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Elections 2019

Guelph-Humber vice president, Board candidates make their pitch

Guelph-Humber Mix and Mingle 2019.

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Casiah Cagan, Eli Ridder | Report

The University of Guelph-Humber heard the pitches from candidates running for IGNITE vice president and the Board of Directors on Wednesday afternoon, with eight candidates in total sharing and answering questions in GH126.

Candidates took a minute each to introduce themselves and give an overview of why they want to be vice president. Many talked about being a voice for students and improving transparency, and each had a separate approach to their campaign.

After that, candidates and students mingled in the classroom, with students and The Avro Post going candidate to candidate and asking questions face-to-face.

Link: Elections 2019

In response to inquires over whether the candidates would work to release a line-by-line budget of IGNITE financial expenses that would go more in-depth than the six-category infographics currently found on the IGNITE governance page.


Vice president

Three IGNITE vice president candidates spoke about their platforms and the changes they want to see made at the University of Guelph-Humber on Wednesday during the Mix and Mingle event.

Each candidate stressed the importance of creating more opportunities for students to be involved on campus and improving student life.

Carmen Duong aims to improve student life and academic experience on campus in addition to making the University of Guelph-Humber a more comfortable place for all students.

Focusing specifically on Guelph-Humber students, she would like to plan more events on campus, especially networking opportunities to allow for students to make connections with their peers.

Duong also wants to improve communication between students and professors through Academic Program Representatives. She vows to make herself available to all students and provide them with the information they ask for.

Saffiya Lulat wants to focus on ways to relieve the financial burden experienced by students, especially with the proposed Ontario Student Assistance Program cuts from the Ontario government.

She is aiming to increase the amount of scholarships and grants offered by IGNITE as well as adding an option to have external scholarships visible on employment and volunteer site GH Works.

Lulat also wants to improve student life on campus, mentioning specifically that she would like to have monthly networking events to allow students to make connections with their peers on campus.

Megan Roopnarine says that she wishes to work hard in order to improve student life and create a better experience for students on campus.

She wants to find ways to make student life more affordable in light of recent changes to OSAP in addition to creating more opportunities for student involvement.

Roopnarine would also like to increase transparency between both professors and their students and IGNITE and the student body, making sure that the information that the students request is readily available to them.


Board of Directors

Board of Directors candidate Afifa Abbaszadeh pushed for ensuring all funding is for the students, holding vice presidents and presidents accountable to their platform items, and improving transparency between executives and the board.

Erika Caldwell, a candidate who was interviewed by The Avro Post earlier this week, went into more detail on her platform, and talked about having check-in meetings with executives to make sure they’re following their mandates.

Candidate Drake Foo is focused on improving social relations on campus through clubs and events if elected and make better use of what he said was the limited space available in the University of Guelph-Humber building.

Jim Hung talked about a platform that was focused on academic excellence, avoiding speaking on optional student fees and social issues, and proposed two ideas: Putting in place a system for complaints against professors and having the end-of-semester course reviews made public for transparency’s sake.

There was one Board candidate was not in attendance: Julia Ciampa.

All candidates were sent interview requests and all have indicated they will follow up, with the exception of Abbaszadeh who told The Avro Post to pull details from her campaign account on social media and Caldwell, who already responded.


Image of the Mix and Mingle event at the University of Guelph-Humber from The Avro Post.

 

 

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Campus

IGNITE announces Shay Hamilton as North VP

Speculation is over.

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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. ■

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Elections 2019

Poor turnout could mean high opt-out: Student activist

‘The numbers speak for themselves,’ Hannah Derue says.

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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.

Link:IGNITE to Fight to Survive

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.


Candidates respond

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. ■

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Elections 2019

Monica Khosla is re-elected, others win IGNITE positions

The 2019 election results are announced.

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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.


‘Continue transparency’

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.


‘Courage’

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

President

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

Board, GH

368 – Erika Caldwell

201 – Julia Ciampa

172 – Afifa Abbaszadeh

136 – Drake Foo

55 – Jim Hung

42 – Abstain

Board, Lakeshore

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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