A UTM student has won a seat on U of T’s highest decision-making body for the upcoming academic year.
According to the official results released on Friday, third-year student Ridwan Olow was named one of two governors representing full-time undergraduate students on the council.
Of the 2,589 ballots cast to elect two full-time undergraduate students from UTM, UTSC, and the St. George Faculty of Arts and Science, Olow attained 335 votes, or 12.9% of the ballots cast.
Olow came second only to New College student Lawrence Zhang, who attained the highest number of votes with a total of 555 (21% of the total votes), securing the position three votes ahead of runner-up Victoria Wicks, a student from Trinity College.
In total, 10 students ran for the position.
“I feel very humbled,” said Olow.
A Division 3 director on UTMSU’s board and a student in sociolegal studies and criminology, in an interview with The Medium Olow stressed the need to make changes to the way in which sexual violence on campus is handled.
Olow also said there was a need to address the 1.0 Drop Credit policy issue from past years.
The student seats on Governing Council represent U of T’s 68,114 undergraduate students and 16,442 graduate students. When asked how this chalks up, Olow said that there should be more student seats on Governing Council, but did not offer specifics.
Currently, eight out of 49 positions are designated for part-time, full-time, and graduate students across various faculties.
Zhang, a third-year student studying political science and international relations, focused his campaign on issues related to international students, specifically international tuition and restrictions barring international students from running for Governing Council.
In an interview with The Medium, Zhang explained that his intent to run for Governing Council was inspired by a friend who withdrew from U of T due to international student tuition fees he could no longer afford.
“The very fact that tuition did increase to the point where somebody’s parents basically had to pull the plug on [their child’s] education was ridiculous to me,” said Zhang.
Among other issues included in his campaign, Zhang focused on current opportunities for undergraduate research, available mental health support, and general tuition fees.
Zhang and Olow teamed up while campaigning for the seats, although they ran on different platforms.
Among other student representatives elected to Governing Council, UTM’s Ray Khan and Susan Froom from Trinity College claimed the two part-time undergraduate seats as the two sole candidates.
This will be Froom’s second term representing part-time undergraduate students on Governing Council and Khan’s first.
“I plan to work with the administration as opposed to against the administration,” said Khan, a fourth-year digital enterprise management student and president of ICCIT Council.
Khan is also interested in advocating for sustainable energy sources at the university. “One of the first things I plan to tackle is figuring out how we can reduce energy costs,” he said.
The issue was also addressed by Zhang, who called on the university to end its investment in fossil fuels as part of his platform.
Governing Council is the senior governing body that oversees the academic, business, and student affairs of the university, according to its website.
The first Governing Council meeting of the 2015/16 school year will be held on September 10.