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Report card revisited A look at the what Board of Directors accomplished in second term

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Teddy Saull

MSU President Teddy Saull has had a rollercoaster of a year.

Of Saull’s 14 projects, among the most awaited is the Peer Tutoring Network, which will be ready for a soft launch in May.

Off-campus safety was a platform point that Saull campaigned on in the 2013 election. In an attempt to improve the security of the areas around McMaster, Saull conducted a safety audit and is working with the City of Hamilton to make student well-being a priority.

Saull has also been working on several projects behind the scenes. One important example is the committee reviewing the university’s discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment policy.

And of course, Saull is still working on his most famous project: the year-end celebration.

“[It] was a lot of work leading up to it to get us to a place where we…felt comfortable and our staff on the back-end felt like it was something they could and wanted to pull off,” said Saull. “I try to keep the vision alive, but really the planning and all of the hard work is happening with our full-time staff and our campus partners.”

Though he has creative ideas, Saull was rated lowest on communication abilities in the November report card. Since then he has made modest strides; he continues to spend time with a whiteboard in the student centre to solicit students’ opinions, but has yet to re-activate his Facebook page.

“Overall I think year-end celebration has, as a whole, every piece of it from start to finish, has elevated the status of the MSU in people’s lives,” said Saull. “I think that has been an immense success with just getting people to think about what the MSU is doing.”

Saull’s projects:

  • Peer Tutor Network
  • Review of the university’s discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment policy
  • Increased Frost Week funds
  • LINK conference
  • Exam upgrades
  • MUSC upgrades
  • Off-campus safety audit
  • SLEF promotion
  • Perspectives on peace
  • Year-end celebration

Jacob Brodka

Jacob Brodka, MSU VP Administration, faced the most criticism in the November report card. Since then, he has been working to fulfill his platform points and turn things around.

A success this term is the ratification of the Women and Gender Equity Network. However, Brodka has still not managed to find a permanent space for WGEN.

Brodka has also instituted a new element of the Peer Support Line: text-based peer support. He has also begun the sustainability audit, although it has yet to be completed.

One criticism of Brodka from part-time managers in the last report card was his lack of communication.

Second term, Brodka says he’s improved.

“I have been very transparent in all discussions related to projects of student interest and actively worked to invite student feedback by holding office hours, online engagement, etc.”

However, even after The Silhouette highlighted Brodka’s failure to facilitate year plans for part-time managers, it has still not been done. Similarily, a sustainability audit that had been delayed when The Silhouette checked in November is currently in progress but has yet to be completed.

Overall, while Brodka has certainly improved in taking initiative since first term, he has room to improve in fulfilling his responsibilities before the end of his term.

Brodka’s projects:

  • State of the Union
  • Text-based Peer Support
  • McMaster Student Leadership Conference
  • Re-allocation of Welcome Week levy
  • Hired 2015-2016 part-time managers
  • Review and ratification of  Spark and WGEN
  • Supported investigation of need for an Abilities Service
  • Change Camp Hamilton

Scott Mallon

In The Silhouette’s November report card, Mallon scored well on fulfilling his role, but low on keeping on time with his platform point projects.

Second term, Mallon focused his energy on changing the Welcome Week levy and creating an operating reserve to help the MSU survive future crises.

“We finalized the Welcome Week levy and faculty societies are getting an extra five percent. That’s a huge – that’s a 50 percent increase over what they got last year,” said Mallon. “That came out of SWAG from Welcome Week.” Students will now receive only the two t-shirts for welcome week, and will no longer get a laundry bag, umbrella, or pen.

Another addition to Welcome Week is new programming that addresses several issues relevant to students including substance abuse, gender violence, and mental health.

Mallon has also been working on setting up an operating fund for the MSU.

“[The reserve is] to make sure that if we ever fall on financial troubles we have money in there to make sure that services don’t get cut,” said Mallon. The fund can also be used to make a large purchase or expand programming.

When Mallon was asked about student engagement, he cited his active social media presence and open door policy as ways he increases communication with students.

“I always have the door open – I interact a lot more with part-time managers and people that are involved,” he said, “But there is the odd student that reaches out and wants to talk about where their dollars go,” he said.

Scott Mallon flies under the radar with many of his financial responsibilities being behind the scenes, but students will feel the effects of his work in the future.

Mallon’s projects:

  • Re-allocation of Welcome Week levy
  • New programming for Welcome Week including topics such as gender violence and mental health
  • Creating operating reserve for MSU
  • Negotiating with university to make Mac Farmstand sustainable

Rodrigo Narro Perez

Rodrigo Narro Perez, MSU VP Education scored highest on The Silhouette’s report card. In second term he has continued this effort through municipal lobbying, improving the learning portfolio, and working with the university to develop the mental health strategy. He also completed a report on the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and recommended that the MSU leave CASA, which ultimately passed at the Student Representative Assembly.

One project is only partially completed, a database of courses called the “Course Wiki”. The wiki is active on the MSU’s website, but does not contain any comments.

Another project Narro Perez worked on this semester is improving support for teaching assistants, starting with the Faculty of Science.

“The Dean [of Science] is actually creating a culture shift – professors need to be a little bit more accountable to their TAs,” he said.

Narro Perez has continued to communicate clearly and engage the student body. Several initiatives include hosting the Ontario University Student Association General Assembly, creating a new part-time community engagement coordinator position, and running the Change Camp event with Brodka.

“We were second trending in Hamilton [on Twitter] that night.”

Even into the second term, Narro Perez continues to fulfill the VP Education role through advocacy, events, and community engagement.

Narro-Perez’s projects:

  • Assistance with launch of mental health strategy
  • CASA report and recommendation
  • Course Wiki
  • Change Champ Hamilton
  • Increased TA support
  • Hosted OUSA General Assembly
  • Municipal lobbying
  • New part-time position called Community Engagement Coordinator

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