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Elections 2019

Dilshan Marasinghe seeks to find solutions on campus

‘For every problem, there is always a solution,’ Marasinghe said.

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Eli Ridder | Report

Dilshan Tharusha Marasinghe, running for the vice presidency of Humber College North Campus, told The Avro Post in an interview on Sunday that “for every problem, there is always a solution” and he aims to use his skills to find the ones that work.

“I’m willing to maximize my skills and talents to crack the right equations and ensure to eradicate all the problems you have with the right solution and be the shining ray of hope that you, the students, need me to be.”

Marasinghe, 18, wants students to vote for him, saying he believes that he can “truly make a change in their lives in a positive way” — saying that he has been “in your shoes” as a student, especially in regards in finances.

The first year said that, despite incidents that may have impacted students on campus, IGNITE is effective “because we need to remember that nobody is perfect, no matter how perfect they may seem to be in your eyes”.


Ford cuts

On the provincial government’s cuts to the Ontario Student Assistance Program set to come into play this fall, Marasinghe called it “truly a step backward in making students educational life easier.”

The Advanced Diploma of Electronic Engineering Technology major said he will “approach this matter seriously by working together with my team to create a various amount of solutions to ensure” students do not “fall into a pit if financial issues because of these changes”.

On the Student Choice Initiative introducing optional student fees in the fall, Marasinghe first noted that he believes it “will grant the students the opportunity to pay whatever they believe will benefit them in their education and save their money since money doesn’t grow on trees.”

However, the vice president candidate said he will “make sure to convince students to continue paying for IGNITE by ensuring that they full know the benefits of doing so” — and listed events and extracurricular activities.

The uncertainty surrounding the status of the optional student fees and how exactly they will affect the IGNITE student union had the Board of Directors for the first time essentially push back their approval for the next fiscal budget.

Marasingh is up against four other competitors for the vice presidency of Humber North, including Ameem Rahman, Ekmjyot Sohal, Jason Hyatt, and an individual going by just Simran.


Full interview

This is the full interview with Dilshan Tharusha Marasinghe.

In one sentence, why should students vote for you?

For every problem, there is always a solution which is what makes it a problem and I’m willing to maximize my skills and talents to crack the right equations and ensure to eradicate all the problems you have with the right solution and be the shining ray of hope that you, the students, need me to be.

In whatever length you wish, why should students vote for you? What makes you stand out?

You should vote for me because everyone wants someone they can look up to as their hero or role-model who they believe can truly make a change in their lives in a positive way and I firmly believe I can be that person to all of you in college and stand bold as a beacon of hope.

Furthermore, what makes me stand out is that I’ve been in your shoes, I know precisely how it feels like to go through the many problems students go through such as financial issues and so on which is why if you vote for me as Vice President, I promise you from the bottom of my heart that I will make it my mission to obliterate all the situations you’re facing in college and make sure you enter the front entrance with a lovely smile on your face everyday.

Besides, at the end of the day, we all want to live a good and splendid life and make every moment count since we only live once and I want to be the person to have the honor of making that life possible for you in college.

Do you think IGNITE is effective despite scandals that have existed in the past?

Yes, I believe IGNITE is effective despite scandals that have existed in the past because we need to remember that nobody is perfect, no matter how perfect they may seem to be in your eyes and all IGNITE has in mind is to make your journey in college as memorable and fun and productive as possible.

IGNITE has the potential to build taller ladders to enable you to climb higher and reach to the stars to achieve wonders and I believe you should continue to have faith in them for all the things they’re doing for you.

In order for me to create transparency with IGNITE, I will make sure to share all my thoughts and ideas with them so that we’ll build a strong working relationship between eachother which we both can benefit from in terms of improving Humber.

I will ensure no secrets will be kept between us as keeping secrets is one of the first steps of failing as a team and as a result, failing Humber.

What will you for transparency with IGNITE?

I’m aiming to be the kind of Vice President that everyone can simply call a friend and speak out their thoughts and feelings that are contained inside their minds whenever they’re feeling down or depressed because if I continue to make changes in college and students are continuing to not feel themselves for certain reasons, then there’s no point in making those changes. I have to ensure that the students, my voice, are feeling strong and up-right about themselves so that I can truly say to myself that everything I’m doing in college as Vice President is really making a positive change.

Are you a returning IGNITE executive?

I’m not a returning IGNITE executive.

In simple points, what is your platform?

Improve the financial life in college, bring in more extra-curricular activities in college, and enhance the academic life in college.

Is there anything else you would like to say? Why should students vote for you?

I would like to say that every great leader has to start from somewhere and I believe running for Vice President in Humber will be the perfect golden opportunity for me to unleash my potential to the maximum and show all of you what I’m truly capable of when it comes to actually making a difference that you all want to see and that you’ve made the right decision voting for me.

Will you talk to the student press?

I will most certainly talk to the student press as I believe it’s highly crucial to allow the press to know what we’re doing here so that the students will be able to know it as well.

I believe we have to be transparent with everyone about what we do so that we’ll establish positive relationships with everyone we work with and build a stronger foundation towards a brighter future.

What will be your approach to the OSAP cuts and especially the optional student fees? Will you release a line-by-line budget if elected?

It is very unfortunate to hear that the government will no longer be providing free tuition to families earning less than $50,000 per year and that the government will be taking away the 6 month grace period of students to pay back their student loans right after they graduate since it’s truly a step backward in making students educational life easier. I am truly against this and I will approach this matter seriously by working together with my team to create a various amount of solutions to ensure that you don’t fall into a pit of financial issues because of these changes. Coming to the optional student fees, from my perspective, I believe this will grant the students the opportunity to pay whatever they believe will benefit them in their education and save their money since money doesn’t grow on trees. Furthermore, I will make sure to convince students to continue paying for IGNITE by ensuring that they fully know the benefits of doing so such as receiving a wide collection of events organized by IGNITE for them to aid them in their educational journey and to learn fascinating new knowledge which they don’t learn in class.


Image of Dilshan Marasinghe from IGNITE. ■

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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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