Along with the UTMSU Spring elections for the 2017-2018 executives, the board elections for Division II and Division III are also taking place. The Medium interviewed six of the 15 candidates running in this year’s board elections for Division II and Division III.
All four Division II candidates responded to an interview request, yet two responded from Division III.
Neisha Ghanie, second-year student with experience in the UTMSU as a PUMP Squad member and Orientation leader, emphasized the need for a better focus on student transit, parking, more variety of food, and study spaces.
“I understand that commuting to UTM can be quite struggling, especially for students that don’t live in Mississauga like myself, and paying the different city transit fares can definitely add up,” said Ghanie, referring to the need for a GTA U-pass.
“Furthermore, I want to lobby to reduce parking fees, since many students do drive to campus and the fee is pretty high,” she added. “I plan on achieving these changes by working with the elected UTMSU, as well as the students of UTM, who are the sole voices of working towards changing what can be improved for a better day in our busy lives.”
Zakk Dodge, another candidate for Division II, was a member of the academic affairs committee within Governing Council. He stressed that transparency and commination would be his goals.
“I would like to establish a campaign and policy called ‘UTMSU for you,’ which will upload a monthly report and infograph to show what events have happened, what policies and bylaws have been changed or added, what campaigns have been enacted,” stated Dodge.
He added, “I feel this will bring a new stage for transparency and accountability to be offered for students […]. This is really important to me, because I have been a student that has felt [that] the UTMSU could be improved. As student leaders, we need to open this level of dialogue to just be what our bylaws ask of us.”
Another candidate for Division II is Melinda Ann Karen Callahan, who aims to change over expenses paid by students, such as deferral and exam review fees. She also wants to lobby for more programs and courses, add more study space, and enforce strict limits for the study spaces available.
“The [students] abuse the system as it is now, and it’s not fair for [them] to thrive on that weakness of the library when other students who really need the study space are not receiving it.”
Callahan explained that the library staff and security should make sure students stick within the two-hour time given for the study rooms. “I [further] want to lobby for grade forgiveness for one course, and that would be so important for so many students on campus,” she added.
Nour Shell, the last candidate for Division II, wants to focus on lobbying for the amount of exams that students can take within 24 hours, and lobby for deferred assignments and midterms instead of exams that weigh more.
Abdulla Omari, running for Division III told The Medium that “transparency, stability, and ethics” are most important to him. “My goals would be split into two ways; accountability and realistic policies.”
Omari expressed, “Our job is to bring accountability, to ensure the executives are doing their job effectively, [to] properly ensure the budget is being used effectively, [and] to properly ensure staff hirings are being done effectively.”
Omari also listed polices that he believed could make UTMSU more transparent, including a transparent hiring process done by an outside firm, establishing a more transparent policy around elections, and holding board members accountable to speak at meetings.
Another candidate for Division III is Esther Osei. Osei focuses on the availability and accessibility of study spaces at UTM. She stated that transparency between the UTM administration and students is also important, so that students can know where their money is going towards.
“I think the [North Building Phase B] is for more study spaces, but they haven’t posted it on the website or said anything to students about it, [such as sending] an email, so I want to work on the transparency,” said Osei.
Elections resume this week from Tuesday to Thursday in IB, Davis, Deerfield, CCT, Kaneff, and MAM.