ASUS executive candidates debate recap

Candidates discuss differing opinions for future of the society

The ASUS executive candidate teams at Friday's debate in the JDUC.
The ASUS executive candidate teams at Friday's debate in the JDUC.

One thing was clear at the ASUS executive debate Friday night in the Lower Ceilidh of the JDUC: each team has a very different vision for the future of ASUS. 

Team Eric & Dave began the proceedings by addressing their platform point of creating faculty-specific denim jackets. Speaking to the non-aesthetic benefits of them, Presidential candidate Eric Nicol said, “Academic success to us is down to creating communities within each program, and having that sense of pride in a jacket … can really create that community where people feel they are supported by their peers.”

Team Eric & Dave.

Team Harmz & Gurj repeatedly referenced their objective to open up student government up to all faculties. Harmony Crawford – who was unable to attend the debate in person and instead joined over the phone — explained, “We wanted to bring a spotlight to those in the sciences… in nursing, computer science and ConEd that do not have much of a voice in ASUS decisions.”

Gurjot Ravi with running-mate Harmony Crawford calling in.

In addition to outlining the five main pillars of their platform, Team Sagal & Alissa spoke to the actionable items they hope to pursue if elected. Referencing their focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, the team proposed the introduction of a Cultural and Diversity Deputy, new clubs geared towards supporting the Equity Commission and the creation of spaces for racialized students. 

“It’s important to not necessarily take over the work that’s currently being done, but instead working with [established] groups … and seeing how we can better support them,” Presidential candidate Sagal Sharma said. 

Team Sagal & Alissa.

The executive hopefuls also took the opportunity during the debate to challenge their opposition’s policies. 

Team Eric & Dave were questioned about their proposed equity class, as opposing teams pressed them on who they consulted at the University when formulating this plan. “We met with members of ethnic student association … specifically [Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS)],” Presidential candidate Eric Nicol said. 

However, audience member and President of the QBAS Asha Gordon made a point of information in response to this claim. “[QBAS] weren’t emailed or consulted in terms of … the platform points that were just mentioned,” she told those in attendance. 

Crawford characterized the professional development certificate proposed by Team Sagal & Alissa as both “redundant” and a “poor allocation of funds.” Presidential candidate Sagal Sharma responded to this criticism and said the certificate addresses the limitations of professional development services provided by ASUS. 

“Expanding the ASUS mandate to encompass professional development will help students after they graduate while also during their time here at Queen’s … by creating more [development] opportunities,” Sharma said.

When asked what single internal operation within ASUS they would modify if elected, Team Eric & Dave referenced their strict anti-nepotism stance. 

“We would have University officials or a third party conduct our interviews, [and] provide us with the transcripts anonymously with all the specifics redacted,” Nicol said.

Sharma questioned the team on this and asked which University officials the team had contacted. While Nicol admitted his team hasn’t found anyone to fill the interviewer position, he reiterated that, “[Nepotism] is one of the major issues facing the Society … this [proposal] is the only way to tangibly deal with the issue.” 

Crawford later answered an audience question on how she and her running mate plan to enhance inter-faculty relations.

“We let these [sibling societies] understand their worth … PheKin left [ASUS] because clearly we sucked … we need to let them know that there is value working with us,” she said. 

As a point of information, Sharma then corrected Team Harmz & Gurj and pointed out that PheKin has been reintegrated into ASUS. As such, the benefits associated with paying the Arts and Science Undergraduate Fee extends to PheKin students. 

Teams used their closing remarks as a time to summarize the key points of their platforms and to remind students to vote for ASUS executive on Jan. 29 and 30. 

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