Get ready to work for free

Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz leaves students bewildered at the prospect of unpaid work in the future

Get ready to work for free

Earlier this month, Stephen Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, sparked national outrage when he suggested that unemployed Canadian youth would do well to seek out unpaid work in order to avoid the negative effects of unemployment. During a news conference after his speech to the House of Commons, Poloz advised Canadians to “[g]et some real-life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free. If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV,” as reported in the Toronto Star.

Detractors spanning the political spectrum from across the country hammered Poloz for the comments and for the governor’s stance on unpaid internships, in which he glosses over concerns with regards to the efficacy and ethics of unpaid work.

What is most immediately alarming about Poloz’s statement, and most deserving of criticism, is the outrageousness of these comments coming from someone in his position and what they necessarily indicate for the future of Canadian youth. The content of the message alone is enough to rattle young people entering the job market, but it is what Poloz’s comments imply about the foreseeable future that is causing the most concern.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, central banks worldwide have taken on a significant role in the path towards economic recovery, which includes keeping up the public’s confidence. Central bank statements therefore often include predictions: messages of hope for the future. It is alarming then that Poloz’s most recent comments are devoid of the usual optimism. 

The difficulties of finding employment and competing for higher education will continue to plague young Canadians for some time to come. Monetary policy and low rates, which will now be slowed down, have not, and will not, solve our employment issues. The fundamental causes of youth unemployment are much more deeply engrained and more broadly dispersed than the recession.

When Liberal MP Scott Brison asked Poloz if he thought unpaid internships have greater benefits for wealthier youth, Poloz said: “I wasn’t trying to go deeply in this and it’s not a monetary policy matter.” Now that Poloz feels that he has stabilized the economy and secured jobs for the majority of core taxpayers, he can muse on half-baked solutions to what he perceives as minor issues.

The uninterested and patronizing way in which he proposed a solution to the endemic unemployment of Canada’s emerging workforce indicates the extent to which he doesn’t think about the problem. Even though it is not simply a matter of monetary policy, Poloz’s inability to defend his response shows that he does not take responsibility for the economic well-being of Canada’s youth.

If he actually cared, he would have called on the standing committee of legislatures he was speaking with, people who are actually responsible for the matter, to pass laws to assist with youth unemployment. It is baffling that he can be so callous and apathetic when painting youth as basement dwellers that should work for free.

The sad truth is that he should care. With every passing year that youth cannot find jobs, Canada’s work force — which is already in peril as the baby boomers retire in droves — gets weaker. A vibrant youth contingent is an integral part of a successful economy and is the surest path to overall economic recovery. Young earners will consume a fair deal; they will buy homes, cars, and start families. It is a travesty, not to mention dangerous, for our generation not to receive more support.

Instead, we still have 200,000 young Canadians looking for work. Many more are working part-time to cover debt, and thousands more are currently in school pursuing expensive degrees in hopes of becoming more employable. These students are “looking for employment” — which by definition means trading hours of your life for monetary compensation, which they will then use to live. 

This is not to say that unpaid internships are not valuable, or that the jarring effects of unemployment are not real. But these young Canadians are no longer looking for, and can no longer afford, unpaid opportunities on their résumé — they already have enough of those. 

Further, Ali Hamandi’s opinion piece in the Toronto Star suggests that those with unpaid experience are actually less employable than their paid peers. 

Poloz’s statement then raises the question: if there is enough demand for Canada’s unemployed youth to take on these unpaid jobs, then how is it that companies cannot pay them to take on all these vacant positions? The answer is likely that these positions do not actually exist. 

If these positions do exist, companies will take advantage of free labour to lessen their workloads. Most companies are not actively looking for free labour unnecessarily. They don’t need Poloz to give them the “okay” to take on free labour; they need to be coaxed into hiring more paid youth. 

Canada’s leaders need to take youth employment seriously, and not mindlessly promote potentially precarious solutions. Effective policies do exist and can be extended. For example, existing government subsidies and programs have been effective in creating paid jobs for youth. Canadian youth do need to make difficult decisions, and their prospects are not as bright as their parents’ — but we need support and we cannot simply settle for unpaid work. Poloz’s statements have helped youth in one area: he put the issue on the agenda. Hopefully more people, with better ideas, will take notice.

Christian Medeiros is a third-year student at Trinity College specializing in international relations.

Is social media an appropriate forum for debate?

Two perspectives on the use of social media as a forum for debate

Is social media an appropriate forum for debate?

  Ranting on social media isn’t only ineffective, but inappropriate

Rarely do any of us, when updating our statuses or composing a new tweet, take the time to go over our dialogue and edit — and I’m not talking about making sure you’ve used the correct “there.”

Rather, editing for bigotry, insensitivity, and just plain offensive content is often an afterthought, if the status or tweet receives any attention at all.

Unfortunately, sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are optimized for users’ convenience, making it easier to share thoughts and feelings online in the spur of the moment. This convenience, however, comes at a price. In our hasty posting, we don’t realize the often negative repercussions these comments can have in the future.

Take for instance former Sportsnet commentator Damian Goddard, who was fired after tweeting his opposition to same-sex marriage. Or, more recently, Jian Ghomeshi’s infamous Facebook post, where he detailed his firing from CBC due to his less than “palatable tastes in the bedroom.” With over 100,000 “likes” and more than 38,000 comments, Ghomeshi’s post catalyzed the online community to throw in their two cents over social media as to whether or not the CBC was justified in firing the radio host. 

The point is, when posting your opinions on social media, especially when responding to sensitive issues like sexual assault in the case of Ghomeshi, you have to base your comments on facts — something many people forgo in their haste to comment. 

Without facts, it’s hard to form a respectable or informed opinion on a subject, as you have no evidence to back it up. When you rant in a tweet or status update, you come across as biased, or worse.

Rants have the habit of coming off as spontaneous and emotionally charged, making them unsuitable media for voicing your opinion. The use of all caps, emojis, interrobangs, and expletives has the effect of delegitimizing an argument. Rants are the domain of amateurs and are fraught with issues of credibility and honesty. 

This isn’t a condemnation of those who post their opinions on social media; in fact, I absolutely encourage people to voice their opinions via these networks. When done properly, an educated, well thought-out opinion is able to spark critical debate about important issues. However, these kinds of debates are rarely initiated and usually give way to senseless and barbed opining lacking real information. 

Before posting that rant on social media, take a few seconds to consider three cardinal rules of the Internet. The first, whatever you post is fair game for the public. Second, your online posts can be used against you — employers frequent social media sites in the hiring process. Last, but not least, if you post something particularly bigoted or inflammatory, it can, and will, go viral. So if you’re about to tweet or post, make sure you think before you click. 

Emma Kikulis is an associate comment editor at The Varsity. She is studying sociology and English.

  Despite the prevalence of spontaneous comment, there is good debate taking place online

In the day and age of the Internet, where news is only a few clicks away, it follows that debate is just as easily accessible, especially on social media. 

Of particular timeliness to this topic is the case of Jian Ghomeshi, who has recently been accused of abusing several women, resulting in his dismissal from the CBC. The circumstances of Ghomeshi’s conduct and subsequent firing have been discussed ad nauseam online with voices from all sides chiming in over social media. 

But is Facebook or Twitter the right place to condemn someone like Ghomeshi as the ultimate scum of the earth or to cast aspersions on his accusers? The Internet has gained a reputation for being a cesspool of social commentary, and yet, believe it or not, there is actually worthwhile debate taking place in some corners. 

There is a marked difference in the conduct and tone of online discussions depending on where you look. 

Sites like Twitter and Facebook cannot be relied upon for informed or well-researched commentary, but there is often insight and substance to the debates taking place on sites like Reddit.  

Many of the top-rated comments surrounding Ghomeshi-gate on Reddit reflect honest beffudlement over a lack of useful information. Whereas others hastily took to tweeting and posting their unsolicited opinions, Reddit users would seem to be less quick to jump the gun with their thoughts. 

This is not to say that the Reddit community isn’t weighing in on contemporary debates and social issues. There are well-informed positions on a wide range of topics from many of the site’s users, something other sites lack entirely. 

If you search through Facebook and Twitter, you may also find some of your friends or some of the people you follow are able to have balanced discussions on the topic. 

There is some degree of exaggeration in calling posts on Twitter and Facebook useless. Sure, we all have those Facebook friends that post ridiculous and  misinformed commentary — but we also have several friends who are open to serious discussions. While my experience may not be representative of all posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter, it does prove that there is room for effective debate through social media.

Aside from the comment sections on online articles, there is no way to comment directly on the news, and there is still no easy way of directly refuting the source of information. On social media, there is room for dynamic arguments complete with solid points and counterpoints that may just shift your opinion. 

Hopefully, an increase in accountability will encourage users to do their research.

Simon Spichak is a second-year student at New College studying neuroscience. 

It’s time to stop grade deflation

U of T’s claim that it does not bell curve is questionable

It’s time to stop grade deflation

If you told the average student at the University of Toronto that there is no such thing as a bell curve here, they would laugh. 

U of T makes this claim by adopting a rigid definition of bell curving that permits instructors to “calibrate” or “adjust” grades but not curve them. This is a distinction without a difference. There’s only a difference if you don’t want to admit that your grading policy is deeply problematic.

U of T prioritizes institutional success over student success by forcing students into boxes instead of assessing them properly. The university operates on a system of quotas, where professors are encouraged to hand out a certain number of As, Bs, and Cs and always stick to a class average hovering around a C +.  A bell curve is good for lazy or incompetent instructors who create unfair assessments. 

It’s bad for students because it causes massive stress while writing tests, and then leaves them with less knowledge. After all, you can change a grade from a 40 to a 60 per cent, but the student won’t magically understand that 20 per cent of material. 

Giving out too many As requires professors to rock the boat. So if they’re tenured and feel incredibly passionate about it, they might. Though most don’t.

It’s a time-consuming process and it’s easier to hand out the expected grades and move on. 

For untenured faculty, part-time instructors, or teaching assistants, the pressures to simply hand out grades in their allotted divisions, regardless of what grades students deserve, are even greater.

Bell curving and quotas are important because they hint at a larger problem — grade deflation. 

While other universities manipulate their grades, they mostly tend to do so as a way of inflating marks. In 2013, the most common grade at Harvard Univerity was an A, and the average grade was an A-.  

In October, Princeton University eliminated their decade-long grade deflation policy after failing to meet the target of only giving out As 35 per cent of the time — 43 per cent of 2013 grades were As. This is roughly in line with the average at private colleges in the US. Indeed, a 2010 study found that the nationwide average GPA at private colleges was 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. 

Even within Canada, U of T’s grades are particularly low. A 2006 study found that students at UTSC got lower grades on average than counterparts at Carleton University or Ryerson University due to marking, not ability. While four per cent of UTSC students reported getting mostly As, 10 per cent of Carleton and Ryerson students reported the same. At UTSC, two-thirds of students reported mostly B-s or less, compared to 55 per cent of Ryerson and Carleton students.

The problem was bad enough that then-President David Naylor instituted an aggressive overhaul of the grading system responding to the concern that U of T students were struggling to get into graduate school at U of T as a factor. 

Naylor’s overhaul may well have led to some progress, but it’s happened behind closed doors. U of T doesn’t release average annual grades, or the most common grade, or even the grade distribution.

I believe that grades at U of T are lower and that getting high grades at U of T is harder than at other Canadian universities. 

U of T should follow the lead of the elite American institutions it tries to compete with and reveal its grading data. It’s been nearly a decade since Naylor set out to reform U of T’s rampant grade deflation. It’s time to see if any progress has been made. 

Zane Schwartz is a fourth-year history student who contributes to the Globe and Mail and Macleans. He was The Varsity’s news editor last year. His column appears bi-weekly. 

The death of innovation?

Declining research income at U of T spells disaster for the future

The death of innovation?

Innovation is rapidly declining. One only needs to glance at the University of Toronto’s recent decrease in institutional research income from last year as proof of this fact. When compounded with the increasing number of students enrolling every year, U of T is wandering down a path that will inevitably see the institution dropping from the often-cited World University Rankings in short order. 

Take it from someone who’s worked in other labs in Europe and Africa: I am well aware that researchers at U of T are under stricter time constraints when it comes to publishing scientific results than its international peers — limited research funding requires that publishing take place within a year. 

Eager to start, researchers venture into gaining the latest insights, with one problem: the renowned scientists they need to consult don’t want to cooperate — the details of their experiments and recent breakthroughs are patented information.  

ANN SHENG/THE VARSITY

ANN SHENG/THE VARSITY

This reveals the greedy and self-serving side of patenting institutions that are primarily concerned with maximizing institutional income and monopolizing the utility of their research — the results of which can feature heavily in addressing the world’s challenges including cancer and global warming. This culture of educational “individuality” inevitably repels fresh minds seeking to build original ideas on the existing research framework. The result is that researchers lower their standards by optimizing existing results in order to graduate, rather than pursuing their own innovative projects. Such is the case at U of T. 

The above argument shows how decreases in research funding at U of T hinder research efforts and foster a culture of individuality, which kills innovation. This is not the only threat to an innovative scientific community on campus, however, our subconscious attitudes and values are also eroding our capacity for breakthrough. 

Previous innovations such as the toilet, refrigeration, and the Small Pox vaccine revolutionized the world in the twentieth century. However, today’s diverse entrepreneurial innovations such as Facebook, Android, and the Xbox 360 haven’t tackled many problems, except for boredom, perhaps. 

The disappointing result is that this generation’s concentrated efforts have not, and may never, solve the tremendous challenges of our time.

Instead of facing today’s challenges head-on, similar to previous generations, we have chosen to rebuild the infrastructures to empower the coming generations to contest these problems because these problems are literally too complex to tackle directly. Better tools are needed before feasible solutions can be attained. 

Hence, the innovation of this generation is around building these tools, not contemplating the end results. We could call it an infrastructural innovation, but it’s no less important than the grand innovations of the past. U of T should be at the vanguard in changing this system.

Sam Henry is a second-year student pursuing a master’s of applied science at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Potential for TA strike looms

TAs, postdocs give union strike mandates in November vote

Potential for TA strike looms

Teaching assistants (TAs) and course instructors who are members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 Units 1 and 5 recently voted to give the union strike mandates following a series of unfruitful negotiations with the university.

CUPE 3902 represents about 8,000 academic employees at the University of Toronto who work on contracts of one year or less.

The vote for Unit 1, which represents students and postdocs employed as TAs, course instructors, or in other academic capacities, saw a record-high turnout of 1,723 people, with 90.3 per cent of votes in favour of the move, as reported on the union’s website on November 11.

The vote for Unit 5, which represents internally funded postdocs employed as researchers, saw a turnout of 179 people, with 81 per cent voting in favour of the move.

Though the vote doesn’t guarantee a strike immediately, the union can now legally call a strike at any time.

The implications of a potential strike are causing tensions between students, instructors, and the administration.

For the union, the primary goal of negotiations has been to seek wage increases to match inflation, and increases to benefits.

The union is also seeking tuition credits or waivers at U of T, as well as changes to university hiring policy. The TAs’ funding package has been frozen since 2008.

According to Ryan Culpepper, vice-chair of CUPE 3209 Unit 1, the university has disagreed with every major proposal the union has brought forward and has given less than half of the bargaining dates from previous years. 

For Culpepper, this inflexibility is as unacceptable as it is unprecedented. “To my knowledge, this round of bargaining marks the first time the university has come to the bargaining table demanding a total compensation freeze on Day One of negotiations,” Culpepper says.

Students and teachers

According to Culpepper, master’s and PhD students at U of T are awarded minimum funding of $15,000 per year for five years. The university may require graduate level students to work up to 205 hours under this funding package. 

Beyond these hours, TAs are paid at an hourly rate that is negotiated by CUPE 3902.

Currently, the negotiated earnings are $42.05 per hour at an average of 5 hours per week.

Culpepper told The Varsity that course instructors and TAs at the university have been unionized for 41 years, and have opened negotiations with the university 18 times since 1973.

These negotiations have led to three strikes, with the latest one occurring in 2001.

Effect on undergraduate students 

A strike by CUPE 3902 would impact students who rely on TAs and course instructors for grading, office hours, tutorials, exam invigilation, and lectures.

According to Culpepper, a strike would mean the cancellation of all these aspects of work including the potential cancellation of some classes.

If a strike were to occur, it is likely that there would be picket lines that may result in some buildings being closed.

Students are concerned that these actions would unfairly target learners who benefit from union members’ work.

Anna McNeil, a third-year kinesiology student, said that she doesn’t think students should be penalized for any failed negotiations. “Their problem does not have to do with the students, but with the institution of University of Toronto, and [they] should find a better way to come to an agreement,” McNeil says.

McKenzie Embree, an upper-year environmental studies and political science student, echoes McNeil’s concerns, adding that she thinks it is greedy for instructors to exert this position. “I think that the TAs already receive more than they give by breaking down their wages to $42.05 per hour and benefits. They are… trying to use the fact that they can control our future by putting our education in the balance,” Embree says.

TA SPEAKS Out

Craig Smith, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science and a TA for POL208, Introduction to International Relations, thinks that the motivation for the strike vote came down to negotiating in good faith.  “The purpose of the initial strike vote is to change the bargaining dynamics at the table,” Smith says, adding: “If the university bargained in good faith, none of this would have to happen. It’s in nobody’s interest to shut down the university.”

Smith says that, as a TA, he does not want to jeopardize any learning opportunities for his students, but says that the university has put instructors in a tight situation. “It’s terrible that in every bargaining round they have to test the solidarity of the union, and test our willingness to put our students in the middle of this,” he explains. 

Smith adds that he — like most TAs — loves his teaching position. “Most people who I know are doing this because they are passionate about the areas that they teach in, and they love to teach,” Smith says.

According to Angela Hildyard, U of T vice-president of human resources and equity, U of T offers TAs a greater level of support than peer institutions such as McGill University or the University of British Columbia. 

Hildyard remained optimistic that negotiations will continue and that a strike will not be necessary. “[T]he parties have had a series of negotiation sessions which the university hopes to continue. Its goal remains to arrive at a renewal collective agreement that is reasonable considering all the interests at stake, one of which is to be responsive to the Ontario Government’s stated position that there be no net increases in compensation in broader public sector settlements,” she says.

Smith emphasized that TAs are often an integral part of the learning process for U of T students. “For most students, [TAs] do the majority of the teaching. For the university to put those people in a precarious situation, I don’t understand their interest in doing that,” he says.

 Smith adds that the motivation to get involved transcends direct rewards for many TAs and becomes a matter of political importance. “The reason that departments that are more political are so turned on to this stuff is because we realize that none of the gains that we have now would have been possible without solidarity and mobilization in the past,” he says.

The current collective agreement expired on April 30, 2014.

Correction: The TA wage rate is $42.05/hour, not $45/hour as was incorrectly stated.

“Women suffer disproportionately”

Mosaic Institute event highlights women in armed conflict

“Women suffer disproportionately”

“Women suffer disproportionately,” began Augusta Waldie, co-president of UofMosaic@UofT at the Women & Armed Conflict Citizen Summit, presented by The Mosaic Institute on November 15, 2014.

The day-long event offered a space for students to discuss issues affecting women in armed conflict.

Waldie says that discussions surrounding sexual assault and gender-based violence have recently exploded on campus, creating a framework for students to think about justice on a global scale. “It is our hope that students will expand their interest and their pursuit of justice to an international context and work with us to ease the suffering of women trapped by armed conflicts,” Waldie says.

Illana Landsberg-Lewis, who currently serves as the executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, an organization dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, spent eight years working for the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). During her time with UNIFEM, she was instrumental in the development and management of UNIFEM’s Trust Fund on Violence against Women.

Landsberg-Lewis discussed her time working at the United Nations, as well as issues surrounding gender violence as a weapon of war. 

She focused on conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which she describes as “one of the worst places in the world for women” — where rape is normative and used to spread HIV/AIDS.

When asked if she feels hopeful in spite of the hardships she witnesses, Landsberg-Lewis says that the she “runs on outrage,” and that the women she works with give her hope.

Lee Maracle, traditional teacher at the University of Toronto’s First Nations House, also gave a talk on First Nations restorative justice and the Stolen Sisters. “Rape is not about sex, love, lust or the way you dress — but about powering out on someone,” Maracle said during the discussion, adding: “Girls need to learn to fight back.”

Another member of the U of T community also spoke at the event: James Maskalyk, a physician and author who practices emergency medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. 

Members of the UofMosaic, a network of campus-based chapters of The Mosaic Institute, discussed why it is important for students to care about global conflict issues. “Toronto is full of multi-cultural identities that are able to connect with these issues and should get involved,” says Abdi Hesi, a graduate student at U of T, adding: “Understanding international conflict can help people understand conflict in Canada between indigenous people and the government.”

Alawia Sherif, an undergraduate student at U of T, says that “one of the guiding values of Mosaic is creating an inter community dialogue between communities in conflict and to harness diversity in a way that creates a generation of global citizens.”

Waldie adds that UofMosaic@UofT is currently working with the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict to raise awareness about these global issues and create tangible change.

Concluding her keynote address at the Women & Armed Conflict Citizen Summit, Landsberg-Lewis’ voice broke with tears as she told the audience that it is “so far past time to act.” 

Speakers announced for 2015 TEDxUofT conference

U of T event is titled “A Constellation of Insights”

Speakers announced for 2015 TEDxUofT conference

University of Toronto–educated physician, Joshua Liu, created an app that aims to reduce patient readmission rates after a surgical procedure.

Liu, the co-founder and CEO of Seamless Mobile Health, is one of four speakers scheduled to speak at this year’s TEDxUofT, a community-organized branch of the global conference series.

The other speakers include Avis Glaze, an educational leader who has made it her mission to increase graduation rates among students with disadvantaged backgrounds; Carmen Logie, an assistant professor at U of T’s Faculty of Social Work who researches health equity; and Kang Lee, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education who researches face processing and the development of lying.

The speakers were announced at the 2015 conference launch event on November 18.

This year’s conference, titled “A Constellation of Insights,” is designed to connect spirits, ideas, and discoveries.

According to TEDxUofT chair and UTSC student Jeanny Yao, the conference will centre on connecting pieces of the global puzzle to give the audience a broader picture.

Nabhia Pasarcha, a launch event attendee, said the conference offers students an opportunity to engage with research that often goes unnoticed. “These speakers are people in the community that you are not really looking at, and this conference gives you a chance to see the people doing work behind the scenes,” says Pasarcha.

Amin Sharifi, TEDxUofT partnerships director, says the conference serves as both a learning experience and a networking opportunity. “There is a difference between watching a speaker online and listening to them in-person,” says Sharifi.

Attendance for the event is limited due to space constraints. Victoria Banderob, TEDxUofT social media executive, says that conference organizers plan to sell around 400 tickets.

According to Banderob, the conference is scheduled for March 15, 2015.

Conference organizers are currently seeking volunteers. 

EngSoc officers secure positions until end of academic year

Quorum not met at EngSoc Accountability Meeting, voting procedure removed

EngSoc officers secure positions until end of academic year

The officers of the University of Toronto Engineering Society (EngSoc) have secured their positions until the end of 2014–2015 academic year. 

On November 12, EngSoc held its Accountability Meeting at the Galbraith Building.

The meeting was designed for all full-time and part-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering to give feedback on the officers’ performance and to remove them from their positions if their performance has been unsatisfactory. 

Each officer gave a PowerPoint presentation laying out their accomplishments, goals for the remainder of the year, and current society circumstances. 

Teresa Nguyen, EngSoc president, defined the current core issues surrounding EngSoc, including balancing long- and short-term projects, various goals and initiatives, and closing the gap between EngSoc and its 80 affiliated clubs. 

Nguyen’s presentation was followed by Mehran Hydary, EngSoc vice-president, finance; Karan Shukla, vice-president, communications; Ryan Gomes, vice-president, academic; and Cory Sulpizi, vice-president, student life. 

 Each presentation was followed by a question and answer session with the audience to clear any confusion about the information delivered.

The meeting did not reach the quorum of 50 members, and thus members did not vote on whether each officer should continue in their current positions. 

 The voting procedure was replaced with an opportunity for the audience to submit anonymous feedback to the officers.

Members suggested that the team save quarrels for their own meetings and solve any internal problems on their own. 

 Members also called for a clearer division of responsibilities for officers, and for officers to reach out more often to the engineering student body. 

Matthew Lee, an aerospace engineering student who hosted the meeting, passed all comments on to the officers after the session.

Nguyen said that EngSoc’s practice of holding an accountability meeting that enables its members to evaluate the executives’ performance and give them the power to continue or terminate executives is relatively rare among other student organizations.

Editor’s Note: The last sentence of this article has been updated for clarity.