All positions uncontested in COMPSA executive race

Candidates cite class loads as reason students don’t get involved

Max Garcia, the presidential candidate.
Max Garcia, the presidential candidate.
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Zachary Baum, the vice-president of operations candidate.
Zachary Baum, the vice-president of operations candidate.
Photo: 
Mareena Mallory, the vice-president of university affairs candidate.
Mareena Mallory, the vice-president of university affairs candidate.
Photo: 

This year, the races for COMPSA President, Vice-President of University Affairs and Vice-President of Operations are all uncontested.

After being involved in COMPSA for the past two years, Max Garcia plans to take the next step by becoming COMPSA President.

“I want to continue contributing to the society, to continue representing students and to be an advocate for them at University and faculty levels.”

Garcia, CompSci ’17, said this position has frequently gone uncontested over the past several years, as there are many different ways of getting involved within the faculty. He added that by continuing to promote this type of position, it’s likely that more students will get involved.

“Having Eril Berkok [CompSci ’12] as last year’s President of the AMS opened the doors for other students as well as motivated them to become more involved,” he saif.

Garcia has four main platform points: developing better outreach, increasing student advocacy, introducing mental health training for the incoming executive and council and improving COMPSA Site Services, which develops websites for student organizations and clubs.

“We’re an ASUS subsidiary and sometimes we aren’t taken into consideration when ASUS makes decisions, so to have a better presence when it comes to decision making and make them take us into consideration is key,” he said.

To achieve this, Garcia plans to attend or have proxy representation at ASUS meetings.

“In order for our representation to be taken into consideration, [we must] participate and raise awareness of issues inside the School of Computing,” he said.

Garcia added that he’d “like to change COMPSA Site Services” and will be “discussing ways to improve it with incoming AMS executives”.

In addition, Garcia said he wants to strengthen the communication between COMPSA and ASUS. This way, computing students “can take advantage of all of the resources” ASUS has to offer, he said.

Garcia believes that his experience within more than one of the university’s faculty societies will benefit the computing faculty as a whole.

“Being elected as a first-year representative and currently being the academic affairs commissioner and my involvement in AMS as a first-year intern,” he said, has prepared him for this position.

“I’ve been developing different skills from each different area of experience and my background [is] good for a society.”

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Zachary Baum, CompSci ’17, is running for COMPSA Vice-President of Operations — and until recently, so was an opponent. Having Baum’s only opposition drop out just before the debate has shed light on the lack of student involvement even within this small faculty. Academic pressures are cited as a reason for less participation in student politics. “It’s the first time I’ve ever run for student elections, so it’s new for me, I wanted to get more involved in my faculty,” Baum said.

“Over the last year and a half since I’ve been here I’ve found that the computing faculty has been welcoming and has made my university experience so far really great,” he added.

“I want to help other people get the experiences I’ve been able to get.”

This position will require Baum to arrange conferences, manage budgets and hire commissioners — “to manage the internal workings of COMPSA” — all of which he feels prepared for with his experience as the chair of orientation week.

Baum said that “six months ago [he] wouldn’t have even thought about running [for Vice President of Operations].”

“But over the course of the last few months and starting to plan orientation week, I realized these [jobs] are similar,” he said.

Baum underlined COMPSA’s recurring goal to make the faculty better known within both the Queen’s community and other Canadian universities. In understanding this desire, Baum has come up with the idea of having each commissioner be required to submit a written report at the beginning of each assembly — something he believes has worked for ASUS in past years.

The commissioners each have a specific job and help the executive council at the general assemblies. At each assembly they have the opportunity to explain the progress of their current project, but they don’t always show up or show their progression.

“Having a written report gives [the commissioners] more of a responsibility, and I think that would make them more accountable for their position,” he said.

These records would be put online for all who are interested — Baum’s way of reaching out to the rest of COMPSA and showing the rest of Queen’s what they’re doing.

“Being able to allow and catch a glimpse of what’s going on in COMPSA would be beneficial,” he said.

Having online records will allow everyone’s involvement, he added, and “there’d be more representation because people would actually know more of what’s going on”.

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Mareena Mallory hopes to create a close-knit family within the Computer Science faculty as the Vice-President of University Affairs.

“I hope to bring together the grad students, the alumni and the undergrads. I want to keep everyone on the same page and bring the faculty closer together,” said Mallory, CompSci ’17.

“I know I definitely wanted to stay involved in COMPSA and out of all the position descriptions, this one seems to fit my personality and skill set most.”

Mallory is running uncontested in the election, and believes the reason others aren’t running are academic pressures in the program.

“I will be taking a reduced courseload to ensure that I have enough time to give the job the attention it deserves,” she said. In order to bring the entire faculty together, Mallory would bring back the faculty newsletter after a three-year hiatus, a goal also included in Garcia’s platform.

This newsletter will go out to “undergrads, grads, and alumni so that they’re aware of what events to come back for and so everyone knows what’s going on,” she said.

“Not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter, so emailing out a newsletter is a great way to get in touch with every single person in the faculty,” she added.

Mallory is the current formal events commissioner for COMPSA, which has given her experience in the General Assemblies.

“I’m also the logistics chair for computing orientation week which has given me the chance to work with upper-years and first-years, so I feel like I’ve got a great connection between the all of them,” she said.

“That will be a huge asset in the successful running for this position.”

Mallory said she possesses the necessary skill set to fulfill her duties, which include alumni relations, organizing the class photo, representing student needs and putting together the newsletter.

This is Mallory’s first time running for an elected position and being on an executive council, and she said she hopes to build better “interfaculty relations so we can go to each other’s events, and people can meet and help each other”.

Even though Mallory’s running uncontested, she said it hasn’t affected her attention to campaigning.

“I want to know what [students] want from me and how I can best represent them,” she said.

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