said MBT came up short in terms of engaging students. TPC presidential candidate Alvin Tedjo said he thinks team MBT’s biggest success this year was differentiating their Homecoming strategy from that of the two previous aMs executives, both of whom tried to create an
“alternative” to an unsanctioned aberdeen street party.

“I think finally, this year, whether it was MBT or [last year’s Municipal affairs Commissioner] Naomi Lutes the year before, they decided to do what students wanted, and students wanted to have a street party but they wanted to do have a safe street party,” he said. “They said, OK, the party’s going to happen regardless, let’s tell the administration, let’s tell the municipality that it’s going to happen. Let’s do everything we can to make sure that it’s safe.’ “It worked out … and they’ll say that’s their greatest success, and I agree with them.”

Tedjo said MBT’s greatest weakness this year has been engaging students.

“We’ve talked about student apathy for a while over the last couple weeks, but it’s absolutely absurd right now,” he said.

“ASUS, last year, three teams ran: this year, there’s one team of two people who aren’t very involved with ASUS.
“There are so many acclamations, and it’s because they haven’t really engaged students, and that’s here we believe they’ve faltered. … There are tons and tons of things the AMS does for all students,
from first-years to students that are leaving, that students just aren’t aware of.”

CMM presidential candidate Kingsley Chak commended MbT on its external relations with the university and the city, but said the executive fell short when it came to dealing with students.

“[AMS President James Macmillan] is very honest to the other side, saying, ‘This is where the
AMS is coming from,’ and I think that is a strength that has worked for that executive; they represent
externally very well for the AMS,” he said, adding that under MBT and previous executives the AMS became known by students more as a corporation than a resource.

“[Students should] look at the AMS more from the government side: make students see the AMS
as a resource for their problems,” he said. “Think of the AMS as something that can help them, as opposed to an organization that sells them coffee and sells them beer.”

The teams were asked how they would help prevent a recurrence of circumstances contributing to the death of Sukaina Mohsin ali, a first-year international student from Pakistan who died in her residence room last April.

Chak said the university is orking on its communication processes in order to prevent a recurrence of the miscommunication associated with Ali’s death. “The parents had an expectation the university’s not living up to. … The first step we’re taking is that communicating to families to say, ‘This kind of information the university is not responsible for,” he said.

“I think international students will need to talk to the university International Centre, making sure they know what to expect at Queen’s.”

Chak added that Mitchell’s proposed research paper on mental health at Queen’s would also raise awareness about issues such as eating disorders, which ali had. Tedjo said the university isn’t doing enough to ensure that the right people are informed about students’ medical conditions, however.

“They say they’re working on it, at the same time I’ve been finding out throughout the year [as a don] the medical conditions some of our students have, I didn’t find out until six weeks into the school year, because they told me and not because residence Life told me.”

Tedjo said residence Life should tell dons what medical conditions the students on their floor have. Chak said this isn’t possible because of privacy concerns, however.

“The reason dons don’t know about conditions is because of confidentiality: the university can only tell HCDS … ‘Oh, yeah, [the student has] that condition,’ and that will be stored in the file unless the student actually goes to that service and sees a doctor,” he said, adding that dons aren’t privy to that information.

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