Team ETC can push the AMS forward—but they must be willing to learn on the job

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Our Process: The endorsement is the result of a vote by The Journal’s Editorial Board. The Editorial Board considers prior interviews, debates, platforms, and a private questioning period with the teams before making a decision. When an election is uncontested, the team must secure a vote of confidence from the Board to earn an endorsement.

As COVID-19 continues to leave students standing on shaky ground, undergraduate students at Queen’s need clear communication and support from their leaders. It’s crucial the AMS executive positions are filled by individuals who can acknowledge upcoming hardships and have the perseverance to maintain constant, strong leadership amidst the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. These are the qualities The Journal Editorial Board is looking for in the executive leading the AMS.

In an 11-4 vote with 3 abstentions, the Board voted to endorse Team ETC for 2022-23 AMS executive.

Team ETC consists of Presidential candidate Eric Sikich, ArtSci ’22, Vice-Presidential (Operations) candidate Tina Hu, ArtSci ’22, and Vice-Presidential (University Affairs) candidate Callum Robertson, ArtSci ’23.

Running uncontested can both benefit and hinder potential candidates. Without other teams to stack up against, it’s difficult to evaluate whether the team running is ready to face all that comes with leading student government. Too often, uncontested elections can mean teams don’t put enough effort into their campaigns.

However, despite being the only candidates for executive this AMS election season, Team ETC showed visible effort outlining their expectations and commitments in their campaign platform and engaging with AMS members, boasting a long list of consultations performed as they assembled their platform. 

The four pillars of Team ETC’s campaign are community building, student engagement and trust, transparency and communication, and advocacy. For supporting the pillars, both Sikich and Hu emphasized their focus on building strong communication systems for both students and faculty alike to serve their needs.

Although their current campaign lists fewer specific, actionable items than the Board would like, Sikich said the platform will be updated if the team is elected as AMS executives.

The team said that, if elected, consulting with professional staff, students, faculty members, and leaders of campus organizations will be a priority so they can understand the organization they inherit and create more actionable goals based on the needs of their constituents.

The Board appreciated ETC’s honesty in admitting they don’t have the answers to every problem facing the AMS but remain committed to addressing issues like student engagement and accessibility once they consult all involved parties. The Board felt this stance demonstrated the team is conscious of their own abilities and willing to learn more and improve on their resources.

The Journal Editorial Board also hopes the consultation of stakeholders and experts by Team ETC will lead to thoughtful progress and avoid uninformed rash decisions by AMS leadership in the upcoming term.

Importantly, ETC has shown some gaps in knowledge when addressing some student concerns.

For example, when asked about their efforts to resolve the reported ‘cliquey’ culture existing within the AMS—driving three women of colour to resign before the end of September—Sikich cited “bad hiring policy” as one of the main roots of the problem. He also suggested working with the current permanent AMS staff to make sure the hiring process is accessible and equitable for incoming students.

Although valid points, Team ETC must realize ‘cliquey’ culture rises from deeper issues than hiring—including systemic discrimination—and festers within the student workforce. A much more thorough re-working of the AMS senior management environment is needed to address the problem than ETC seems to realize.

However, ETC has proposed a coherent plan for achieving the AMS’ 2022 Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion (EDI) statement goals. Hu mentioned working closely with the individuals who have developed the statement to understand its purpose and intentions—an insightful and considerate approach.

Although Team ETC may not understand all the details of campus concerns yet, their campaign has demonstrated they’ve thought deeply about their roles and the level of commitment that will be required of them. Leadership during the pandemic requires both care and consideration for the student population more than ever—and Team ETC has demonstrated those qualities.

The Board doesn’t expect all concerns—from the culture on campus to Queen’s sexual violence policy—to be fully resolved in one term. However, it’s important to have a team willing to lay the groundwork to allow future AMS executives to continue their plans.

If Team ETC hires a well-balanced team, shows the same desire to learn they shared with the Board and fosters necessary inclusivity and encouragement within the organization, they may be just what the Queen’s community requires to see much-needed excellence from the AMS.

Journal Editorial Board

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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