February 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 71  

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Another perspective: The Gazette doles out grades

Dallas Curow/Gazette
THE 2003/04 USC BOARD. From left to right: Rohan Belliappa, Liz Berman, Adrienne Kennedy, Dave Ford and Matt Huether, holding Paul Yeoman.

Historically, The Gazette allowed the University Students’ Council’s Board of Director Report Cards, which are based on comments from councillors and commissioners, to speak for themselves.

Sometimes misconceptions arose as to how the editorial board at the paper allowed their own opinion to seep into the process. With that in mind, this year we decided to publish our own set of grades next to the traditional one.

The communications officer has been included here and not in the set determined by councillors and commissioners. The position is significant enough to warrant evaluation, but the comm. officer is not elected by Council, and we felt we were better able to provide a perspective on the position.

Paul Yeoman, President — C-
Yeoman’s year could have been much brighter if not for the obvious “don’t rock the boat” mentality we believe he adopted upon his election last spring. If the term status quo can be used to describe the USC’s direction this year, it is because of his leadership.

It is clear that Yeoman is a hard worker, but he failed to apply himself in a way consummate with the qualities expected in a USC president.

He is extremely pleasant to deal with, but some say he is always in “politician mode.” His decision-making process is often overly cautious and one can tell he applies a trepidatious threat assessment to nearly every problem he encounters.

There have been some significant bright spots this year. His initiative to examine the problem with parking was important, and he was instrumental in preventing administration from misspending money in the Quality Assurance Fund.

However, Yeoman hasn’t proven himself an exemplary leader — in fact, he appears detached from council. He seems available to students, but not visible across campus.

Adrienne Kennedy,
VP-campus issues — B

Kennedy is perhaps the most active and hard working member of the board.

Acting almost as the USC’s complaint department, she has faced every significant student social problem and dealt with them all effectively, including the Middle East “tensions.”

She has done an admirable job maintaining such initiatives as the food bank and Queerline. Although she hasn’t been the driving force behind any substantive new initiatives, comparisons to her predecessor would dim any individual’s success.

Dave Ford, VP-education — B-
Ford has proven himself very effective at managing his portfolio.

The SmartVote campaign was handled extremely well during the provincial election, and Ford’s work with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has been beyond reproach.

As for on-campus initiatives, it is likely Ford could have taken the time to create something more substantial. For this reason, he will likely leave no mark on the USC outside of his lobby efforts.

Rohan Belliappa, VP-finance — A
Belliappa is exceptionally professional, on the ball and well organized. Of all the vice-presidents, he appears the most well prepared.

The VP-finance portfolio had the responsibilities of managing clubs this year, something to which Belliappa has adjusted well.

Much of the scope of his work is beyond the public eye, but Belliappa’s reports to council remain consistently informative and entertaining.

Matt Huether,
VP-student affairs — C+

Huether has done an absolute wonder for the arts at Western.

With Caberet, the festival of the arts, Purple Shorts, not to mention the wildly successful Western Idol competition, Huether lived up to the name “VP-fun.”

One of the major criticisms against Huether is that when events under his portfolio were scrutinized by administration, the USC bent backwards to appease admin instead of acting as advocates for students.

Many sophs felt disaffected during Orientation Week, and Huether failed to provide damage control. The Orientation Strategic Planning Group, with which Huether was involved, was geared to appease the admin and not please students. Also, when administration asked the USC not proceed with Cow Plop Bingo, the USC bent over.

Liz Berman,
communications officer — C+

Berman has greatly improved the comm. officer position from last year, as she has consistently responded to requests in a timely and professional manner.

She was criticized, and rightly so, for a press release during the municipal elections that listed fewer than half the candidates. This was exacerbated by her affiliation with one candidate’s campaign and the resulting perception some had of her objectivity.

Her work during USC elections has been far better, and the Voting for Dummies theme is a solid idea. The USC Front, however, remains ineffective as a tool for communicating with students and should be eliminated.

Overall — C+
The board has done a legitimately decent job running the USC this year, but has failed to initiate anything of significance. The communication within the board itself appears good, but there doesn’t appear to be any cohesion with council, leading to a lack of inspiration.

The board members work very well together as a team, but will be remembered in the short term as the status quo board. As a result, in the long term, it will likely not be remembered at all.



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