By Вen Li
Comparing Rosie Nagra’s term to her predecessors’ is tempting but difficult due to her underwhelming performance. With the exception of the well-attended Academic Carnival in November, and her month-long prosecution of one of her commissioners, there is little to distinguish Ms. Nagra’s first seven months in office. She fulfills her committee and portfolio requirements but has not affected many significant changes during a year filled with emergent academic issues.
The few successes of Ms. Nagra’s Students’ Academic Assembly–responsible for setting academic policy for the Students’ Union–are overshadowed by several key failures.
While SAA has affected positive changes with fair queing and transfer student ID numbers, and revised course syllabi, issues such as the new A+ grading system–in the works for over a year prior to its introduction–took the assembly by surprise in September. Ms. Nagra and company did not see the Academic Plan as detrimental until October, and they most recently failed at suppressing IB scholarships at the November General Faculties Council meeting.
Most of the academic assembly’s victories come not directly from Ms. Nagra, but from her commissioners–not surprising since the assembly convened an average of once a month before September, and since many assembly members were only introduced to policy formulation in November. Her treatment of assembly issues indicates that she may not be entirely cognoscente of this fact. She opposes both member remuneration and meeting structure revisions that would diminish her personal power.
To her credit, Ms. Nagra is consistantly well organized and has progressed well on most of her stated objectives. Initiatives such as establishing a peer mentor program, improving computer access, the aforementioned course outline additions
and student surveys have or are about to come to fruition, but she has yet to deliver on-line study groups, enhanced SU club networking and improved SU communications.
In her four remaining months in office, Ms. Nagra should assert her leadership role and provide direction and focus to drawn-out SAA meetings often hampered by discussions about internal affairs. Ms. Nagra has shown that she is herself mired by cheering the expulsion of one of her commissioners from council chambers before several guests and must overcome these interoperability issues for the posterity of their organization.
While assisting the president and VP-external with their government lobbying efforts is admirable, Ms. Nagra should focus on her portfolio and the long tuition fight ahead. The SU is indeed lucky that the university’s tuition decision will occur after January 2003 and not around Ms. Nagra’s two-week dental exam preparation hiatus in October.
Students seeking academic advice are fortunate, however, that Ms. Nagra is in office, since nothing distinguishes this aspect of her work from that of her predecessor. By all accounts, Ms. Nagra is quite compassionate and knowledgeable when assisting students with their academic appeals and other concerns, and she makes great use of the faculty representatives to communicate with other student and academic groups on campus.