Art critique

Simranjeet Singh Platform Review — The Silhouette

C/O Simranjeet Singh

Simranjeet’s Singh platform offers a ambitious Number ideas to various problems

With a total of 26 platform points, Singh offers a myriad of solutions to pressing problems, but not without questioning feasibility. Singh’s platform is based on extensive collaboration with numerous organizations within McMaster University and the City of Hamilton.

Student welfare

Singh proposes to increase the Student Welfare Center’s collaboration with a variety of McMaster Student Union groups and clubs by creating a Student Welfare Center Advisory Committee. It would serve as a hub for student leaders to communicate their findings and concerns to CFC.

However, current MSU services are already in contact with students through peer support services. The creation of such a committee poses a question of redundancy given that the volunteers of these services can already direct students to specific resources, such as the CFC.

Additionally, Singh is seeking to increase the number of group counseling sessions and SWC hours of operation and allow students to access these services outside of working hours.

Rosanne Kent, the director of the SWC, confirmed that Singh had consulted her on this and that her goal was indeed achievable. In fact, the SWC has already slowly increased its capacity this academic year with the goal of restoring pre-COVID-19 service in the future.

Building a stronger community

While Singh’s desire to work with Metrolinx to expand buses and reintroduce canceled express bus routes may be ideal for reducing student commute times, Singh does not detail any consultation with Metrolink to address the feasibility of these changes. These bus routes have likely been canceled due to reduced student numbers due to online classes and the trajectory of McMaster’s reopening remains uncertain in this current pandemic climate.

Singh communicated with MSU chief executive John McGowan to ensure bus services reflect student needs once students return to campus. McGowan said he believed his goal was achievable.

He also hopes to encourage Metrolinx to accelerate the development of the hamilton Light Rail transit line. Since the development of the LRT line depends on a multitude of other stakeholders whose schedules differ from those of the students, Singh did not provide details on whether this goal could be activated.

The feasibility of Singh’s goal to introduce student discounts to a significant number of local businesses in Hamilton also raises questions given that the actual implementation of this depends on businesses’ willingness to do so.

Singh wants to conduct a large-scale study to determine average rental prices, student experiences with off-campus housing, and use these findings to better educate students about their rights as tenants and advocate for a better housing market. He consulted with McMaster’s associate vice president, Kim Dej, who expressed support for the study.

However, despite Dej’s support, Singh fails to mention how this goal would accomplish something different from the Resources already offered to McMaster students.

Environmental sustainability

Many of Singh’s suggestions for environmental sustainability are already undertaken by the university on a regular basis with community partners. For example, Singh’s proposal to work with hospitality services to reduce food waste and address student food insecurity is being addressed by the student-run MSU Food Collective Center with a nonprofit . projects. Hospitality Services also aims to increase its purchases of local products.

Singh’s suggestion to work with the Office of Sustainability to develop a waste management strategy to verify the total amount of waste produced on campus in a year is an ambitious idea. However, such an audit may not accurately reflect McMaster’s waste generation given the possible presence of reduced students and staff on campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it would require a close partnership with the City of Hamilton. Singh did not say whether he had consulted with anyone with the city.

Create a more equitable education

Singh’s suggestion of a provincial tuition freeze with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance does not see the MSU and the WHERE already officially hold the tuition freeze position.

He hopes to advocate for a province-wide initiative that will support funding for universities through channels outside the pockets of the students themselves. Singh plans to work with MSU’s vice president of education given the position as the vice president’s delegate to OUSA meetings. He consulted with the current vice president for education, Siobhan Teel, who expressed support for Singh’s idea. However, Singh’s platform does not provide specifics on how this funding will be acquired.

Singh’s desire to advocate for reducing the cost of textbooks by replacing them with online educational resources is a valuable way to encourage more fair education. He spoke with Deputy Vice Rector Kim Dej, who said there is scope to introduce more OER options.

However, Singh points out that McMaster lacks REL funding. It plans to introduce student research assistantships to support the development of OER but does not specify whether there is adequate funding to do so.

Career development support

Singh’s suggestion to create more opportunities to help students in their career development with the creation of resume and application writing support services are already offered by the university’s human resources Services. McMaster offers networking opportunities in the form of Volunteer Fairs as well as numerous career events hosted throughout the year by the Student Success Center and student-run clubs such as the McMaster Undergraduate Research in Science Association.

Singh has broad ideas; however, its platform would benefit from more clarity on how its approaches will differentiate from many of the services already in place within McMaster.

Image courtesy of jb_photography📸

Novera Shenin