By: Amedeo de Pretto, photo by Trevor Swann
With the current Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) executive halfway through their term, The Charlatan interviewed CUSA president Fahd Alhattab on how campaign promises have been dealt with this far into the year.
Promise: Increased coverage for mental health services.
Yes: The promise was met at the end of Alhattab’s first term, through a motion to increase students’ health plan coverage to include mental health counselling.
The new health plan covers $35 per session, up to a maximum of $300. However, Alhattab said that usage data is being analyzed and will allow for flexibility regarding the plan.
“Depending on the usage number and the claim rate, that’ll be a good indicator of how [the change] goes,” Alhattab said.
CUSA will also be looking at adding online counselling services to the health plan coverage, he said.
“Research shows that there are many students who are uncomfortable going to on-campus counselling services because they are going to see their peers . . . and they want that confidentiality,” Alhattab said.
Promise: More student jobs.
Yes: Five new internal jobs were created at CUSA. Through the use of a summer jobs grant CUSA was able to to create four summer jobs, along with adding another job position to the yearbook.
Research was put into CUSA-owned business growth, to see if more job positions could be offered. The labour expenses of some businesses, notably Oliver’s, meant an increase of five new jobs across businesses.
“When we see our businesses grow, we hire more,” Alhattab said.
Promise: A grocery delivery service option for students.
No: The service was promised as part of Frena Hailekiros’campaign. The former vice-president (student services) also put forth a plan for a proposed Sexual Assault Peer Support Centre. These two items were dropped after Hailekiros was replaced by current vice-president (student services) Ashley Courchene, and weren’t included in the current executive’s promises, according to Alhattab. Research was conducted, and the project was found to be unfeasible due to the large initial resources required, Alhattab said.
Promise: Larger bus shelters.
Ongoing: The funding and concept for larger bus terminals outside Minto Building were approved by the university, which allows for the design stage to start. The new shelters will be ready for September 2017.
Safety was a large driving factor behind the idea–especially during the winter–due to poor road conditions.
“Some people are cramped on the sidewalk, and in the winter time [if] someone slips and falls on the road with cars driving that’s a serious safety issue, and I’m glad the university is taking this seriously,” Alhattab said.
Promise: A Student Union Building.
No: After the project was rejected in the December referendum, Alhattab said CUSA’s focus will be on analysing the results.
“I think a lot of the message was that students said they don’t want to pay more, but they agreed that space was an issue,” Alhattab said.
He broke down the new approach into two separate steps, the first being optimization of current space on campus, and the second being looking into better ways of consulting students.
“[The building] was too early for its time, and is something that needs to happen over a three to four-year period,” Alhattab said on lessons learned from the building proposal.