With elections right around the corner, it’s time for The Gateway’s annual Students’ Union (SU) report cards!
Each year, it is part of the Opinion Editor’s job to evaluate the performance of the SU executive team, as well as the undergraduate Board of Governors Representative (BoG rep). The purpose behind these report cards is to hold those in positions of power to account.
As an institution, the SU represents over 32,000 undergraduate students and advocates on their behalf to the university administration, as well as external groups like the provincial government. Beyond advocacy, the SU provides services to students and runs businesses on campus. They accomplish this with a budget over $11 million, which is funded through student fees. Because of this, it is important we look closely at their track records over the year and evaluate whether they are fulfilling the responsibilities of the office that students elected them to hold.
Based on prior report cards, The Gateway assigns a letter grade from amongst five ranges to each student representative:
- A-range: This person has fulfilled the promises they campaigned on and more, has created tangible change during their tenure, and has shown a commitment to improving the lives of students. Their GPA is top tier.
- B-range: This person has done their job consistently well, but has not made any remarkable changes, or has fallen short on important goals they set out in their platforms. They’re doing fine, but it’s nothing to phone home about.
- C-range: This person has done their job sufficiently, but has failed to make significant progress in the areas most relevant to their portfolio, or has essentially abandoned a major part of their platform. They’re still passing with a safe buffer though, and Cs get degrees!
- D-range: This person has done a very lacklustre job, and has not sufficiently fulfilled their campaign promises or the responsibilities of their position.
- F-range: This person has not done their job, has not represented students, and has not fulfilled their campaign promises whatsoever.
These grades are primarily based on, but not limited to, an evaluation of the following areas:
- Fulfillment of their campaign promises
- Fulfillment of their job responsibilities and duties
- Handling of important issues
- Student outreach and engagement
For the 2020-21 academic year, we will also be considering how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the campaign promises of each representative. This has undoubtedly been a difficult year for most students and, while we maintain high expectations for student politicians, The Gateway must acknowledge the reasonable limits these conditions placed on the SU. We will consider COVID-19 impacted specific campaign promises and will consider whether alternative actions were available which would’ve upheld the spirit of their promise.
To ensure these assessments meet our rigorous editorial standards, The Gateway interviewed each student representative prior to publishing their report card. For SU executives specifically, this was composed of two interviews: one at the beginning of the year to hear about their visions, and a second one at the end of the year to discuss their progress on their portfolios. For the BoG rep, only one interview was conducted. Additionally, The Gateway noted public actions, track records at governance meetings like Students’ Council or General Faculties Council, and actions documented within SU executive reports.