ResSoc teams debate future

Debate discusses finances, accountability for young society

From left: moderator Tuba Chishti, Cole Smith, Greg Radisic and Segen Mehreteab.
From left: moderator Tuba Chishti, Cole Smith, Greg Radisic and Segen Mehreteab.
Photo: 
From left: Leo Liu, Emily Gjos and Marianne Cameron.
From left: Leo Liu, Emily Gjos and Marianne Cameron.
Photo: 

Sunday’s Residence Society (ResSoc) executive debate, held in Victoria Hall, saw both teams express the need to maintain and prepare the young society for coming years.

Greg Radisic, presidential candidate for Team GCS, said restructuring the society could bring in extra revenue, when asked about increasing funds for ResSoc.

“Currently, we’ve been looking to efficiencies with the structural reorganization of the society, possibly going with a ratio system with the Residence Facilitators,” said Radisic, ArtSci ’17.

He added that it’s important to make sure workload is spread evenly among Residence Facilitators (RFs).

Radisic said facilitating a positive residence experience for students is important.

“Not everyone can go home all the time,” Radisic said. “We want their residence family to be their home.”

Vice-Presidential (Residence Affairs) candidate Cole Smith of Team GCS said the team had “looked into” cutting house budgets to manage expenses, if an increase in student fee was unsuccessful. Smith, ArtSci ’17, said student engagement should remain the first priority regardless of fees, and ResSoc should ensure this.

When asked about staff training, Smith said ResSoc’s training week is important to emphasizing staff positions.

“One of the ways we want to change [training] is making the training material more accessible, so you can use it throughout the year.”

Vice-Presidential (Judicial Affairs) candidate Segen Mehreteab also responded to a question on staff training regarding Residence Facilitators (RFs).

Mehreteab, ArtSci ’17, said the team would ensure RFs communicate more with students regarding the peer-based judicial system.

“It’s important to have increased training, [so] the RFs can explain to students their decision-making process,” she said.

“The ResSoc members can meet with each floor, go through the rules, and what could lead to consequences.” Mehreteab added that she receives many emails from students who don’t understand the peer-based system, furthering the need to increase communication with students about how discipline within residence operates.

Presidential candidate Emily Gjos of Team LCG emphasized platform points such as increasing accountability and transparency within the society.

“The integrity and stability [of ResSoc] is at stake. We need to increase engagement and accountability so [students] can benefit,” said Gjos, ArtSci ’16.

Gjos referred again to stability when the teams were asked how they would aim to increase revenue for the society.

“We would start by cutting five per cent off executive pay. Student fee adjustment in the coming year would also help, and we’ll be gaining new revenue from the new residence buildings,” she said.

ResSoc’s peer-based judicial system was a major point of discussion.

Team LCG Vice-Presidential (Judicial Affairs) candidate Leo Liu said the team wants to ensure that students understand the system.

“The peer-based system is a major part of our platform — we do value its fairness and accountability,” said Liu, ArtSci ’17.

“We want to make the process clear to students from the start of the year. Residence Facilitators can add sessions … students have the right to know the rationale behind each decision,” he added.

Marianne Cameron, Vice-President (Residence Affairs) candidate, said the team would look to create more hands-on, situational training for staff, and would better ResSoc’s relationship with Residence Life (ResLife).

“We want to encourage open communication between the Dons and House Presidents. We want more building-wide events through that relationship,” said Cameron, ArtSci ’16.

The team was also asked about student engagement, and how they’d ensure that ResSoc remains relevant.

Cameron, said Team LCG would use the ResSoc website to give updates, and showcase a newsletter, along with more social media use.

Gjos said in her closing statement that the team is looking to ensure ResSoc is stable for the long-term.

“Our main goal is to create stability now and long-term longevity for the society,” she said.

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