Less than three percent of students voted in the by-elections for UTMSU’s board of directors.
The election, results of which were released on October 5, was for positions in Division I and V on the board of directors.
Division I represents first-year students. Monica Victoria and Sarah Girgis were elected for the two spots in the division.
Ahmed Zaki ran unopposed for Division V, representing students in the Mississauga Academy of Medicine.
The voter turnout for the elections was 2.64 percent according to the UTMSU Facebook page. Ebi Agbeyegbe, president of UTMSU, said they had expected a bigger voter turnout since they had 16 first-year candidates competing for the two spots.
Agbeyegbe says that low voter turnout may have been due to the lack of campaigning by the first-years.
In addition to the election, UTMSU also ran a plebiscite asking students whether they felt tuition fees should be eliminated in Ontario. The results reported 332 students voted in favour of the idea that tuition should be free, 14 against, and 8 spoiled ballots.
Even though only about 354 students took part in the plebiscite, Agbeyegbe said UTMSU can still use the results and that it plans to continue to collect student input regarding lower tuition. UTMSU plans to use the statistics in a lobby document they will bring to the St. George campus. The plan is to include UTM students’ feedback in UTMSU’s lobbying efforts when lobbying U of T’s central administration to lower fees.
In an interview with The Medium, both Victoria and Girgis identified food diversity on campus as a priority they would like to work to improve. When told that the university has signed a five-year contract with Chartwells, the campus food provider, Victoria said that she’d try to get UTMSU to run a petition regarding food options on campus and present that petition to Chartwells, noting that petitions were used to help campaign for the heated bus shelters.
Girgis, after hearing about the contract, said she’d suggest ways for UTMSU to host its breakfast club more often during the week, or to offer free coffee and snacks during exam periods.
Victoria said she would also like to make the U-Pass recognized by other transit providers in addition to MiWay, for students who commute outside Mississauga.
Girgis also said she’d like to increase the seating available on campus, saying she’d bring the idea to the other representatives and executives on UTMSU and approach the university.
The directors’ terms will end on April 30.