Midterm review of the 2021-22 Students’ Union board of directors
The following reviews are based on interviews conducted with members of the Students’ Union board of directors as a means to reflect on the term and evaluate their performance as representatives of Wilfrid Laurier University’s undergraduate student body.
Pegah Jamalof — President and CEO
President Jamolf did not respond to The Cord’s multiple requests for an interview.
President and CEO of the Students’ Union Pegah Jamalof entered her position this year with little experience involving student governance but has transitioned well in terms of adapting to emergency situations and learning board policies.
She faced a fair share of setbacks regarding various position vacancies and was acknowledged to have taken on responsibilities outside of her role as a result.
Described as approachable and more consistently communicative as the semester progressed, President Jamalof made a tangible effort to improve her communication lines with staff.
President Jamalof is encouraged to turn her camera on during board meetings to make her presence more consistent and visible, as well as being more timely and including further detail in her reports to the board.
A video project that exceeded $10,000 was presented by President Jamalof and approved by the board in order to increase student awareness regarding Students’ Union operations and volunteer opportunities. After student backlash regarding the cost and purpose of the video transpired, President Jamalof was noted by members of the board for her personal accountability and honesty in pushing the expenditure forward.
Although a strong proponent of mental health, President Jamalof was described as an underactive president and is encouraged to tackle more initiatives mentioned in her platform from the campaign period last year.
Praised for her efforts in bringing awareness towards Indigeneity and truth and reconciliation, she made concerted attempts this year to raise recognition for these objectives.
It was noted that at times, President Jamalof was unable to look at the bigger picture in terms of long-term relationships between the Students’ Union and other campus organizations. It is recommended that she broaden her overall perspective next year.
For nearly a third year serving on the board of directors, Chair Dang has proven himself to be a dedicated leader who is well-intentioned and enthusiastic about his involvement on the board.
Chair Dang was praised for an overall respectable job this term, notably in maintaining group morale and managing the above-average number of issues presented to him with integrity and level-headedness.
It’s advised that Chair Dang work towards better time management as it seems as though he has stretched himself too thin with the commitments he has outside of the board. This was noticeable in his often delayed communication and responsiveness.
It was recognized that although Chair Dang’s positive attitude and desire to please as many people as possible are appreciated, these qualities are not always conducive to effective conflict resolution and the appropriate management of difficult issues.
Three directors resigned from the board during the summer and it was noted that more action could have been done in terms of his promptness in addressing the situation.
Directors expressed frustration with the consistent delay in the release of agenda packages and the length of board meetings that often lasted much longer than they were scheduled for. This is a point that was addressed as being a recent improvement, however, as directors acknowledged Chair Dang’s commitment to managing time in meetings more consciously.
The success of board meetings has gone up and down over the course of the semester, but as a group, the board is able to come together and amicably discuss important decisions, even if people don’t always agree with each other.
In a virtual environment, it has been difficult to reach people on a personal level this term. Chair Dang is advised to work on interpersonal connections within the board when in-person operations return in the winter semester.
Despite the setbacks presented by an extended by-election process, Chair Dang’s perseverance and commitment to running it capably was noted as a success for him this term.
During the last campaign period, Chair Dang expressed the desire to bring a more tangible connection back to Laurier Brantford. Although COVID-19 presented challenges with this goal, some directors were able to travel to the campus and execute a boots-on-the-ground approach for by-election voting.
Chair Dang has demonstrated respectable devotion to the board of directors and is openly passionate about the work he does and what the board stands for. He is encouraged to continue advocating for student issues and to stand as a resource that individuals on the board can turn to for knowledge and advice.
Ezra Ceniti — Vice-Chair of the Board
This is the second year Vice-Chair Ceniti has served on the board of directors and has established himself as a dependable resource and trusted presence during meetings.
Vice-Chair Ceniti has taken tangible steps to fulfil his campaign promises and work towards improving aspects of his performance from his last term on the board. He has made an effort to expand his knowledge about board policies and has grown more confident in his position at the virtual board table.
As several members of the board often have their cameras off during meetings, Vice-Chair Ceniti is also encouraged to turn his camera on more frequently.
Vice-Chair Ceniti has been a consistent point of accountability on the board of directors, as he often reminds Chair Dang to record meetings when they begin.
Involved in several committees within the board, Vice-Chair Ceniti is also a coordinator for Laurier’s Student Rights Advisory Committee and a volunteer for Foot Patrol.
Aside from being late to a meeting or two, Vice-Chair Ceniti has demonstrated perfect attendance at meetings this term.
Directors have praised Vice-Chair Ceniti for his levelheaded demeanour and decisive presence.
Vice-Chair Ceniti is advised to continue making his voice heard when necessary and contributing to board meeting discussions regularly.
Victoria Bothwell — Director
In her first on the board of directors, Director Bothwell has proven herself to be exceptionally capable and dedicated to her role.
Praised as one of the most consistently participatory directors by her peers, Director Bothwell has a notable presence during board meetings. She routinely has her camera turned on and is one of the most assertive and frequently engaged voices during discussions.
Director Bothwell’s communication skills — both during and outside of meetings — has been commended as one of her strongest traits. She is encouraged to stay on topic during meetings and refrain from deviating from the subject at hand when possible.
In her platform during the last campaign period, Director Bothwell pushed for board transparency and accountability, which she has consciously put an effort towards improving for the board this term.
Director Bothwell has encouraged other students to attend meetings and travelled to the Brantford campus this semester to encourage people to vote in the by-election.
Involved in several board committees, including the Chair of the Social Media Committee, Director Bothwell is a devoted team member. As well, she is the president and founder of the Laurier Bowling Club and the president of Laurier Cares About Health.
Overall, Director Bothwell has demonstrated her passion for student governance and has been recognized as one of the most reliable presences on the board of directors this term.
Francesco Del Giudice — Director
During his first year on the board of directors, Director Del Giudice has been recognized as a professional, hard-working and dependable member of the board.
With strong attendance to meetings and a cordial demeanour, Director Del Giudice has been praised for his commitment to the board and his reliability as a director.
As the by-election chief returning officer, Director Del Giudice effectively handled the setbacks that occurred during the extended election process. As well as his involvement in the by-election, he is a member of the Finance Committee and is active with his fraternity.
Director Del Giudice’s active knowledge of policy and his amicable presence at meetings have defined him as an excellent director to have on the board this term.
Shane Symington — Director
This is Director Symington’s second year on the board of directors, and he was noted to be a capable and reliable director.
His consistent attendance at meetings was regarded by his peers and Director Symington has contributed to meetings when needed.
Director Symington is encouraged to improve his conduct during discussions regarding contentious issues and to contribute more consciously and meaningfully when talking about sensitive subjects.
As one of the directors who travelled to Brantford to encourage voting in the by-election this semester, Director Symington has demonstrated his commitment to the board and has prioritized campus engagement.
Brandon Vale — Director
Despite this only being his first year on the board, Director Vale was classified by his peers as one of the strongest directors this term.
Noted for his perfect attendance, excellent communication and thorough knowledge of policy, Director Vale was praised for his passionate engagement during meetings.
Involved in numerous board committees, as well as the senate and board of governors, Director Vale has showcased impressive ambition and enthusiasm this term.
Director Vale pushed for making board meetings more accessible to the student population during his first meeting as a director. He advocated for live-streaming meetings and making meeting transcripts more student-friendly and readily available.
Director Vale is one of the few consistent board members to have his camera on during the duration of board meetings.
Attending meetings with thorough preparedness, Director Vale asks questions and has proven himself to be a reliable resource for the board.
Gurgavin Chandhoke — Director
Director Chandhoke did not respond to The Cord’s multiple requests for an interview.
As a first-time director, Director Chandhoke has shown up to meetings consistently, despite currently residing outside of Canada.
It was noted that Director Chandhoke has room for improvement in terms of his participation in meetings and the committees he’s a part of.
Director Chandhoke does not turn his camera on during meetings and is encouraged to make his presence more dependable next semester.
Mackenzie May — Director
Director May did not respond to The Cord’s multiple requests for an interview.
Director May is a first-time director on the board who has not left much of an impact this term.
Having missed several meetings, she is encouraged to work on her attendance next semester.
As well, Director May was noted to have a quiet presence during discussions and frequently had her camera turned off.
It’s advised that Director May work towards increasing her engagement with the board and improving her presence during meetings.
Aidan McCarthy — Director
Director McCarthy did not respond to The Cord’s multiple requests for an interview.
During his first year on the board, Director McCarthy has not left a significant impression.
It was noted that Director McCarthy should work towards participating actively during discussions and interact more consistently with board members when necessary.
As well, he is encouraged to turn his camera on so that his presence during meetings is visible.