MSU Presidential Candidate Platform Critique: Muhammad Ammad Ahsan
While Ahsan is hopeful to improve parts of McMaster's student life, his platform lacks detail, background research and feasibility
Muhammad Ammad Ahsan's platform is comprised of five pillars, each containing general areas of what he would like to address if he were to become the McMaster Students Union president. However, all are lacking specific examples of what he would improve or change to meet the goals he's outlined.
Open-door SRA policy
In the first pillar of Ahsan's platform, he proposed that all student representative assembly meetings should be made accessible and public to all McMaster University students.
When reminded in an interview with the Silhouette that the MSU already operates under this open-door policy, Ahsan acknowledged that he is aware of this; however, he feels there is little to no engagement from students at these assemblies.
He referenced the low voter turnout in the previous year's MSU presidential election, 10.5 per cent, as further proof of the lack of engagement from students. When asked how he intends to increase student engagement, Ahsan was unable to name specific ideas beyond listening to students and attempting to have students understand the importance voting has on their own education and wellbeing.
Holding space for the diversity of opinions on campus
The second pillar of Ahsan's platform discussed diversity, emphasizing that he would introduce initiatives that better acknowledge this aspect of the McMaster community. This pillar ties in with many of the other parts of his platform, though he does not explicitly mention any other specific initiatives solely under this pillar in his written platform.
In his interview with the Silhouette, Ahsan mentioned that one of his initiatives as MSU president would be to implement a men’s only time at the Pulse, either late at night or early in the morning. He shared that this idea came from a lengthy discussion with a student who signed his presidential form.
"He wished to discuss a men-only time at the gym . . . There are some men out there who wish to go to the gym in men-only time, specifically early in the morning, or like really late in the evening. So we similarly discussed time slots where the gym was less busy, so that can be altered and given those few that wish to go at that time," said Ahsan.
Ahsan recognized that implementing this initiative would require approval from other members of the MSU, but he was confident it would be feasible. When asked if he consulted with any athletics staff, Ahsan said no.
Introducing eco-friendly initiatives
The third pillar of Ahsan's platform acknowledged the severity of the climate crisis and stated that he wants to work with the university to address this issue. In his interview with the Silhouette, Ahsan confirmed that he did not consult with current or previous MSU staff members or the McMaster administration and he went on to explain that the eco-friendly policies he wanted to introduce would have the ability to enact group change, but he did not explicitly state any type of policy he would propose.
Inviting industry partners to host workshops on campus
Pillars four and five or Ahsan's campaign proposes inviting industrial partners to come in and teach students in a hands-on format. Ahsan shared that this idea is based on feedback he received from both undergraduate and graduate students in support this initiative. Ahsan admitted that he has not reached out to any industrial stakeholders about the feasibility of coming to campus to begin this though.
Ahsan has not reached out to any McMaster administration services or groups on campus already focueds on these types of education, such as the Student Success Centre. He did however acknowledge that administration is very important in the implementation of this idea as they are the bridge between the connections of industry and academia.
Ahsan shared that his platform was based on student voices, stating that he has had many discussions with student representatives. Specifically, he mentioned in his interview with the Silhouette that when receiving signatures for his nomination form, he engaged in meaningful conversations and promised to campaign on these students' behalf.
"The people that I got those 16 signatures from, my pitch to them was if you sign this nomination form, then I would be directly in contact with you and I'll be directly campaigning on your behalf in my name," said Ahsan.
When asked if he could provide the names or emails of students he reached out to, he admitted that he did not have as in-depth conversations with all 16 students.
Overall, Ahsan presents himself as a candidate who is eager and determined to empower student voices but ultimately falls short due to the lack of consultation with both MSU staff and McMaster administration and the lack of clear examples of how he would achieve his platform goals should he become president.
Voting for the MSU presidential election takes place from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25 using the Simply Voting platform. More information about the election can be found on the MSU Elections website.