• Highly involved and responsive to clubs
• Visible on campus
• Makes full use of her commissioners
• Poor prioritization
• No personal accountability
• Too operations focused, lacks balance
Some Students’ Union executives have run great commissions, others have run shitty ones. Natasha Dhillon’s Operations and Finance commission falls somewhere in between, in the glorious land of mediocrity.
For the uninitiated, the Vice-President Op-Fi is primarily responsible for two aspects of the SU’s functionality: overseeing ventures in the MacEwan incompletoplex including stores, clubs, expansion, and other annoyances and ensuring that SU funds are properly managed. Dhillon is primarily interested in and responsible for keeping clubs in good operation. Finding the lone conjunction is left as an exercise for the reader.
Her attempts to more closely involve her commissioners in the workings of the SU by assigning them to "projects" which they show interest in are admirable to a certain extent. By helping them along with their campaign promises, she instils them with two things: senses of accountability and priority. Unfortunately, these attributes cannot be used to describe Dhillon. She openly deflects blame to Campus Security and Administration for expansion delays and focuses heavily on clubs at the expense of important campaign promises, such as bringing the U-Pass to referendum at the fall by-election. Fault for the delay arguably belongs to every party involved.
Dhillon accepts responsibility for what she has accomplished though. She achieved two of her main campaign promises by not increasing copy centre prices and keeping SU businesses as service rather than profit motivated–though arguably not in the Den. She exceeded in a third promise by moving her information blitz outside the unavailable ballroom and around the campus at large. Her discussions with Ancillary Services about more parking for students and assigned bike lockers, while not fruitful, are promising.
As VP Op-Fi, however, she should not allow Robbie White’s enthusiasm for finances, or Jana Hanova’s love of expansion issues to divorce the Vice-President from her charges, such as providing regular financial reports to SLC that don’t leave other council members wanting. She should not simply offer to assist her commissioners with their "projects" but ask for their assistance in fulfilling the duties spelled out in her portfolio instead, some of which she has left derelict. Her current reversal of roles is an innovation we can live without.
On the plus side, however, her active and responsive involvement with clubs is potentially beneficial to them in light of the power vacuum that kept redeveloping in the Clubs Committee this year. Also of benefit to clubs is the club card, a sort of new idea. Her low-level involvement with students explains her visible presence on campus and in student life, as well as her perceived attention to student concerns.
Her plans to open up and book more space for student academic, club, and religious activities in light of the fuckage caused by expansion delays are also admirable, but poorly communicated to students. While feedback from students was gathered effectively yet sporadically through Gripe Tables, neither of those accomplishments are evidence of any above-minimal efforts. Starting with the checklist is great, but trying anything outside the box would be better.
Sorry, Ms. Dhillon, accomplishing the mediocre is no cause for recognition.