Not a hard sell for Team WRL

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The Journal’s Editorial Board believes that WRL is the best executive team to lead the AMS next year.

Presidential candidate Allison Williams, vice-president of operations candidate Justin Reekie and vice-president of university affairs candidate Philip Lloyd have projected expertise, competence, professionalism and group cohesion throughout their campaign and during their meeting with the Journal’s Editorial Board.

After meeting with both teams, board members cast 12 votes in favour of Team WRL, one vote in favour of Team SMH and seven abstentions. The reasons for abstaining varied. Some editorial board members have personal relationships with candidates and campaign staff, while others lacked confidence in either team, or in the endorsement process.

Team WRL has been working on their campaign for months whereas it seems SMH — comprised of presidential candidate Scott Mason, vice-president of operations candidate Mark Asfar and vice-president of university affairs candidate Hasina Daya — came together much later in the game. Ultimately, WRL’s extra preparation and internal experience make them the stronger team.

While the teams fit into the typical “insider” versus “outsider” narrative — WRL has more AMS experience whereas SMH team members have a more external perspective — the team’s platforms were fairly similar. Due to this likeness, the bulk of the Journal’s Editorial Board was swayed by qualities like managerial potential, professionalism, experience, team composition and team cohesion.

These qualities were epitomized by WRL’s Reekie, who fielded questions with aplomb. Williams was similarly striking in her breadth of knowledge as she talked at length about topics ranging from software updates to the challenges that increased enrolment will bring to our campus.

WRL’s Philip Lloyd was the least notable of his teammates. However, he had a good answer when asked how his academic experiences have influenced his perspective as a student politician.

As a team, WRL is cohesive. They communicate well and seem to have confidence in each other’s abilities. They were well-prepared and responded well to virtually every question asked of them. They really are the quintessential “insider” team of professionals.

While this identity is mostly a positive thing because it implies competence, it could be alienating to students who want a more approachable AMS executive.

Approachability is perhaps SMH’s greatest asset as a team. Their shtick is more down-to-earth in comparison to WRL’s clinical and corporate style. This fact, in combination with platform points that cater to minority groups like introducing kosher and halal food at Common Ground, might be appealing to students who feel left out of student politics.

Unfortunately, while SMH might be the less intimidating option, they seemed disjointed and disorganized as a team when responding to questions from the Editorial Board. They sometimes struck a sarcastic and oppositional tone, which didn’t seem conducive to a successful year leading the AMS. To an extent, their answers showed a lack of long-term focus on important issues like increasing enrolment.

In some ways, SMH’s Daya is representative of the team as a whole. She had a great answer when asked about the struggles facing “Castle kids” like herself, who arrive to Queen’s in second year. There was nothing on this subject, however, in SMH’s platform.

Asfar wasn’t wholly convincing when attempting to justify why kosher alternatives were a feasible option at Common Ground.

If there’s one shining star on team SMH, it’s presidential candidate Mason. He was convincing when asked about team SMH’s controversial plan to endorse a mayoral candidate. His explanation of the AMS’s relationship with the City of Kingston was the sort of in-depth guide to AMS responsibilities that is the norm when talking to team WRL.

Compounding their overall middling answers was SMH’s overreliance on anecdotes when justifying their platform and goals. Alternatively, team WRL consistently talked about how they’ve been consulting with figures in the administration about academic issues, and those experienced in the bar and restaurant industry about their plans for The Underground and Common Ground.

Instead of being constrained by their breadth of knowledge and experience within the AMS, WRL was successful in portraying this “insider” status as a great benefit. In any event, a perceived “outsider” team is unlikely to create a great paradigm shift within the AMS, as Queen’s students found out last year in the case of BGP (now BPP).

As high-level managers in their positions for only one year, the AMS executive has to be effective quickly and command the respect of their employees and volunteers. WRL’s competence and professionalism put them in the best position to fulfill this mandate. Their thick platform was not just a gimmick — they’ve done their research and have demonstrated the ability to follow through.

Journal Editorial Board

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