In contested ComSoc election, Team AGB pledges fight for accessibility, inclusivity, & accountability

"Racism, discrimination, violence doesn’t wait for you and it thrives on people who take their time"

Team AGB is running for next year’s ComSoc executive.

As one of two teams running for next year’s Smith Commerce Society (ComSoc) executive, Team AGB is emphasizing the need to understand the problems within Commerce, act decisively, and be advocates. 

Team AGB consists of Presidential candidate Angie Tang, Comm ’22, Vice-Presidential candidate (Student Affairs) Bobby Liang, Comm ‘22, and Vice-Presidential candidate (Operations), Grace Rao, Comm ’22.

“Racism, discrimination, violence doesn’t wait for you and it thrives on people who take their time,” Liang said in an interview with The Journal.

Their platform of accessibility, inclusivity, and accountability aims to create a culture in Commerce that makes students feel like they belong and allows them to explore their personal interests.

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“I want every student to come into this program and have their only goal be to explore their personal interests and grow as a person and figure out who they are and not have this fear of fitting in stagnate their experiences and learning who they want to be and who they want to grow up to be,” Tang said.

Students coming into Queen’s Commerce don’t arrive on an even playing field, according to Team AGB, as many students already have connections within the program. The people who get in by the margins are behind before they start.

“What we really want to do is ensure that students who don’t come in with pre-existing connections to the commerce program are able to access the same resources that students who already have a network in the commerce program [do],” Tang said.

AGB’s platform has been heavily influenced by the recent movements of Stolen by Smith and Reform Smith, which advocate on behalf of QTBIPOC students in the Commerce program.

“It’s naïve to think ComSoc can eliminate racism in the commerce program but we can create culture change,” Rao said. “We can make it so it’s not a culture [where racism] is acceptable, it’s a culture where it gets called out and where the people who make it a negative experience for others are called out and held accountable.”

Team AGB said experiencing racism in Commerce not only affects people’s experiences at university, but also affects their future careers.

“I realized that this problem was so endemic that it impacted people in ways that weren’t just like, ‘oh they didn’t like Commerce.’ It impacted the way they even thought about their careers,” Liang said. “They wanted to quit business altogether, they wanted to give up.”

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“The only way that we can rectify this problem is if we all accept that these issues exist, and that there’s no escaping them, and that we have to work, decisively, quickly, and take a strong stance against this, or else it will always continue and always fester,” he said.

Liang said international students have also expressed they don’t feel welcome in the program.

“In the past two years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in international students, yet supports for them have not changed,” Liang said.

“As somebody from a Chinese background, I do interact a lot with international students and the one thing I always hear about is how little they actually feel welcome in the program, and how little they feel like they even matter.”

Acknowledging the lack of support for international students, their platform of inclusivity includes this group of students.

“They’re our friends, they’re our classmates,” Liang said. “Although they are guests in our country, they’re people who we also need to look out for and care about and dedicate resources to.”

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