Reesor is a big part of Western's largest faculty, Social Science, having been a councillor and head soph. A week from now, students will cast ballots with his name on it.
Reesor sat down for a recorded Q&A with the Gazette's opinions editor, Hope Mahood; Radio Western recorded the conversation. A transcript, edited for length and clarity is below, but you can listen to the full interview here.
You're the only candidate focusing on immediately moving Homecoming back to its original date. But most of the students who remember September Homecoming have graduated. Do you think today's students still care about the date switch? And do you think the dates switch will actually solve anything now?
Yes, I definitely acknowledge the fact that it’s an older issue in that sense. But what I do, and I do mention this my platform, think students may not be aware of what they're missing at the point.
But I do think that Homecoming, in and of itself, is about alumni coming home. And I think that is a large aspect and a large thing we now miss. Because numerous friends of mine who are at various other schools such as Queen’s [University] or McMaster [University] love the fact that their parents or their parent’s friends, get to interact with them on the same day to celebrate their school and celebrate the alumni that were there.
So I think that's something that maybe current students aren't necessarily missing because they don't know about it. But I think it's something that can definitely bolster our alumni and current student relations as well as just our general purple pride.
In your platform, you say you want to book a more “brand appropriate” headliner for Purple Fest? Do you think you'll be able to attract students on Broughdale to a brand appropriate concert?
So, I definitely understand the hesitation with my suggestion there. By no means am I suggesting the Wiggles or a total PG act.
I just think there are some acts that are a little questionable in the reason they were chosen. In addition to this is also a complaint that I heard several times throughout the consultations I conducted. Numerous students thought that, considering what the [University Students’ Council] seems to stand for, a lot of the acts that we're choosing didn't seem to line up.
So I think that, for example, an act such as Lizzo, or someone like that, where they are still very “happening” and “now”, but they're also promoting a positive image and they have a lot to them.
So again, many examples that could be used for that but that was just one that I know is quite popular. But again, by no means am I am I proposing complete PG musicians. But I think there's a balance that can be struck that plays more into the reputation we're wanting to create.
A few months ago, the USC passed a motion to split the vice-president position in two and have both new positions hired internally by council. This means that students have dropped from electing two out of five executive members to one out of six — in short, giving them less voting power. This motion was passed unanimously, which means you voted for it.
Yet, you have an entire pillar on your platform dedicated to student engagement and transparency. How are you balancing that?
I think that is an important question to ask. A lot of my trust in this splitting and this in this decision is also the fact that counsellors, yes, they are more insider-y style people, but in their roles, their job is to speak for the constituents of their faculties.
In addition, I think in the splitting, the VP role does tend to be more of a technical role in the sense that there's a lot of skills that are involved, such as lobbying to provincial governments or municipal, that a general at-large election wouldn't necessarily have the same power to select the most effective candidate in that regard.
I think that whereas the presidential election, it's the sole role, or one of the main priorities of that role is to be that figurehead and the person that people want to reach out to. And I think a general election is the best way to weed out that candidate.
I think in the VP, there is a lot of merit to allowing for people who have a little bit more of a grasp of the intricacies of the USC to help steer that decision, while still maintaining a lot of the weight and the integrity and the expectation that they are voicing on behalf of their constituents, throughout various consultation and speaking throughout the year with their their constituents, but still voting with a knowledge of the USC.
In your platform, you say you plan to introduce two-ply toilet paper to the University Community Centre and residences in an effort to help ease students’ homesickness in their transition to university. I'm wondering what service you're planning on cutting to fund this project?
Again, this is a point that I do think was one brought up to me in consultation. And again, one of the ways that I discussed them in the [USC] debate we had yesterday, an option that I've seen that could possibly free us up a fair amount of money is in our negotiations with our rent for our leasing the offices of the upper UCC. Given that that is now up for negotiation in May of this year.
We’re currently spending 1.6 million to rent out that space. If we can possibly negotiate with Alan Shepard and the administration on ways to possibly have a greater deal on our payment for that space, I think that's that could free up some cash for that.
And listen, I know toilet paper is an interesting point to prioritize some money for. But from what I've heard, especially within the residences for students who are spending the majority of their time there, they don't have their home. It's something that, again, a lot of them had voice the concern with as it was something that made them feel uncomfortable at school, and it was something that they had to be spending their own money on.
So that’s something that I definitely wanted to look into and bring a voice for.