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Grading this year’s DSU executive

As you read this, the halls are littered with posters of tomorrow’s student leaders and the hopefuls who are running against them.

But before anyone pops a champagne bottle, let’s give a nod to the executives past. Our panel got together to talk about the past year and give a grade to each of this year’s executives.

Our judges:

Elizabeth Croteau: Sexton Campus Director, Chair of the Board of Operations, Chair of the Executive Review Committee

Kit Moran: DSU Athletics Commissioner (directly under VP student life Danny Shanahan), Former VP student life candidate

Kristie Smith: Gazette News editor (Mostly moderated)

(Illustration by Amber Solberg)
(Illustration by Amber Solberg)


Sagar Jha


Overall mark: B+

The panel thought Jha grew the most out of all the candidates. When he came into office, he was bright-eyed with enthusiasm, but only brought so many political skills to the table. Since September, he’s learned the policy that goes with his job; and while he hasn’t come through on every campaign promise, he has become a better president. One criticism was that he’s seemed to retreat from the general student body in his final months in office. This hasn’t done much for his popularity, but he did his job well and got a lot more done than he did in the beginning of his term.

(Illustration by Amber Solberg)
(Illustration by Amber Solberg)


Ramz Aziz

VP internal

Overall mark: A-

While the VP internal has one of the smallest budgets, Aziz has been able to do a lot with his position and that’s what put him in the A-range. He had  many small victories, all of which amount to a substantial workload; Aziz helped bring about the summer UPass and the DSU app, and he also redesigned their website. He completed the tasks in his portfolio well, going above and beyond whenever possible. He wasn’t perfect, but what he lacked in knowledge he made up for with enthusiasm. He wasn’t as policy-wise as he could have been, so he might need to study a bit more before running for top office. Overall, he was a positive addition to the DSU.

(Illustration by Amber Solberg)
(Illustration by Amber Solberg)


Danny Shanahan

VP student life

Overall mark: B-

Shanahan started off well. He did a good job with DalFest and Shinerama, arguably two of the biggest things VP student life deals with in their term. Come March, a lot of that sheen was gone. Opponents of Shanahan’s argued that he ignored a chunk of his portfolio—varsity athletics. He was expected to keep it alive, maybe even improve the culture, but nothing special happened during his tenure and athletes called foul. Sexton campus came to him during his campaign last spring and asked for study space, which they were promised. Instead of getting their second space, the old Sexton Campus Coordinator Office was repurposed to an office for the entertainment programmers. If Shanahan wants to succeed in re-election, he’ll need to better serve all of his constituents.

(Illusration by Amber Solberg)
(Illusration by Amber Solberg)


Aaron Beale

VP academic and external

Overall mark: D

Beale took on the ultimately too-tough job of trying to restructure the executive. He argued his job, VP academic and external, was too much for one person and couldn’t possibly be done right. He proved it: he did the external part of his portfolio well, with several campaigns throughout the year and a good hoorah during the provincial elections this past fall, but completely missed the mark with the academic half. Despite two years in the position, he struggled the most with policy and budgetary restrictions. At the most recent council meeting, when the union voted to leave its external advocacy groups, Beale was accused of helping produce an opinion paper that lied to the council, as well as misrepresenting the DSU to the groups it reviewed negatively. Love him or hate him, he came in with goals and got some results.

(Illustration by Amber Solberg)
(Illustration by Amber Solberg)


Josh Cooke

VP finance and operations 

Overall mark: B

The only executive to be nominated instead of elected, Cooke hit all the right points procedurally but missed the mark on public relations and pushing the envelope. The building is still in one piece and the budget should balance, but no judge had the sense that Cooke tried anything new or did that little bit extra. He balanced the budget and did his job, but not much else. Fiscally responsible and honest in tough political situations, he could always be trusted to speak forcefully on behalf of the union instead of the executive, which we think was pretty cool.

Claire Wählen
Claire Wählen
Claire was News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Wahlen.

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