USC 2016 New Slates

OVERALL VISION

All three platforms have finally been released and each of their visions emphasize the student experience. The slates share a vow to work as students, for students, distancing themselves from the current way the USC operates and advocating for more of a direct student focus.

Team Roy’s commitment “to being critical and questioning of the USC,” comes as no surprise, as the slate consists of Western Solidarity Network members Mike Roy and Aidan McKendrick.

However, Team Avila and Palin-Cohen’s distancing from the USC’s status quo is more unexpected, as both slates feature candidates who have been heavily involved in the USC. Palin-Cohen wants to “get the USC to stop talking about itself and start caring about its students,” and Team Avila announces “our motto is students for students.”

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health programming has long been a priority on many past presidential platforms, and this year is no different. Every slate notes a lack of adequate support for students and wants to advocate for increased funding, accessibility and awareness of the services that exist on campus.

While the slates have different ideas of how to improve mental health services, all three slates’ solutions require advocating to the Western administration.

Team Avila wants to introduce mental health training and increased support at key times such as September and the exam period; Palin-Cohen wants to foster an “environment of wellness” along with promoting the current coverage available, and Team Roy hopes to foster “on campus crisis room which students can go to at any time.”

Additionally, their platform indicated a plan for “bringing mental health coverage under the USC health plan,” however it should be noted that the current USC health plan covers mental health services on and off-campus (up to $500 for off-campus resources).

FALL READING BREAK AND EXAM SCHEDULES

While advocating for a second Reading Week in the fall is on both Team Avila and Team Roy’s platforms, it’s worth noting that this issue, along with any desired changes to the exam schedule, is out of the hands of the USC. Any changes to the academic calendar have to go through Senate, so the best the candidates can do is promise to advocate to senators for these changes.

Additionally, any amendment to the current three in 23 policy would create an even longer exam period than the one that currently has students arriving home just before Christmas.

USC ACCESSIBILITY

Featured in each candidate’s platform are promises to bring the USC back to the students.

Palin-Cohen criticizes the USC for having “developed a culture where information is routinely not reported to or withheld from council, obfuscated, or presented in ways that make the facts effectively unintelligible,” and Team Roy wants to “establish more referendums, town hall meetings to allow greater ability for students’ voices to be heard by the USC,” to further encourage student involvement in USC decision-making.

Team Avila’s plans to make the USC more accessible to students include setting aside two hours every week for students to meet with the executive team, recruiting a team of students who can serve as ambassadors between students-at-large and the executive team’s advocacy goals and releasing “organizational charts and condensed, accessible minutes that seek to avoid excessive jargon” to clarify the roles of the student executive.

UNIQUE POINTS

Beerfest 2.0 – Team Avila is advocating to bring a second round of Beerfest to campus during Frost Week to capitalize on the success of the event earlier in the year.

Reduce financial barriers for sophs – Palin-Cohen proposes putting aside part of the O-Week budget to subsidize the participation cost of being a soph who can demonstrate financial need.

Gender-neutral washrooms – Team Roy proposes creating more gender neutral washrooms on campus.

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Katie is the Print Managing Editor for volume 110 of The Gazette. Previously, she was a news editor for volumes 109 and 108 of The Gazette and a staff writer for volume 107.

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