MSU Elections 2020: Krystina Koc platform critique

January 27, 2020
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes
Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

With the slogan “Time to Be Heard,” Krystina Koc focuses on advocacy and student life enhancement. While her platform is broad-reaching in scope, it lacks specificity and relies on existing McMaster Students Union plans.

For example, as a part of her advocacy pillar, Koc plans to make the MSU’s internal processes, such as conflict management and MSU service reviews, more efficient. By her own admission, this would be a continuation of current MSU President Josh Marando’s work. Regardless, Koc does not lay out a strategy for how she would build on Marando’s work or add to it. 

Koc’s proposals to improve transparency have potential, but they fall short due to a lack of detail. She proposes publishing bi-annual reports with updates on work being done by the MSU. The Board of directors currently uses several communication strategies, which include office hours, the President’s Page in The Silhouette and updates during SRA meetings. Koc also did not clarify exactly what the bi-annual reports would contain, nor did she explain how their content would differ from other reports that the board releases. 

Another one of Koc’s goals is to improve student safety. She plans to achieve this by increasing lighting in student neighbourhoods, facilitating safety measures with landlords and creating video modules with instructions intended to help students manage potentially unsafe situations. Her platform does not clarify how consultations with landlords would help improve student safety, nor does it outline exactly what safety measures she would strive to implement through consultation with landlords. Furthermore, this platform point does not account for health and safety concerns in student housing that arise due to neglectful landlords, who may be unwilling to engage in this type of consultation.

Marando’s municipal affairs team has conducted an off-campus lighting survey and, recently, conducted a lighting audit with Ward 1 City Councillor Maureen Wilson. It is unclear how Koc would use Marando’s initiatives to inform her proposal. 

Koc also wants to re-open discussions on McMaster’s Department of Athletics and Recreation’s tank top ban at the Pulse. However, the policy is already being reviewed by the department’s Fitness Coordinator Lee-Ann Wilson and other senior management staff, in response to a student who put forward an inquiry earlier in the academic year. It is unclear how Koc’s platform point would factor into these existing discussions.

All four of Koc’s platform points regarding student life enhancement also lack specificity and consultation.

Koc aims to review all McMaster clubs in order to discern those that have been inactive for six months or have overlapping purposes. Regulating clubs based on inactivity would involve a change in the MSU Clubs Operating policy. Section 8.1.15 states that clubs need to hold only one general meeting per year, in addition to completing other responsibilities, to maintain their MSU clubs status. 

Furthermore, Koc’s plan to combine clubs that have the same mission and values is already reflected the Clubs Operating Policy. Section 4.4 of the policy states that, if multiple clubs are found to have the same purpose, the Clubs Administrator will try to find different niches for them, or otherwise merge or disband the clubs. Unless Koc plans to update the Operating Policy to refine the criteria for duplicate clubs, this platform point is redundant. Furthermore, Clubs Administrator Aditi Sharma, who is responsible for ratifying and monitoring clubs, stated that she was not formally consulted about this platform point.

To enhance services within student life, Koc focuses on the Union Market. Koc claims that Union Market’s shelves are often left empty as shipments needed to refill them come in too late. According to Union Market Manager Lilia Olejarz, this is untrue. 

“I wouldn't say we have a delay in restocking . . . a risk with when you’re dealing with fresh food is if you place a really large order, there’s the potential you will have some food waste. We’re trying to best serve the community by making sure our products are high quality but also making sure we’re not contributing to food waste on campus,” said Olejarz. 

Koc did not consult the Union Market Manager to inform her platform point. In fact, her plan to advocate for Union Market to accept student cards may lead to more expensive products.

“It’s definitely possible to get meal plan accepted in Union Market but that might mean we have to increase our prices,” said Olejarz. 

Despite dedicating entire platform points to food security and mental health services, Koc consulted neither Food Collective Centre nor Maccess, the MSU services that oversee these respective areas. A lack of consultation casts into question the feasibility of many of Koc’s platform points. 


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