Team Jan/Mohammad’s platform seems to be based on student inclusivity, open discussion and community outreach.
They are new to the USC scene and are using the campaign period for student feedback. While their platform is well-intentioned, it is based more on ideas versus research.
This analysis highlights some of the major points on the slate's platform. For the full platform, visit here.
Team Jan/Mohammad wants to reform the clubs system. In fact, a big portion of their platform revolves around clubs.
They want to revert back to the full five-day clubs week. This is an idea many clubs can get behind because student signups saw a decrease when clubs week was shortened this year.
In addition to clubs' week, Team Jan/Mohammad want to introduce an "info week." This idea seems less plausible logistically since the USC atrium is booked out for events throughout the year and the USC uses its own USC week to push out more of its own services. With more than 200 clubs on campus, it's difficult to see how all of them would get face time with students in a week with limited space availability.
Related: Platform analysis: Team DiBrina
They state that they want to help clubs with a record of successful events by making it easier for them to get grants, which seems like an effort to pull favour with the bigger and more well-known clubs.
The duo will also push to include halal, kosher and vegan options at The Wave to better accommodate students. They are currently in the works of communicating to Western staff to see if this is possible. Although the idea is admirable, it should be noted that The Wave and Spoke have not fared well with changes to their menu in the past, such as The Spoke’s infamous Chicken Ciabatta sandwich.
The sandwich was a personal favourite of current vice-president Jamie Cleary, but even the favour of a current executive has failed to bring it back. The Spoke is one of the USC's few money-making operations and the USC tries to do its best to protect the revenue source.
One of their better ideas is to propose modifications to the USC's food policy that limits clubs to only be catered on campus from the Wave and Spoke.
The slate also intends to rent out the Mustang Lounge for clubs' events. While the space is already available to clubs for rentals, it isn't clear how Team Jan/Mohammad will make it more "cost-effective" for clubs and get them to use it more.
The slate has cited mental health as a key focus in their platform, emphasizing the importance of open discussion on campus. Their idea of identifying students at risk, especially those seeing a significant drop in their grades, definitely introduces a tangible plan to mental health initiatives at the University.
The rest of their mental health platform, however, focuses more on the promotion of resources already available when many would argue that current resources and procedures of dealing with mental health on campus are rather inadequate.
The advocacy plans of the slate are ambitious, such as making modifications to the parental income factor when students apply for OSAP loans. There's no information on the feasibility of this plan and Jan/Mohammad said that their primary focus is to create conversation around the financial burden of students from immigrants or troubled families. With major changes to OSAP already coming in this year and no real widespread support across Ontario universities for this idea, it's difficult to see how it will be effective even as an advocacy point.
The slate also want to advocate for lower parking prices for students at Western, it will be a very difficult thing to change but an issue that the USC can definitely take up with Western.
Adding to the new USC office hours that were implemented this year, the slate wants to further increase accountability and transparency by providing updates on USC progress and activity. They plan to do this using social media tools, such as Facebook Live and Reddit Q&A sessions.
Related: Platform analysis: Team Tobi
Both formats have been used by the USC in past with varying degrees of success. In fact, two years ago Team Sophie's Reddit Q&A was deleted when it went off the rails. Slates since have shied away from Reddit use due to the anonymity factor.
The candidates also want to prioritize the promotion with USC Street Team volunteers. Mohammad recognizes that this is a good way for students to get involved with USC activity and events, and that maybe more engagement with people on the ground is the way to go in terms of USC engagement.
The slate also wants to have a clearer breakdown of student fees on the USC website. This is a good idea since a fee breakdown is often available on the sites of other student unions but not with the USC.
Thankfully, the slate made no promises to fix the three exams in 23 hours policy, which lies outside of the USC jurisdiction. Instead, the slate hopes to revamp academic counselling services. They suggest using the Western app to book appointments, which is a good idea in theory, but the slate still has to talk to Western about it.
Janmohammad has also said that she wanted to “break the Western bubble.” The slate plans to collaborate with London restaurants and food trucks to organize a food festival on campus, which will be an interesting way to engage students with the community.
They also mention having local politicians make regular visits to Western so students can communicate their ideas and concerns to the city. Like many other candidates before them, they also want to improve LTC service for students. They plan to do this by implementing a feedback system. It might be more realistic than trying to bring about actual change with LTC operations, but we don't know if feedback is what the LTC lacks...