Team Tobi’s platform revolves around their understanding of student needs.
While well-intentioned and including many popular student demands, the platform lacks thorough research and clarity behind some of their points. Team Tobi will have a chance to further explain their platform and expand on their ideas over the next two weeks.
This analysis highlights some of the major points on the slate's platform. For the full platform, visit here.
As stated in their first interview with The Gazette, a major focus of the slate is to increase student engagement with the USC.
The team promises to host meet-and-greets each week and to use more “interactive” social media in order to make the USC more accessible. Executive accessibility is great but most executives in the past have fallen off promises for weekly meetings so it remains to be seen if it will be realistic to follow through with. How the slates employs "interactive" social media remains to be seen.
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Other platform points in this section include implementing post-USC meeting coverage. The post-USC meeting updates would be good for transparency and would certainly make it more easy for students to follow council meetings (despite the USC spin).
The student life section in their platform encompasses an array of items that would affect most students on campus.
The positives of this section include adding additional microwaves on campus — something students complain about not having enough of year after year. Here’s hoping they would also make sure the microwaves are cleaned adequately!
Expanding clubs week is another platform point that is certainly doable. Expanding the week would allow clubs more time to advertise themselves and give students more time to view the vast array of clubs Western has. This year, clubs week was cut down and some clubs were not happy about the decision.
The slate also wants to raise an LGBTQ flag on campus during diversity week. It's a nice idea, but nothing revolutionary as an LGBTQ flag was lifted during Pride Week this year. Check out this Facebook live video.
One unique point that has not been mentioned in other platforms this year or in recent memory is adding an airport shuttle service, but the platform didn't go into details about the shuttle and its costs.
When asked Tulk said the shuttle aims to provide a service for out-of-province and international students. He said they are exploring the costs and do not have specifics yet on where the money would come from, or what company (for example, Greyhound) will be used.
The shuttle to Toronto will face numerous challenges — how does the USC ensure students just heading to Toronto don't overwhelm the shuttle? What about sheer costs and liability? As well, a previously introduced student bus service, London Rocket, soon ran into trouble with competitors. The slate should've figured out the basic logistics if this idea before proposing it.
Related: Platform Analysis: Team DiBrina
The slate also states they will bring a buffet breakfast to the Wave for $5.99. When asked about the research behind the price and feasibility, Tulk said he did not speak with the Wave general manager, but spoke with some employees to determine the figure. Considering how difficult it is bring about big menu changes at the Spoke and Wave, this plan — while it sounds good —will be challenging to implement.
This section looks very similar to previous candidates' platforms. Annual staples such as changing the three in 23 exam policy, releasing exam schedules earlier and adding a fall reading break all make a reappearance.
Some of these points are already in motion. The fall reading break is likely happening regardless of who the new USC exec is, and as Team Tobi noted, an ad hoc committee has already been set up.
As The Gazette has pointed out time and time again, three in 23 is not something the USC exec has control of and is not a simple decision — it is a Senate decision. Releasing exam schedules earlier is similarly a difficult process outside the exec’s control. In an interview, Solebo noted he understands they can only advocate to Senate to make these changes and that regardless of whether or not they will listen, it doesn't mean the important issue should simply be tabled.
Some promising points in this section include advocating for increased work-integrated learning (WIL). The slate discusses the importance of co-op and internship placements and helping students transition to the workforce. The platform clearly states that they will be “advocating” for this and it is a point many students can get behind.
Other notable points
One section of the slate's platform is devoted to mental health. The slate discusses their plans for soph support, exploring a partnership with First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP) and consolidating mental health resources. While the FEMAP idea is definitely interesting, consolidating mental health resources through the wellness centre is something that's already in progress.
Community outlook is also discussed within the platform with highlights being efforts to bring city councillors to campus for a meet-and-greet and advocating for bus rapid transit — which is basically a continuation of the USC's current positions.