In the latest sign of student apathy at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), no one will stand against the ticket of UTM Movement in the upcoming Student Union elections. Voting for all positions will consist of voting for or against, with at least a total of five hundred votes required for ratification.
Commerce student Tooba Haroon had initially registered to run independently for the VP Equity position, and was the only person outside of UTM Movement to run for any position, but as of last Friday had dropped out of the race. Her reasons for doing so are not clear, since she could not be reached for comment. As a result, the entire process of electing student representatives and leaders has come down to a simple yes or no for the incumbents.
An on-line Facebook group called VOTE NO has been created in order to encourage students to vote against UTM Movement, saying Its time for change, no position should be acclaimed. Where is our democracy? On March 24 to 26, Vote for democracy; Vote NO for those who have not proved that they are our voice. Although the group has only 27 members as of press time, compared to almost 300 for UTM Movements Facebook group, it does raise the question of what will happen if the acclamation process does not result in a clear outcome.
For example, if fewer than 500 students vote in the elections, the results will not be considered valid. Also, if more than fifty per cent of votes are against UTM Movement, there will be no one to fill the positions. In both cases new elections would have to be held in the fall, according to Election Committee Co-Chair Saaliha Malik, who is also the current UTMSU VP Equity.
Candidate-for-President and current UTMSU VP Internal Joey Santiago defended his record, saying that his best speculation is that students have been satisfied with the current UTMSU. It could be that they believe we have been doing a good job, and that they trust mine and Wasah’s judgment in bringing this experienced and qualified team into UTMSU. Despite the lack of any competitors for the executive committee of the UTMSU, Santiago acknowledged that it is important to outreach to all the students they plan to represent for the year to come. If you don’t go out and try to meet all the students, how will you be able to represent their views and protect their interests? commented Santiago.
Santiago also pointed out that campaigning is not just about getting elected. Its about meeting and engaging students, and listening to what they have to say, he elaborates. So far, his teams main initiatives include lobbying to implement the 1.0 credit pass/fail credit at UTM, continuing to mount pressure on the government to drop tuition fees, fight all forms of discrimination, further increase club funding, and advocate for a fair meal plan.
To find out more, visit www.utmmovement.ca. There will also be an all-candidates forum on Monday, March 23 at 2 p.m. in the Student Centre, where students can direct any questions they wish to any of the campaigners.