At least one international student has been elected as a full-time arts and science undergraduate governor on U of T’s Governing Council following the recent amendment to the University of Toronto Act previously preventing non-Canadian citizens from running on the university’s highest decision making body.
Unofficially announced last Tuesday and confirmed on Friday, UTM student Mohammad Amin is one of two students elected, with 997 votes from a total of 4,259 ballots cast amongst the constituency, totalling 23.4 percent of student support.
“I feel great, it has been an amazing experience, definitely something that I never thought of doing in my university career,” said Amin, a third-year finance specialist and economics major in an interview with The Medium.
According to Amin, an international student, interest to run for a student seat on Governing Council began last year, but candidacy requirements barred Amin from running. As of June 4, 2015, the University of Toronto Act was amended to repeal an item from subsection four that stated, “No person shall serve as a member of the Governing Council unless he is a Canadian citizen.”
“Last year, I thought about running for this position and I wasn’t eligible to run because I was an international student, [but] I still kept looking and waiting for the emails and I found out that this year was the first year they removed this requirement, thankfully,” said Amin, who also told The Medium that the encouragement of his friends played a pivotal role in his decision to run for the role.
Running on the motto “Trust, Dedication, Leadership, Results”, Amin’s platform promises included his commitment to advocate for additional student seats on the council while also promising to host monthly meetings with students at UTM to ensure student participation and to receive feedback from students.
According to Amin, his experience as a commerce student also contributed to his platform promise to introduce co-op opportunities at UTM as a student governor, an idea he is already working on by creating a proposal for a co-op initiative after reaching out to the co-op department at U of T Scarborough and speaking to upper-year students at UTM.
“We are paying deregulated fees and none of us have co-ops, so this is something that I really wanted to change,” said Amin, who also addressed the need for more student involvement at UTM.
“Right now, UTM is great. We have a very lively campus, but it’s only inside the campus,” said Aminm who is currently the sponsorship director for both the Muslim Students’ Association and the Egyptian Student Association, and VP finance for International Medical Relief of Children. “I really want to strengthen the bond between the three campuses and I need students to get involved because they need to realize how important it is to strengthen our voice so our demands are actually met.”
Also winning the second full-time arts and science student seat representing undergraduate students from all three U of T campuses, Tony Shan has been elected with 15.9 percent support, collecting a total of 678 votes.
A third-year New College student specializing in statistics and majoring in actuarial science, Shan hopes to reduce international student tuition while serving as a student governor.
“[Our] university has a huge proportion of international student presence,” he said. “[Your] interaction with international students affects you, your friends, and everyone on campus. That is why I think [international student fees] is of concern,” said Shan in an interview with The Medium, also mentioning U of T food services as an issue needing improvement.
“One issue at our [St. George] campus is that the food service can potentially be improved by reducing the amount of lineup time and improving the food quality,” said Shan.
Amin and Shan will begin their terms as governors on July 1.