ASUS presidential candidate Jill Evans and her running mate Josh Michelson both know they have their work cut out for them.
Evans, ArtSci ’11, said she’s aware her faculty society has an image problem.
“There are a lot of people who feel alienated by the society. This is unfortunate and this is not at all something that we would hope that people feel about their own faculty society,” she said. “A big focus for us is going to be bridging those gaps, reaching out more, really working on our relationship with the AMS and other faculty societies.”
Evans said ASUS has to become more accountable in the upcoming year.
“Transparency is going to huge for us next year. It’s a matter of collaboration, really seeking people out and asking for opinions.”
Evans said her team’s platform has a four-point plan.
“One of them is ASUS image and structure. In there we want to take a real critical look at the society and the way it works right now. We want to look at budgetary aspects and also infrastructure.”
Michelson, ArtSci ‘11 said the second point in their platform is designed to go beyond the Queen’s “bubble.” “Our second point is community relations and alumni relations. Right now ASUS has Mind Find tutorial services and it’s just a Queen’s thing. We’re hoping to broaden that to the Kingston community and to the high schools and elementary schools nearby,” he said. “The second thing is alumni relations. Because of spring homecoming, maybe we could get involved there somehow.”
Michelson said his team’s third point is one that addresses the issue of diversity.
“The third point is combating racism and oppression on campus. We have two action points there. One is to start an inclusive action plan. It’s going to be $6,000 that’s actually going to come out of the presidential salary for the summer,” he said. “For the past couple of years there’s been certain projects where the president has stayed behind for the summer to get things done. But this summer there’s nothing really for them to stay back for, so we think that this money could be used elsewhere for this issue.”
Michelson said the inclusive action plan will encourage student participation.
“Students will come to us, groups that have ideas regarding inclusivity and awareness and they’ll propose their ideas and we’ll choose maybe four and divvy up the $6,000 for their efforts.”
Evans said her team also plans a speaker series to specifically address ignorance across campus.
“This being an ‘ally speaker series’ which will really help with that. It’s a safe space where people can come and be educated and be part of the solution, she said. “We’re going to keep it internal to Queen’s. That way there’s more of an emphasis on students helping students and even members of the Queen’s community helping students.”
Evans said the recently announced ASUS diversity and equity advisor position will prove to be a significant addition to the faculty society.
“There’s a lot of talk about the position being redundant, considering the AMS Social Issues Commissioner also exists. We don’t think so. We think that we can still do similar things but it would be great to have that person in the society seeing everything that goes on, being able to comment on everything we do and able to be a part of everything that we do.”
Evans said the last point is to enhance and expand ASUS services.
“We’re going to keep our options open for the Red Room and not narrow what we want to do. We don’t have a definite plan for it, because as the space crunch becomes more and more obvious, it’s going to be a definite asset.”
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