Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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2002/03 USC Report Card

Much like the denizens of Springfield, the University Students' Council Board of Directors consists of a wide variety of characters. Heading into their final months in office, it's time for the current class of cartoon politicos to step up and receive their grades.

After speaking with numerous councillors and commissioners, The Gazette has compiled the comments and off-the-cuff quips of the people who know the Board of Directors best.

This year's USC Board seems to have done fairly well, with most people commenting on their ability to get initiatives completed and follow through with their goals.

However, while a small minority believe this year's Board work well together, many viewed the members' overall chemistry as never having quite gelled. This stands in stark contrast to the highly cohesive and visibly united groups that have made up previous Boards.

All in all, this year's Board of Directors gets a B-, but with three and a half more months before they get kicked out of their fancy offices, their final grade could shift in either direction.


Hi. My name is Josh Morgan. You may remember me from such acronyms as OUSA and CASA.

As the VP-education and Troy McClure of this year's USC, Morgan had tough shoes to fill, trying to live up to the performance of his predecessor, Erin McCloskey, now Women's Issues Network co-ordinator. However, Morgan's knowledge of everything politics has been an asset to the USC this year, and his lobbying efforts as president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations have not gone unnoticed.

Morgan has worked hard to generate more interest among students for politics, and has been praised for his Smart Vote initiative. Unfortunately, some USCers note he has a tendency to get frustrated when people do not echo his passion for the political sphere, noting he seems to have difficulty breaking down complex issues enough for council to understand external politics.

He has been criticized by some for spending too much time on external issues and not focusing on the students here at Western. While Morgan's OUSA agenda has profited in the last year, some believe he has lacked passion for specifically Western issues.

Morgan has been described as straightforward, approachable and knowledgeable; however, he is known for not often being around or in his office. His redraft of the USC education policy and preparedness for council meetings was hailed, but his alleged habit of credit-taking for others' work left something to be desired.


Like Police Chief Wiggum, USC President Chris Sinal is in charge of a group of individuals that range from great to mediocre.

As an individual, Sinal has been described as everything from a flirt, to fake, to downright inspirational, leading the troops into battle.

Highly approachable, Sinal has sparked a few good initiatives during his presidential term, including the USC councillors' retreat at the end of November, the high school outreach program and the establishment of the Orientation Strategic Planning Group to revamp Orientation Week.

Sinal's outgoing personality, availability and his vast knowledge of the USC and Western as a whole have served him well when discussing issues, one-on-one, or in a group.

He is known to work hard behind the scenes, while at the same time recognizing there are limits to the amount that can be done.

However, Sinal has been known to pass the buck on to others when dealing with issues that may hurt his "Joe Friendly" image. Having said that, as a leader, dodging sticky issues to avoid looking like the bad guy is not something to be desired.

With the cloud of the failed "Operation Massive" over his head (an event he held as VP-SA in 2000, which lost $30,000), most noted that Sinal is less keen on taking risks this year. While he made it through the year with a few solid initiatives, Sinal did not attempt anything overly innovative.

A consummate politician with a recognizable laugh – much like the police chief himself – this "chief" has managed to actually get something done this year.


Smart, courageous and opinionated – minus the spiky hair, Nicole Nelson epitomizes some of the most distinct qualities of Lisa Simpson.

As VP-campus issues, Nelson is deserving of the high praise she received for some of her initiatives, such as Queerline and improvements to the USC food bank. Her battle to ensure student parents have access to daycare services also warrants mention.

Nelson is widely considered approachable and passionate, and someone whose enthusiasm can be infectious.

However, not everyone feels the same way. Nelson has received some criticism for not praising others – particularly some of her commissioners who have contributed to the campus issues portfolio. Like the Board itself, she could also stand to be a little more visible to the average student.

A few people suggest her initiatives only affect a minority of students – which may be true – but most argue the quality and importance of those initiatives should not be measured by what percentage of students they help.

There is also the suggestion that Nelson's passion is watered-down, compared to last year when she was co-ordinator of the Women's Issues Network on campus. Some suggest this comes as the result of her having to focus on a wider range of initiatives than she has had to in the past.

However, the vast majority feel she has accomplished a great deal and done a remarkable job. So while Lisa would be disappointed without the A, Nelson's B+ is nothing to cry about.


Like Principal Seymour Skinner, this year's VP-student affairs Lil Chieh can be described as practical and efficient, but lacking in overall flare and charisma.

Overall, Chieh has overseen some quality initiatives this year and has been a competent manager of the SA portfolio. However, what has hurt her has been her lack of visibility to both council and the student body.

In part, her lack of visibility can be atributed to the hard work she's been doing behind the scenes to make her portfolio run smoothly and ensure organization. For that, she deserves much credit, as she avoided the problems of past VP-student affairs.

Chieh's work to reconcile soph uniform costs for next year's O-Week has been seen as a major positive by most. As well, her reworking of the Clubs Policy has drawn acclaim by much of council.

She is known to place a lot of emphasis on the commissioners that are in her portfolio, acting as a helpful resource for them. However, her follow-up support has been said to be less than stellar, and her lack of attendance at events organized by her commissioners has not gone unnoticed.

Known for keeping her cool, this efficient and realistic VP has run a well organized portfolio, while working hard to find common solutions to complex problems that may arise.

Some have questioned her neutral stance on a lot of issues and suggested perhaps a firmer stance may have helped her out a bit this year.

A word of advice for future holders of this office – spend less time in the janitor's closet with Mrs. Krabapple and more time with the students.


Much like Ralph Wiggum has been criticized for eating too much paste, USC communications officer Kadie Ward has been heavily criticized for her performance this year .

Many USC-types who have worked with Ward claim she has lacked initiative, blaming her for an allegedly lacklustre USC Front and USC Notes in the beginning of the year. Critics have also said she has done little to make the USC more visible.

Ward has received criticism for spelling and grammar mistakes on written documents and many have suggested she lacks the proper skills to communicate in the position effectively. Thus far, her perceived lack of competency in the position has led several people to call into question the value of even having a communications officer.

However, those feelings are not unanimous; a distinct minority of councillors feel Ward is dedicated, creative and enthusiastic. Some noted Ward's legitimate reasons for being absent during early parts of the fall term may have contributed to her falling behind.

Overall, Ward has a reputation of being a procrastinator, specifically in terms of increasing the visibility of the USC Front this year and making much needed improvements to the USC Web site, as well as failing to communicate enough with councillors. Ironically, she has also been accused of not taking criticism well and lashing out at others when things go wrong.

Ward's recent attempts to improve her performance prevent her from receiving a failing grade. Besides, even Ralph made it to second grade.


Just as everyone in Springfield loves Lenny (remember Marge's cry of "anyone but Lenny" when Homer claimed he was hospitalized?), Michael Rudd's co-workers have nothing to sing, but his praises.

This year's VP-finance has really tried to make his portfolio more accessible to the USC as a whole. While some noted that he lacked innovation, the mid-term budgets he presented to council not only attempted to make councillors aware and understand the budgetary process, but also helped them to feel more involved in the financial aspects of the USC.

Rudd has a solid knowledge of finances and budgets and has been applauded for always being available to help councillors and commissioners alike with their financial concerns. USCers have cited his work on the Campus Advantage program, as well as his push to expand CHRW 94.7FM and TV Western, as commendable initiatives.

The initiatives Rudd has tackled have seen progress throughout the year, whether or not they are all visible. In addition, he has been commended for serving as an efficient liaison for clubs and commissioners.

His co-workers claim Rudd is one of the best resources the USC has, noting his good work often goes unnoticed. Fear not Rudd – your hard work has truly paid off.

The only bad thing about this guy is that no one said a negative word about him. But, this lack of criticism can be translated into a lack of risk-taking and a portfolio that's hard to truly grasp or critique.


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