ComSoc open forum facilitates discussion in contested election

Teams discuss advocacy, transparency, and accessibility in Commerce

The debate happened Saturday over Zoom.

At Saturday’s open forum, Team AGB and Team BPN, the two teams running to be the next Executive of the Smith Commerce Society (ComSoc), discussed the need to increase advocacy, transparency, and accessibility in Commerce.

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. 

On Team BPN, Omar Baboolal, Comm ’22 is running for President; Finn Price, Comm ’22, is running for Vice-President (Student Affairs); and Tara Matin-Nejad, Comm ’22, is running for Vice-President (Operations).

“There’s going to be a ton of unforeseen and unpredictable things that occur this next year that are going […] to make it difficult and precarious for a ton of people,” Baboolal said.

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The teams discussed how they plan to facilitate the transition back to in-person learning and ensure a smooth transition for the two classes of incoming students—the Class of 2024 whichwas online for its first year, and the Class of 2025.

“[It’s] a matter of communicating early and proactively,” Baboolal said. “I think it’s a matter of letting people know physically where things are, and I think it’s a matter of partnership with CEO who has greater access to incoming students.” 

A major part of these roles is managing the relationship with advisory boards. Both teams hope to amplify student voices while working in partnership with the administration.

“We would love to see advisory board and ComSoc work very cohesively together in just advancing student initiatives and advancing student ideas and amplifying the student voice,” Tang said.

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Baboolal emphasized the importance of keeping student concerns at the forefront of ComSoc’s initiatives.

“My perception of ComSoc in the past is that it’s been kind of an extension of administration, whereas I think what we’re fighting to do is make ComSoc an organization that is by students for students,” Baboolal said.

Both teams also spoke to the need for greater transparency between the administration and the student body in the process of decision making and increasing awareness of the resources available to Commerce students.

Throughout the forum, Liang stressed the need for increased resources and inclusivity for international students.

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“Year over year, we’ve been seeing more and more international students coming from around the world to study here at Queen’s—yet the resources for them haven’t changed at all,” Liang said.

Both teams also want to address nepotism within Commerce because of how it puts those entering the program without a network at an immediate disadvantage and affects which clubs they are hired onto during their time at Queen’s, as well as future career prospects.

“The way we fight nepotism is by democratizing resources,” Liang said. “We really believe that to fight nepotism, it’s going to be a long battle […] there’s things we can do quickly and decisively to get those resources out to students because they already exist.”

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