Another perspective: The Gazette doles out grades
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
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.
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
The VP-finance portfolio had the responsibilities of managing
clubs this year, something to which Belliappa has adjusted
Much of the scope of his work is beyond the public eye, but
Belliappa’s reports to council remain consistently informative
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
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
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