“Denver’s ABC’s” significantly lack detail, research and plans for execution
Though “Denver’s ABC’s” address some timely concerns, like tuition and MSU clubs, his platform significantly lacks in research, consultation and detail, both in terms of specific plans and execution.
Della-Vedova hopes to use the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance more effectively to reduce tuition. Tuition is an important issue, especially with increased financial barriers during the pandemic.
The MSU and OUSA are bound by their policies. The official stances of both the MSU and OUSA on tuition are: The province should freeze tuition across all programs until a fair-cost sharing model is restored. Then, tuition increases for all programs should be capped at inflation.
Della-Vedova’s platform is in direct violation of these policies. Regardless of COVID-19, OUSA and the MSU have not changed their tuition policies. Both policies are subject to amendment by the MSU Student Representative Assembly or by the OUSA General Assembly, which would likely not meet in his term until the end of October 2021. Della-Vedova will likely face significant challenges to advocate for tuition reduction.
The campus safety point does not address racial profiling or sexual violence prevention and response. In June 2020, the SRA, including Della-Vedova, passed a motion to call for the removal of the head of security services and an end to the special constable program. This motion became the official stance of the MSU. Yet, Della-Vedova does not promise to achieve either of these goals.
Della-Vedova cited a campus climate survey and census from this year for student feedback on campus safety. However, through the Silhouette’s fact-checking, we could only find last year’s provincial government SVPR climate survey. Della-Vedova does not mention any past or ongoing efforts of sexual violence prevention or response.
There is a significant and noticeable lack of consideration for issues of racial justice and justice for equity-seeking groups on campus in Denver’s ABCs.
While there are points around international student representation, financial aid and increasing physical accessibility on campus, there are no points on justice for Black, Indigenous and students of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ students, women and survivors.
A is for Accessibility
Della-Vedova promises to ensure the safety of immunocompromised individuals in the return to campus. However, there are no details for how he will accomplish this. No consultations, such as with key return to campus groups, are noted in the platform.
This section includes education and resources on student housing, such as tenant rights and signing a lease. He hopes to work with campus stakeholders, including Residence Life and the Society of Off-Campus Students. It is unclear whether Della-Vedova has consulted with these groups. Further, his platform does not acknowledge or differentiate between similar initiatives.
Della-Vedova hopes to receive and address student concerns around proctoring software and to improve hybrid learning. He plans to streamline student-professor communication and he wants the MSU to be a leader in physical accessibility, such as ensuring McMaster complies with provincial standards.
He hopes to advocate for parking cost changes and for more online course options to alleviate parking needs. There are no details on how he will accomplish these tasks.
B is for Better Advocacy
Della-Vedova wants to continue federal advocacy for international students and provincial advocacy around tuition regulation. He plans to build upon the international student task force implemented by MSU President Giancarlo Da-Ré and create long-term goals.
He plans to create an off-campus international student seat on MSU First Year Council and work with the Student Success Centre to understand and deliver on the needs of international students. It is unclear what consultation has been done or how he plans to achieve these goals.
C is for Community
Della-Vedova’s prioritization of mental health can be appreciated with the overwhelming nature of the pandemic. He plans to create an online booking system at the Student Wellness Centre but his platform lacks detail on how this would be accomplished or if he has consulted the SWC.
Della-Vedova suggests a survey to understand student struggles this year. The McMaster virtual learning task force ran the fall 2020 experience survey and is currently implementing its recommendations. Della-Vedova does not mention this or differentiate his idea.
He plans to address academic concerns for current and incoming students, discuss academics with the vice-provost on academics and include current first years in Welcome Week 2021. He plans to restructure Welcome Week with MSU Spark and Maroons; however, these services do not plan Welcome Week.
He plans to continue improvements on the MSU website and create an Avenue to Learn tab for MSU updates. He does not provide further details.
He plans to work with the Clubs Advisory Council on shaping the future of MSU clubs. This is timely as students were outraged this past fall by policy changes. However, Della-Vedova does not specify the changes he would like to make or provide insight into how he will accomplish these goals.