MSU Presidential Candidate Platform Critique: Jovan Popovic
While Popovic’s campaign succeeds in addressing student athlete advocacy, it fails to explore student communities outside of his own and proposes some vague solutions
Jovan Popovic is the Sports Editor at the Silhouette for the 2022-2023 academic year. He has taken a leave of absence during his presidential campaign. The Silhouette is committed to impartiality and journalistic integrity in its coverage of the MSU presidential election. For more information, see the Silhouette Operating Policy.
Jovan Popovic’s McMaster Student Union presidential campaign included strong advocacy pillars and relevant consultations. However, Popovic’s campaign lacks investigation into student communities outside of his own and does not present precise solutions to addressed issues.
In his interview with the Silhouette, Popovic stated that engagement in campus events is concerningly low and that it is crucial for the MSU to focus on amending this. Popovic referenced his consultations with past and present MSU representatives and Campus Events staff as affirming these statements. The Silhouette reached out to these individuals for confirmation, but, as of the time of publication, has not received any responses.
To combat the lack of student involvement, Popovic proposed more transparency regarding MSU activity, increased club funding, an increase in campus events throughout the school year and a greater focus on improving Welcome Week.
The Silhouette reached out to the current MSU Vice President (Education) Elizabeth Wong whom Popovic consulted with prior to his campaign. Wong commented on Popovic’s initiative to increase events on campus, explaining that the feasibility of this is dependent on many factors, including the scale of the events and the planning processes.
Popovic proposed a few specific transparency initiatives, including an MSU informational tab on AvenueToLearn. Beyond this, Popovic was unable to get specific in his plans to ameliorate his remaining listed campaign points.
For example, Popovic proposed working with the rest of the MSU Board of Directors and Campus Events to produce more events throughout the year. When asked in interview to specify what kinds of events he had in mind, Popovic discussed more sporting events and continuing the on-campus holiday market, which first occurred in Dec. 2022.
It would have strengthened Popovic’s campaign further if he had more specific or unique ideas for events, especially considering the emphasis he put on student engagement within his campaign.
Sports and Commuter Life
His campaign statement and leadership within the McMaster Sports Community indicate that Popovic is familiar with and passionate about McMaster athletics.
Popovic’s campaign discusses treatment of student-athletes and how to amend current athletic services, such as ensuring the athletic MSAF is honored, ironing out budget disparities and addressing the rocky transitional period from high school to university sports.
When asked to substantiate that these issues are indeed prominent and recognized within the McMaster sports community, Popovic referenced several consultations and testimonies from McMaster Athletics & Recreation executives and student-athletic leaders as well as his field work as a sports reporter. The Silhouette reached out to these individuals for confirmation and received responses from Athletics & Recreation stating that while they did meet with Popovic, they did not discuss these specific issues.
Popovic’s push for further advocacy for student-athletes is rooted in specific and actionable plans. However, in centring his platform around student-athletics, Popovic is centring his own experiences, and he fails to bring this level of attention and detail to student groups outside of his own.
The same can be said for Popovic’s campaign pillar regarding commuter students. Popovic confirmed that he too is a commuter student in an interview with the Silhouette.
His platform points concerning commuters discuss the disorganized maintenance of temporary parking Lot M and the lack of commuter student engagement with campus activities. Thus, Popovic’s campaign points are geared towards commuters who drive to campus and they fail to acknowledge in the same capacity commuters who use transit.
Popovic’s firsthand experiences have led him to identify areas that are in genuine need of change. However, Popovic’s choice to keep his campaign close to his personal experiences caused his approach to some student issues to be narrow.
To broaden this horizon, Popovic could have explored student communities and issues outside his realm of expertise, to present a more holistic and representative picture of the McMaster student body.
Popovic described in his interview how the goal of his campaign is to shift the overarching campus culture towards greater student engagement., Popovic added that outlining specifics before he’s in office may lead to unrealistic goals.
Popovic’s desire to be upfront in his campaign and avoid false promises is responsible and commendable. However, taking more of a risk by investigating less familiar student communities and developing more detailed action plans would have strengthened Popovic’s outlined campaign pillars.