Written and edited in collaboration by Aileen Liang and Michael Groff.
This Monday, students had the opportunity to attend the Science Student Council Presidential Debate. The two candidates running this year are Hasan Ahmed, a third-year Computer Science/Medical Science student, and Victoria Barroso, a third-year Biology student. This was an opportunity for both candidates to share their platform, their visions for the future, and answer questions submitted by students.
Ahmed’s platform revolves around five main pillars.*
Here are two highlights:
Academic Accomodation: Hasan plans to implement grace days, after consulting the Associate Dean of Science, into the Academic accommodations process. These graces would act as a “no-note-needed 24-hour extension on quizzes and assignments worth 20%”, according to his platform.
Council Reform: Hasan intends to change the seats of the SSC’s Department Reps to be proportional to the student population of each program in order to ensure the entire student body’s voice is heard. His platform also includes a renegotiation of the Student Levy Agreement, which leaves Science Donation money currently inaccessible by student council for student body initiatives. He plans to adopt a model similar to the Faculty of Social Science, where part of the Science Donation funds are accessible to council to enact actionable change for the student body.
*His other platform points include improving the state of department clubs, enhancing student life, and increasing transparency and accessibility within the SSC itself. You can find Hasan Ahmed’s platform here.
Barroso’s platform focuses more on the student experience, enagagement, and wellness, to name three of her four pillars.
Here are some major points:
Student Experience and Campus Engagement: Victoria intends to draft and enact a long-term plan and mission for the SSC. Her plan for next year includes implementing an interdisciplinary science case competition, as well as incorporating programming that focuses on teaching transferrable job skills to students. Oh, and more microwaves in Taylor Library. Thank goodness.
Another component of her platform under these pillars is for a monthly recap newsletter to be sent directly to science students via email. It would highlight specific information regarding what SSC is improving, new things we’re collectively trying as a council, and things that are relevant to YOU.
Mental Health & Wellness: Victoria has decided to include mental health as a part of her platform. Students’ well-being seems to be very important in her mind, wanting to give the Faculty of Science a voice in the new renovations to Thames Hall and the health services it is slated to provide. She also plans to issue a motion for the policy on Sunday midterms to be re-evaluated, as well as making mental health resources, including Wellness Wednesdays, more effective and accessible to students.
You can find Victoria Barroso’s platform here.
The debate structure was fast-paced in its responses to questions, and there’s a lot of information to glean from their thoughts on select issues. We’ve decided to cover the debate as a compendium of the most important questions that were asked.
What will be your biggest priority as SSC president?
Barroso’s biggest priority is to continue facilitating discussions related to missed academic work relief. This process is already in the works, and she believes her strong communication skills and policy-drafting experience will accelerate the process. Ahmed is focused on SSC directly helping students. In addition to the centralized database that he is working on, he also plans on running different workshops that will be helpful to students.
How can SSC be more connected to the students they represent?
Ahmed proposed a one-page infographic that will be available online and in print that summarizes council business so students can be more aware of council operations. Barroso plans on increasing engagement through her interdisciplinary case competition, as well as by creating student awards facilitated by council.
What sets you apart from the other candidate?
In responding to this question, both candidates’ personalities shone through. Barroso is passionate and enthusiastic, talking about how much time she has devoted to both SSC and USC, and being the “best advocate [for students] that she can be.” Ahmed, on the other hand, is calm, sincere, and believes himself to be a “more well-rounded candidate.” He is focused on being efficient, effective, and reaching out directly to students to achieve tangible results.