Report Card time: evaluating the USC’s top dogs
Every year The Gazette evaluates
the University Students’ Council’s Board of Directors
(the president and vice-presidents), by soliciting, confidentially,
an assessment from USC councillors and commissioners.
Below is the result — the annual USC Report Cards. Our
news department consulted over 30 councillors and commissioners,
most of whom just love hearing themselves talk as it is (thanks
to all that got back to us, by the way).
We should note that councillors and commissioners have a very
particular perspective on the job performance of the board
members. These grades were administered with the understanding
that such a perspective doesn’t necessarily allow the
evaluators a complete picture.
Overall board C+
In almost any Batman movie, TV show or comic book, the villain
tends to retreat to its hideout following defeat, and everything
returns to the way it was before the villain set his or her
diabolical designs in motion.
The same can be said of this year’s University Students’ Council
Board of Directors and their impact on Western. Most classify
this year’s board as status quo, where almost everything
remained the same. There were no new campus-altering initiatives,
no genuine risks taken and generally nothing introduced that
involved far-reaching changes over the next several years.
Comments by councillors and commissioners regarding the board’s
general effectiveness were sketchy and vague. Those who worked
with the board did point out president and VPs worked more
as a cohesive political unit. They were a group of specialists
in each of their portfolios rather than a scattered group of
individuals, as in boards past.
The board was said to be approachable when needed and more
visible on campus — also an improvement from previous
While the board did perform their mandated duties competently,
they had the habit of going relatively unnoticed. This board’s
term was a year of status quo, linking last year to next.
Paul Yeoman President C
Batman’s two-faced foe represents what councillors and
commissioners thought of University Students’ Council
President Paul Yeoman. Strong criticisms and strong praise
Two-Face was known for making his decisions by the flip of
a coin and Yeoman was perceived by many to make his decisions
as a politician, rather than out of principle or conviction.
While many felt he was an exemplary leader, others converged
on the opinion of him as uninspiring and unable to communicate
effectively. Several criticized him as lacking authority.
However, many recognized that this year’s Board was
not as top-down under Yeoman’s leadership as it was in
previous years, and some found this to be a positive.
Yeoman’s Living Campus Program surprised many, turning
out to be quite a success even though many had not expected
it to be. In fact, Yeoman was praised for keeping many of his
In true Two-Face form, some felt Yeoman was not visible enough
or available to students, while others praised him for being
very approachable and available. Are we to regret his invisibility
or thank our lucky stars that we did not run into the evil
other half, plotting to take out our beloved Batman?
The polar opposites in assessments of Yeoman’s term
do not mean there were no vague sentiments about him. Many
expressed the opinion that Yeoman has done “just an OK
Dave Ford VP-education A-
Much like his namesake, Western’s own Mr. “tuition” Freeze
Dave Ford has a method to his madness.
Councillors and commissioners were nearly unanimous that Ford
performed effectively in his role as VP-education, and demonstrated
thorough knowledge of the two student organizations to which
he represents Western: the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.
A couple of councillors suggested that, in contrast to last
year’s VP-education, Josh Morgan, Ford showed less political
motivation in his office, and was praised for simultaneously
keeping council aware of developments on the student lobby
His notable achievements this year included helping to establish
a constitution for the Student Caucus on Governance and his
participation in OUSA’s wall of debt campaign. Also,
Ford successfully implemented the SmartVote initiative in October
for the provincial election.
One criticism levelled at Ford was that he spent too much
time in his cryogenics lab (i.e. CASA and OUSA), and was not
as visible in the position as some would have liked him to
Ford’s work with individual students was not overlooked
either, as many USCers noticed that he applied his experience
to specific cases.
All in all, the consensus on Ford is that he managed to approach
the thawing of the ice-cold mistress of student lobbying well — after
all, the original Mr. Freeze had to turn to crime.
VP-campus issues B-
Though many see Poison Ivy’s kiss of death as something
to avoid, VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy instead has much
love for all — minus the agonizing and painful death
caused by poisonous plant toxins.
In dealing with perhaps the most emotionally-taxing of the
VP portfolios, Kennedy conducted herself very well and handled
From the turmoil surrounding the Middle East to queer issues,
Kennedy showed herself to be a hard worker and dedicated to
her portfolio. She was considered approachable by many and
a strong motivator by those who worked with her.
But like the exotic plants of her alter ego, Poison Ivy, Kennedy
was seen as slow-acting and reactionary. A delayed response
to issues gave rise to the perception that she lacked focus,
coupled with what some labelled as inconsistency. Some also
said that she needed to be more opinionated and take a less
Accolades ranged from her doing a “wonderful job” to
those who considered her performance only “decent.” Most
agree that she effectively maintained the status quo, but considered
the absence of any new initiatives as a negative.
However most councillors and commissioners felt her performance
was commendable, especially given the amount of issues and
concerns she was confronted with. Kennedy received near unanimous
praise for deftly handling a difficult portfolio and truly
taking the job to heart.
If anything, it sounds like Ivy took the poison out of her
name — and out of the campus environment.
Rohan Belliappa VP-finance A
The Penguin is Batman’s wealthy cigarette holder-chomping
nemesis. Coincidentally, he also resembles VP-finance Rohan
Belliappa (though not physically).
The Penguin has a knack for keeping track of his cash, just
like Belliappa. Save for his villainous schemes wreaking death
and destruction on the innocent people of Gotham City, the
Penguin receives very little criticism of his capability — not
unlike Belliappa’s work within the USC.
Some suggested Belliappa put forth few actual new initiatives,
hence the lack of criticism.
But many councillors and commissioners poured on the praise
for his talent in managing council’s finances and for
his organizational skills, which kept the USC’s books
balanced and those working under him working in an efficient
and adept manner.
This year saw the responsibility of the USC’s club system
move from the VP-student affairs’ to the VP-finance’s
portfolio. The switch of responsibilities meant that over 100
clubs with over 11,000 members were placed under the VP-finances’ jurisdiction
along with its usual duties, a move that many point out was
handled very efficiently by Belliappa.
Belliappa was also credited with keeping the committees, officers
and commissioners under him well informed and up-to-date on
His approachability was praised by those around him; he made
himself available to residence and affiliate councils for help
with their finances.
Belliappa has proven himself highly capable — much like
Penguin in his efforts against Batman.
Matt Huether VP-student affairs B
Like the perpetually smiling Joker, Matt Huether, this year’s “VP-fun,” kept
council laughing, often providing comic relief at meetings.
Luckily, the psychotic, nutso side only really surfaced in
Hueather’s wild and crazy (but lovely) hair.
Huether was a very positive mark on Western’s community
with the successful organization of Orientation Week and Western
Idol. Many complimented his work on O-Week, but some reserved
criticism for the amount of control he allowed administration
to retain over it. He also received high praise for his initiation
of the Cabaret course in second term. Generally, council thought
highly of his work with the various events of the “Living
Huether was seen by many as a dedicated and energetic VP.
He was credited for spawning many ideas and following through
Although many felt he had done an above-average job as VP-student
affairs, some designated him with an average mark. Many felt
he did not do enough to deal with the loss of the Wet/Dry Program
(although realistically, this was beyond his control).
The major criticism lodged against Huether was his availability.
As the VP-student affairs, part of his job involved being available.
Unfortunately, Huether was not an easy man to get in touch
with this year. Despite this, a few said they felt Huether
was quite visible on campus, perhaps more so than other VPs.