MSU Presidential Candidate Platform Critique: Zachary Thorne
While Thorne’s platform appeals to some student wants, his goals are infeasible and many of them would have no clear benefits to the McMaster community
While Thorne’s platform contains some ideas that may be popular with students, his platform lacks thorough research and consideration of feasibility. Further, many of his ideas are not clearly beneficial to the McMaster University student body and he does little to justify their relevance.
Lack of Consultation
In an interview with the Silhouette, Thorne admitted that he had not consulted anyone within the McMaster Students Union or employed at McMaster with regards to the cost and feasibility of his platform points. Thorne explained that he has consulted with his 32 person campaign team on various issues but that he has not consulted with anyone externally.
Thorne’s lack of consultation raises concerns about potentially popular plans, such as abolishing the 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. lecture time or implementing universal coffee stamp cards.
Beyond his lack of external consultation about the feasibility of his ideas, Thorne’s platform has other feasibility limitations as well. A number of Thorne’s platform points cannot be reasonably accomplished within a year and fall outside the scope of the MSU president role.
For example, in the environment section of Thorne’s campaign, he pledges to solve climate change. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, keeping the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees celsius would require the world to reduce emissions by thirty gigatons by 2030. The MSU does not have the resources to accomplish this.
While this is the most extreme example of infeasibility in Thorne’s platform, other platform points — such as Morning Announcements with Zach and turning TwelvEighty Bar and Grill into a bowling alley — raise feasibility concerns as well.
With regards to morning announcements, Thorne’s goal is to make students feel more connected to the MSU; however, he hopes to accomplish this with a PA system, which does not currently exist across McMaster’s campus. Thorne has provided no cost estimate for the PA system; however, he did provide a backup plan, if the PA system proves to be infeasible.
“I will have all of people on my team in every room — I'll recruit more people — and I'll have them on speakerphone, so they'll just yell out [morning announcements] at the class. If that doesn't work, we're just going to have people from my team knock on everyone's doors every day and give them an update on what's happening, no matter what,” said Thorne.
Unclear Benefits to Students
It is unclear how some of Thorne’s policies will benefit the student population. For example, Thorne’s perspiration policy states that he will remove all air conditioning units from residence buildings, in order to make things fair for all students.
Thorne admitted in an interview that he did not expect this to be a popular policy among students; however, he insisted that it was necessary.
Another major aspect of Thorne’s platform that may not benefit students is his Doors Initiative. This multifaceted initiative involves turning every current door on campus into a revolving door, tripling the number of doors on campus and aiming for McMaster University to have more doors than wheels on campus.
While more revolving doors might help with hallway congestion and traffic around doors, many other aspects of this initiative are less clearly advantageous. For example, the goal to have more doors than wheels would likely be an involved one to accomplish and its benefits to students are not immediately clear.
When asked about this initiative and its benefits, Thorne stated that the ongoing debate about whether there are more doors or wheels was the number one reason for hallway congestion and that, by resolving this debate by adding more doors, the issue of crowded hallways would be solved. However, Thorne did not provide any evidence for this claim. The Silhouette was not able to find any other information about the allegedly ongoing doors and wheels debate.
Finally, Thorne’s proposed move to change the school colours from maroon and gray to mahogany and cream does not have any apparent benefits to the student body. Further, this change would be costly for the university as all McMaster merchandise and logos would have to be replaced.
Voting for the MSU presidential election takes place from Jan. 24 to Jan. 26 using the Simply Voting platform and more information about the election can be found on the MSU elections website.