With McGuire’s blue scarves, Whelan’s red pants, and Prabhu’s green balloons visible all over campus, it’s easy to get caught up in the USC presidential race. But don’t forget that FIMS, for the first time in three years, has its own candidates to pick from.
A key aspect of FIMS is critical thinking, so what kind of faculty would we be if we didn’t take a hard look at our candidates’ platforms? So here’s some insight into the platforms of FIMSSC presidential candidates Jordan Pearson and Matt Wright.
Jordan PearsonPearson’s initial platform touched on some nice sentiments, but lacked many specific plans. Some points included more all-ages events, continued development of the FIMS Speaker and Forum series, furthering inclusivity among modules of the faculty, and “fun surprises” – whatever that means. Though fine thoughts, these points don’t offer much in terms of persuading a vote. Also, Pearson’s first platform had an ending packed with several larger issues, leaving inquiring readers with a bit of whiplash.
To his credit, Pearson released a second document detailing the points previously alluded to. These ideas included addressing the structural problems of TA working conditions, coordinating with the Ontario Undergraduate Students Association in order to reduce tuition (or that’s what it sounds like), and spearhead a movement against the Access Copyright agreement charging students for the use of copyrighted material. While Pearson is playing to real issues, it’s doubtful that as FIMSSC president he’d be able to make any substantial changes regarding TAs, tuition, or other larger University issues – issues that other bodies in the USC have been failing to affect.
Platform Highlight: A desire and enthusiasm to collaborate with organizations outside FIMSSC, such as the OUSA, to better the FIMS student experience.
Platform Lowlight: Though Pearson is playing off of last term’s MIT 2000 TA controversy, the process of choosing, training, and employing TAs is a much larger University issue and may be a bit over Pearson’s head. Some might say the use of the word ‘draconian’ is another lowlight [From the editor: just a bit of light humour, folks].
Wright’s platform includes some of the same generic tropes of Pearson’s (more all-ages events, better academic counseling, etc), but overall he takes a very different stance on the future of FIMS. Wright’s platform focuses on increasing the professional status of FIMS through a number of new initiatives. These include more career-oriented events, creating bonds between the faculty and Canadian media industries, and better preparing FIMS students for the workplace.
In line with such efforts, Wright wishes to shift course content beyond critical thinking and focus on uncovering solutions to some of the problems we analyze. Wright’s advocacy of practicality will attract some student voters and deter others. Wright’s platform certainly appeals to the concerns many of us in the faculty have in terms of finding work after graduation. At the same time, FIMS has always been concerned with asking the hard questions – not coming up with the easy answers.
Platform Highlight: Wright’s intention to form a ‘Creative Hub’ for FIMS students to collaborate and network is both specific and feasible. Whether or not the site would be a place to find designers, photographers, and writers or become a place of Craigslist ads for the faculty is still to be seen. Either way, good platform point.
Platform Lowlight: Wright’s desire to make FIMS a powerhouse in the media job market is commendable, but changing class content might be going a little far. Wright should focus on adding opportunities for career development, not demanding answers for class theories (“Today, class, we’re going to talk about how to get rid of heteronormative and capitalist advertising industries”).
In these first few days of campaigning, the candidates have done a good job in distinguishing their platforms from each other, but have both failed at properly introducing themselves to the faculty. We may feel small, but I promise that we don’t all know each other. What are some of your past leadership experiences? What initiatives have you successfully carried through with? Then again, it is early and both candidates have ample time to promote themselves and their platform.
Kevin Hurren is Arts & Entertainment Editor for OPENWIDE, Vol. 12 and a self-professed election junkie.