Dear Student Representative Council,
I am writing on behalf of the St. Thomas University (STU) student body, respectfully to state our concern about the lack of diligence from and the failure of Ailish Mackenzie-Foley to fulfill the responsibilities of St. Thomas University Students’ Union’s (STUSU’s) Vice-President Education (VPED). Ailish was elected by the student body last STUSU spring election to serve the STU student body as our VPED and to date, I believe we have failed to see how her tasks as VPED have been fulfilled.
As a student leader on campus, I have received and heard a copious amount of comments and criticisms from other students outlining how challenging it is to work with Ailish as the VPED. I feel that as a student leader, and as someone who voted for her to uphold the duties and responsibilities of STUSU VPED, I had to write this letter to express both my personal views and the views of the concerned students who confided in me. We are asking the Student Representative Council to act on these concerns considering we, as the STU student population, elected you to represent and to do what is best for us. I decided to write the letter anonymously only because I did not want the student representatives around the table to feel uncomfortable discussing the letter I am writing. I am not the topic of discussion as much as should Ailish as the VPED. I honestly believe that refraining from disclosing my name will allow for a bias-free discussion around the issue in concern.
It was brought to my attention by various student leaders who have worked with Ailish so far that she has constantly failed to meet the expectations that were set for her as the VPED. For instance, during the Get Out The Vote Campaign, the coordinators and volunteers expressed how they felt Ailish was not committed to the campaign through her lack of presence and active participation to take the lead on organizing and planning events. Moreover, although a timeline was established to when events are going to be happening for Get Out The Vote, and delegation of tasks were done way in advance during the summer, various events like the volunteers’ training, Why Vote Banner, Dotmocracy, and Double Dutch for Democracy were either postponed or cancelled last minute due to the fact that Ailish failed to execute the expectations that were assigned to her. Considering that the Get Out The Vote campaign is one of the mandates of the VPED, one would expect that she would take the lead on most the events. One of the most concerning things I heard regarding Ailish’s involvement with the Get Out The Vote campaign was when one of the senior administrators said they did not know that Ailish, the VPED, was “supposed” to be an active leader on this campaign.
Furthermore, as someone who has had the chance to work with Ailish as the VPED on various occasions, I believe the lack of professionalism when it comes to responding to action items in a timely manner is beyond belief. I completely understand that being a student comes before being the STUSU VPED, but I strongly believe that if as the VPED of the Students’ Union, one fails to respond within a timely manner, and that one has an excuse for all late responses, then it becomes concerning as it shows one is not available for the students who elected you. Ailish also did not contribute to the Wall of Debt which was originally in her portfolio and did not aid the St. Thomas University International Student Association (STUISA) with the Winter Warm Up event, causing STUISA to choose to remove the STUSU as a partner from the event. Alongside, as the VPED, Ailish is being paid for 15 hours a week to fulfill her duties as VPED of the union, and I believe the lack of initiatives that she has put on this far is unfortunately disappointing and is also poor fiscal management as student dollars are funding a paycheck and receiving no output
My intention of writing this letter is not solely to bring these concerns forward, but also because I truly believe that Ailish does possess the ability to do better. She has the drive and passion of a leader. But I feel that now is not the right time for her to hold such a significant student leader role, and not only is her holding this position restricting her ability to work on herself but is also having negative implications on students in that we feel that we are not being served and represented by their VPED internally and externally. Ailish has constantly demonstrated how she has failed to fulfil the role and responsibilities of the STUSU VPED as outlined in the STUSU by-laws and constitution, such as the number of committees the VPED is expected to chair. I strongly believe that action should be taken in this regard. While many people have talked about potentially impeaching her, I think that the SRC should consider my letter as a formal letter of impeachment and go forth with what is best for the us, the students, who elected you to represent our best interests.
I am hoping that SRC would be sincere and genuine and express how they feel about the present VPED. In no way do I want councillors and STU students to criticize Ailish since I strongly believe that her heart is in the right place and that she is an amazing person, but I certainly expect councillors to think critically of the current VPED for her failure to meet her mandates and fulfill her duties and responsibilities. I am confident that impeaching Ailish Mackenzie-Foley as the 2019-2020 Vice-President Education for the St. Thomas University Students’ Union (STUSU) is not only going to benefit the student population but will also benefit Ailish herself in the long run.
Thank you Madame Chair for reading this letter at the SRC meeting, people present in the room for listening and people at home for reading. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration on this matter. I am ending this letter on a hopeful note that the SRC I elected will take a decision that is right for all of us. Once again, thank you for letting me express my views and the views of so many others.
On behalf of many others.
The Aquinian believes in a creating a space for free expression (excluding opinions that are hateful, innaccurate and/or have malicious intent). Letter to the Editors are published with the public’s interest in mind.