Presidential candidates conclude debates

The presidential debate on Wednesday night drew a larger crowd than either of the previous two nights’ debates. There were approximately 70 people in attendance.
The presidential debate on Wednesday night drew a larger crowd than either of the previous two nights’ debates. There were approximately 70 people in attendance.
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At the all-candidates debate for AMS president, all three teams agreed the most difficult decision faced by this year’s executive was the Queen’s Bands suspension.

The debate took place in the Lower Ceilidh of the JDUC on Wednesday night.

Teams JDL and GPP generally agreed they would’ve handled the situation in a similar way had they been in office at the time.

“It was a great example of why we need to keep the non-academic discipline system the way it is,” said Rico Garcia, presidential candidate for team GPP. “We need to create educational sanctions rather than punitive ones.”

Team RMS contested the way the information was relayed to the public during the scandal.

“What it comes down to is information control,” presidential candidate Jeffrey McCarthy said. “It shouldn’t have been released before the AMS could do something about it.”

In general, teams agreed on major points.

One of the first topics brought up was how the candidates would work with faculty societies other than the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS).

Garcia said his team is already aware of challenges affecting other faculties including Concurrent Education.

“With the change to the GPA system, ConEd students are now being graded on a one, two, three, four point scale,” he said. “Other faculties, like Engineering and Commerce, are being graded differently than Arts and Science students.”

Team JDL presidential candidate Doug Johnson agreed with Garcia, adding that the tight schedules of smaller faculties, like Nursing, often pose significant barriers to selecting elective courses.

“We want to present a full list of electives that are available that fit into their schedule,” he said. “It’s way too hard for a Nursing student to navigate SOLUS.”

McCarthy also mentioned issues faced by ConEd students.

“Admissions have jumped up to 170 from 110,” he said. “It affects the class format of being in ConEd.”

Teams took similar standpoints to mental health resources on campus.

The question came up after the debate was opened up to all candidates on each team.

Increasing the accessibility of Peer Support Centre was a point generally agreed upon by all three teams.

One of JDL’s long-term goals is the reopening of the Physical Education Centre (PEC), which would in turn supply more room for student counselling.

“The Peer Support Centre offers something I’d say the university can’t,” said JDL vice-presidential candidate of university affairs Mira Dineen. “It’s in our platform that we really prioritize finding more space for counselling.”

Team GPP said they’d like to keep the Peer Support Centre open seven days a week, from noon to 2 a.m., but this raised a question of volunteer safety, as Walkhome usually closes at 2 a.m.

“Within our platform, we express that we want to keep it open 12 hours a day,” GPP vice-presidential candidate of university affairs candidate T.K. Pritchard said. “We often do provide taxi chits for [volunteers] to arrive safely at home.”

Team RMS agreed with the idea, and said the benefits of increasing hours far outweigh the challenges.

“A lot of resources aren’t available at those times, having that resource available here at Queen’s will be beneficial,” McCarthy said.

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