24th January 2012

Debate maps out plans

Vice-President of University Affairs candidates talk platform points

(Graphic by Justin Chin)

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Last night, candidates for AMS vice-president of university affairs — Mira Dineen of Team JDL, T.K. Pritchard of Team GPP and Sean Renaud of Team RMS — took part in the first AMS election debate of the week.

There were about 50 people in attendance – mostly made up of AMS Assembly members. The vast majority of questions came from students currently working or volunteering within the AMS, though questions were also sent in via Twitter.

The three teams agreed on broad issues — clarifying student fees, reaching out to faculties other than Arts and Science and making the AMS more approachable were uncontentious issues.

Specific platform points became the subject of debate.

Team GPP’s platform promises a course registration waitlist that aims to benefit students, highlighting which classes are most in demand.

Dineen from team JDL agreed that the current SOLUS registration process is problematic, especially for students working summer jobs. However, she said team GPP offered an unrealistic goal.

“Policies would have to be passed at faculty boards, altering really the fundamental aspects of their registration processes,” Dineen, ArtSci ’11, said. “It seems simple on the outside, and we learned it would actually be a lot more difficult to implement.”

In rebuttal, Pritchard, ArtSci ’12, said team GPP met with members of administration including Jo-Anne Brady, the former University Registrar, and Alistair MacLean, the dean of arts and sciences.

“They were very interested in this idea and they said it would help them get information on what classes students are trying to get into,” Pritchard said.

Another point of debate was a platform point from team JDL. The team outlines a plan for an occupancy metre for seats in Stauffer Library.

“We envision libraries being the hub of academic learning on the Queen’s campus,” Dineen said. “One of our ideas is developing an app in collaboration with the library, so people can know how many seats are available before you go.”

Renaud, ArtSci ’15, from team RMS said he doesn’t think the idea is feasible.

“The application that JDL proposes, it’s a great idea but it’s not accessible to all students. Not everyone has a Smartphone or a phone capable of apps,” he said.

Dineen rebutted that the application could also be accessed on a website.

Last night’s debate took place at 7 p.m. in Jean Royce Hall on West Campus.

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