ASUS executive open forum recap

Team Chayce and Aaryan discuss major changes to ASUS with students

Team Chayce and Aaryan are uncontested in this year's ASUS executive election.
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Despite running uncontested in this year’s ASUS Executive election, Team Chayce and Aaryan faced numerous questions at Tuesday night’s forum in the Lower Ceilidh of the JDUC.

The candidates’ responses covered student wellness, transparency, and equity.

Aaryan Chaudhury, ArtSci ’21 is the vice-presidential candidate and Chayce Perkins, ArtSci ’20, is the presidential candidate. Chaudhury kicked off the night by delivering the team’s opening statement, and explaining the six platform pillars her team hopes to achieve in 2019-20.  

The team’s plans include implementing a wellness officer, enhancing academic support, and implementing a comprehensive online calendar. They also hope to increase transparency, simplify course management, and further equity and advocacy efforts under the Society.

“With these six pillars, I hope that we can create an equitable environment for all students,” Chaudhury said.

When asked to explain the most significant issue currently facing ASUS, Perkins pointed to the difficulty of addressing the needs of over 14,000 students of various degrees and interests who make up the faculty. Perkins said ASUS’s large student representation “makes it a bit challenging for all different students to be represented equally and advocated for.”

To address the issue, Perkins said, “if elected, we want to make it clear that we’re here for students [...] we would constantly have our doors open.”

Equity was another topic of discussion at the forum. When asked about the final report of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI), the team shared that they hope to apply the committee’s research to future ASUS policy.

Perkins added the team has already consulted with student groups such as the Queen’s Native Student Association and the Queen's Black Academic Society.

Going forward, Perkins hopes that “all of these groups [will work] together to discover shared passions and interests in order to make Queen’s and the ASUS environment more equitable.”

The main platform point called into question was the candidate’s goal to create the position of a wellness officer in ASUS. The officer would be tasked with creating mental health campaigns and lobbying the administration on behalf of students.

Chaudhury pointed out that the Equity Commissioner within the Society, oversees too many projects to be able to effectively increase wellness initiatives in ASUS.

“Wellness and equity, although related, are not synonymous,” Chaudhury added.

Perkins said it’s ASUS’s responsibility to have wellness support for its students.

“Our sibling societies [...] have executives in place that are dealing with mental health initiatives [...] it’s a little bit problematic that ASUS is the largest faculty society but it doesn’t have anything right now pertaining to the topic of wellness.”

Later in the forum, members of the audience questioned how Team Chayce and Aaryan plans to implement the wellness officer into ASUS’s financial and organizational infrastructure.

“Because we are not elected yet, we don’t have the numbers or the budget directly in front of us, and we are not completely familiar with the process of implementing an entirely new position into ASUS,” Perkins said. “In order to delve into all of those semantics and those logistics we would have to be elected first.”

As well, an audience member noted that past executive teams’ plans to implement a comprehensive calendar on the ASUS website have previously gone unfounded. Perkins said she’s confident that the team will keep its promise if elected.

“We do have tangible measures in place [...] We don’t think it would be challenging to add a calendar to a website,” Perkins said. “We think that it is a priority because we have got thousands of volunteer opportunities and some of them are going unfilled.”

In the team’s closing remarks, Perkins said their goal is “to enhance the daily lives of all ASUS students.”

“We recognize that our experiences [...] are unique to us, and cannot reflect all of the ArtSci population, but that’s why we are committed to learning as much as we can.”

Voting will take place on Jan. 28 and 29.

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