Eli Ridder | Report
Erika Caldwell, running for one of two seats the University of Guelph-Humber has on the IGNITE Board of Directors, promises to bring transparency and accountability if she is elected, she said in an interview with The Avro Post on Tuesday.
“I believe in open, honest communication, I hold myself and others accountable and I will continually advocate and be a voice for what the students of Guelph-Humber want, the third year Kinesiology student said.
Link: Elections 2019
Caldwell said her varied experience have shaped her into a “strong, honest and inclusive leader who treats everybody with dignity and respect”, adding that she has a “strong ability to liaise between executives and students”
During the voting period from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1, Caldwell will be up against Afifa Abbaszadeh, Drake Foo, Jim Hung and Julia Ciampa for the board seats.
Caldwell looks to distinguish herself from the others with her transparency efforts and drive for accountability.
She told The Avro Post she will continue to maintain an online and on-campus presence as a director and is open for any student to email her at email@example.com or speak to her in person.
Erika Caldwell broke down her platform into four unique items she hopes will benefit students across all campuses.
Caldwell told The Avro Post she will “hold the elected president and vice president’s accountable to the platforms they campaigned with” — and, when questioned whether this was in response to TAP’s report on IGNITE executives largely not following through on platform items, she said it was “purely based on what I believe is important based on students needs and expectations of elected executives.”
Secondly, Caldwell said that, as a director, she would ensure events and and opportunities are tailored to benefit students and that “the approved budget to do this is fair and strategic.”
“I will continually advocate for more opportunities to develop professional and personal skills on campus such as First Aid Training and summer internships.“
Caldwell says she will also support services for the maintenance of physical and mental health.
Many at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber are worried about losing services offered by the student union due to the optional student fees introduced by the Ontario government that come into play this fall.
The health plans are considered “essential”, however, and will not be part of the optional student fees, according to what a government official told The Avro Post.
“Finally, I will urge IGNITE executives to continue to make life on campus more affordable by considering innovative initiatives such as introducing a textbook exchange website as well as providing GH students with access to hot water to make their own tea, coffee and foods,” Caldwell added.
Image from Erika Caldwell. More details to follow. ■
IGNITE announces Shay Hamilton as North VP
Speculation is over.
IGNITE, the student union representing those enrolled at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, announced Shay Hamilton on Wednesday as the new vice president for North Campus.
In posts shortly before noon, IGNITE shared a photo of the executive team in front of a sign for “The Backyard” on campus. It ends speculation over who the new executive was.
Earlier this summer, it was revealed that Simran, who was elected in the spring 2019 elections for the coming academic year, had quit due to personal reasons.
IGNITE’s Board of Directors, made up elected students, decided to unanimously approve a process to hire a new vice president ahead of September.
Executive Director Ercolé Perrone told The Avro Post earlier in July that when Simran stepped down, the Board had several options to replace her or choose to leave the position infilled.
The Board could have held a by-election or panel interviews starting in September, a process that would have required election resources and candidate approval from the Board of Governors. The candidate would not have likely been in place until mid-October with this process.
With significant changes such as the Student Choice Initiative and financial cuts by the province impacting campus this fall, a decision was made to get an executive in place with haste, Perrone told The Post.
Hamilton joins President Monica Khosla, Guelph-Humber Vice President Megan Roopnarine and Lakeshore counterpart Ryan Stafford.
The Post has reached out to Hamilton for comment. ■
Poor turnout could mean high opt-out: Student activist
‘The numbers speak for themselves,’ Hannah Derue says.
Staff | Report
Low voter turnout in the 2019 IGNITE elections show apathy around the student union that could result in many students choosing not to fund it to save when optional student fees come into play this fall, student activist Hannah Derue said on Friday night.
Derue, who co-founded the Pre-Medical Society at the University of Guelph-Humber and has been involved in campus politics in the past, weighed in on the election results, citing students’ inability to get to the polls.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Derue wrote on Twitter, saying “voter apathy got us the Student Choice Initiative, and now it’s given us an electorate voted in with only 24.5 per cent of the student population voting.”
“If IGNITE can’t get students active as their most fundamental services are put on the province’s chopping block, IGNITE better prepare to have students opting out in droves.”
The government under Premier Doug Ford in January announced the Student Choice Initiative which will allow students to opt-out of funding certain aspects of campus with their fees that accompany tuition.
National student organizations, student union governments and campus publications across the province have condemned the move, saying it threatens the existence of unions and the services they offer.
Monica Khosla was re-elected to the IGNITE presidency on Friday evening, beating challenger and Board of Directors member Margarita Bader by 330 ballots.
She has been criticized for what some call weak transparency efforts but also praised for solid efforts towards a more accessible campus. Khosla largely vowed to improve on her last term without adding many new ideas.
The Avro Post has reached out to several vice presidents-elect and directors-elect for comment on the low voter turnout and a few of the former candidates and newly elected soon-to-be representatives responded.
“I’m hoping for the best,” Vice President-elect Megan Roopnarine said in response to questioning regarding voter apathy concerns leading to students opting-out.
“I know many students are involved with IGNITE if not through the election season then through fun events or services like insurance,” she told The Avro Post.
Newly elected Board Director Camila Ruiz Tacha said that her opinion is “that students are free to voice their opinions on things”, explaining that if opting out of the student union is an option they desire, then that is a choice they want to make.”
“I am a board of director and I will not force anyone to make a decision they are not comfortable with,” Tacha added, noting that despite the voter turnout decrease, “there are individuals who are truly into their school politics.”
These students are more likely to engage and speak up about issues on campus as well as keep IGNITE funded, the director-elect explained, believing that they will “speak up about government grants and what change IGNITE will make with having a new team.”
On the low turnout, Dilshan Marasinghe told The Avro Post that he hopes there will be larger turnout next year and “student will see that the main reasons these elections take place is to help brighten their unique experience in campus and make it as comfortable as possible”.
Ameem Rahman, who ran for the Humber College North Campus vice presidency, said that, in his opinion, he believes that voter apathy in the election will translate to students opting out of funding IGNITE.
Image of elections conference from The Avro Post. ■
Monica Khosla is re-elected, others win IGNITE positions
The 2019 election results are announced.
Eli Ridder, Melissa Lopez | Report
Monica Khosla was re-elected to the presidency of IGNITE on Friday night with 52 per cent of those that voted on the president ballot, winning again with a majority.
Though President Khosla gained more than last year percentage-wise, she had just 300 votes short of the ballots she got last year, beating challenger Margarita Bader by 330 ballots in favour.
Megan Roopnarine won the University of Guelph-Humber vice presidency and candidates Erika Caldwell and Julia Ciampa elected to the two Board of Directors seats the university has in the student government.
Vice president-elect Roopnarine told The Avro Post after the results were announced that she will be pushing for more Guelph-Humber representation and working on the overcrowding issue.
“Being a Guelph-Humber student I know what it’s like to feel disconnected from Humber and I know that our population as a student body is growing for sure so I want to make sure we’re tackling those things,” said Roopnarine.
For North Campus, Simran won the vice presidency and Dishant Passi, Eden Tavares, Neto Naniwambote and Shawayne Dunstan were acclaimed to four seats on the Board.
Ryan Stafford is the vice president-designate for the Lakeshore Campus and Asiya Awan, Camilia Ruiz Tacha and Stephanie Fallico were acclaimed for the Board as the only candidates for three seats.
Navnit Sidhu — the first ever candidate running for an IGNITE position from Orangeville Campus, has been acclaimed to the Board of Directors, expanding its original size from nine to 10. There has reportedly been representatives in the past from Orangeville to the former Humber Student Federation.
There was a total of 7,811 votes out of 31,929 who were able to fill out a ballot, marking a decrease of 3.81 per cent in comparison to the last election — representing 24.49 per cent of the student population.
Khosla told The Avro Post in an interview after the results were announced one Friday that she worked hard on her campaign and that she will “continue to be transparent in her second term.”
“Whether it’s bad news or good news I really am honest with students and I think that’s something they appreciate because we’ve seen what’s been happening in other schools with the lying happening with other presidents,” said Khosla referring to the Ryerson student union budget scandal.
“I’m not like that, if there is bad news I’ll let you know if there’s good news, you’ll definitely know that as well but I don’t shy away from anything because there is nothing to shy away from.
“I’m open to having any type of conversation at anytime,” she added. Khosla has ignored requests for comment and interview from The Avro Post since coming into office.
Khosla largely vowed to continue her accessibility work and advocating on behalf of students on a range of issues during the campaigning period, even indicating several times that she would not change much about IGNITE.
On her loss, Margarita Bader said she “put in my best effort and tried to communicate the changes that I hoped to bring to Humber. Things don’t always go the way we plan them to, and this is definitely a huge learning experience for me.”
“This will in no way keep me from pursuing other opportunities,” she continued, saying that “all the candidates did an amazing job regardless if they got elected today and each indvidual will go on to do great things because it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that.”
Bader gained 48 per cent of the ballots that did not abstain in the vote for president, garnering the support of 3,465 students across Humber College campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber.
Many candidates across several campuses, including Erika Caldwell and Ameem Rahman, among others, gave their support to Bader during the heated campaign.
By the numbers
3,795 – Monica Khosla
3,465 – Margarita Bader
551 – Abstain
Vice President, North
1, 778 – Simran
908 – Ekmjyot Sohal
658 – Jason Hyatt
415 – Ameem Rahman
363 – Abstain
305 – Dilshan Tharusha Marasinghe
Vice President, GH
426 – Megan Roopnarine
267 – Saffiya Lulat
245 – Carmen Duong
Vice President, Lakeshore
1, 381 – Ryan Stafford
836 – Ostap Pavliuk
179 – Abstain
Board, North (Acclaimed)
1,288 – Dishant Passi
1, 217 – Shawayne Dunstan
1,093 – Eden Tavares
442 – Neto NaniwamboteA
368 – Erika Caldwell
201 – Julia Ciampa
172 – Afifa Abbaszadeh
136 – Drake Foo
55 – Jim Hung
42 – Abstain
1, 088 – Camila Ruiz Tacha
605 – Stephanie Fallico
488 – Asiya Bashir Awan
215 – Abstain
More details to follow. All images from The Avro Post. ■
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