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The Gateway Presents: An Interview with PLLC Vice Principal Martin Ferguson-Pell

Amidst allegations of “elitership” we interviewed PLLC Vice Principal Martin Ferguson-Pell to get his perspective.

Oumar Salifou

Oumar Salifou is a political science student, The Gateway's 2018-19 Editor-in-Chief, and a radio journalist.



    ““We think [the initiative] will have a huge impact on a large number of our students coming to the U of A who are interested in developing skills in the area of leadership, whatever faculty they’re in, whatever program they’re in,” said Martin Ferguson-Pell, acting provost and vice president Academic.”

    A ‘large number of our students’, eh? How’s that working out for you?

  2. “What we were interested in doing was to start to provide opportunities for students at the UofA so that they could develop leadership skills.”

    You know students have been developing leadership skills before this – through the Students’ Union, faculty associations, residence associations, the Gateway, clubs, start-ups, etc. If you really wanted to reach and affect as many students as possible, you could have incorporated existing programs into how you recognize leaders. The reason the college is elitist is because it’s university led and it puts these leaders above all others through a certificate and funding. These leaders are, according to your approach, more important than all the others.

    But you continue to not formally acknowledge the leaders outside of your bubble, and choose to get interviewed on Gateway and act puzzled about why we have been frustrated for years about your program. You promised to reach 10,000 students, which can be done by something as simple as recognizing and rewarding existing, non-PLLC leadership programs. Instead, you serve a small group with a large budget while piggy backing on the credibility of Alberta Student Leadership Summit and Emerging Leaders, which existed before PLLC.

    Moving forward, you could substantially improve your credibility by reaching out to students in an ongoing fashion about how to improve your program. The lack of recognition for other leaders on campus is a glaring oversight that needs to be addressed if you want to eliminate the perception of elitism.

      1. I just don’t want to sit and listen for half an hour. Magazines are supposed to provide text, aren’t they?

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