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The Varsity

The University of Toronto's
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Sajjad to run unopposed for UTSU presidency

‘Renew’ slate to campaign against rising tuition costs

By Simon Bredin
Published: 2:38 am, 4 March 2013
Modified: 3 pm, 11 May 2013
Vol CXXXIII, No. 18 under
UPDATED

Current vice-president, university affairs Munib Sajjad will run unopposed for the presidency of the University of Toronto Students’ Union in this month’s election.

Sajjad heads a ticket called Renew, which includes 18 board candidates and a team of four vice-presidents. All the Renew executive candidates are set to be acclaimed to their positions.

Current vice-president, university affairs Munib Sajjad heads up the 'Renew' slate in this month's UTSU elections. FILEPHOTO: BERNARDA GOSPIC/THE VARSITY

Sajjad’s executive team of vice-presidents consists of Sana Ali (external), Agnes So (university affairs), Cameron Wathey (internal), and Yollen Bollo-Kamara (equity).

Current vice-president, equity, Noor Baig is running for the Board of Directors on the Renew slate as an Arts & Science director-at-large. Bollo-Kamara, appointed this year as vice-president, campus life, is running for Baig’s current role of vice-president, equity.

Acclaimed positions will be put to a “confirmation vote” with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options on the ballot alongside the candidate’s name. According to the electoral code, positions where the candidate receives a majority of ‘no’ votes will be declared vacant.

“In my past term as the vice-president, university affairs, I saw first hand how important it was to unite all 47,000 members to build campus life, fight for our rights and representation as students, and provide cost-saving services,” said Sajjad in a statement released late Sunday night.

Sajjad appeared poised for a campaign emphasizing his work in exposing illegal ancillary fees and opposing tuition increases.

It is not clear what form a scheduled debate on March 7 will take. Sajjad could field questions from the audience, in a similar structure to the 2010 election.

Several opposition candidates are seeking positions on the UTSU’s Board of Directors, an oversight body with representatives from each of the colleges.

Ben Crase is running for Trinity College’s one board seat, while simultaneously seeking to succeed Sam Greene as Trinity’s co-head of college. Crase is a co-author of a recent report examining how Trinity could sever financial ties with the UTSU.

In his candidate statement, Crase pledged to “do everything I can to ensure that Trinity students are no longer fee paying members of the UTSU” by the time his term would begin in September 2013.

No other candidate referenced the ongoing defederation crisis in their opening statements.

The candidates convened Sunday in a closed-door all-candidates meeting. The campaign period begins Monday. Polls are open March 12 to 14.

  • Publius

    For the sake of democracy, I must ask that Munib Sajjad answer the following question:
    Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck? Explain your reasoning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samgreene11 Sam Greene

    There is something deeply Orwellian about a slate of unopposed, deeply entrenched incumbents calling themselves “Renew”. The only renewal going on seems to be the renewal of the UTSU’s $950,000 salary budget, while clubs funding still hasn’t broken $300,000.

    Students now have so little faith in the integrity of the democratic process at UTSU that they realize there’s no point even running a candidate against the incumbents. What else could we expect when the UTSU refused to implement basic electoral reforms like online voting.

    It’s time for Trinity, Engineering, Victoria and St. Mike’s to cut off fees to this corrupt, ineffective system.

  • Cato

    For the sake of democracy, I must ask that Munib Sajjad answer the following question:
    Will you respect the democratic wishes of Engineering, Trinity and Victoria students in their efforts at separation? Will you also respect the democratic wishes of students at other colleges who have fought for Online Voting or are currently considering separation?

    Will you also answer Publius’ question about ducks and horses? This is democracy after all…

  • Lévesque

    For the sake of democracy, I will vote “no” for all these acclaimed candidates.

    • justastudent

      I’ve got one question for you- how do you know some of them aren’t just on the Renew ticket as a way to get elected and then spread stronger ideas, while sharing a few common views with that platform? You might want to get to know some of the ‘acclaimed’ Renew candidates and their backgrounds before you think they have the same views as Sajjad, aren’t aware of/don’t want to change the ineffective policies of UTSU or a variety of other things. I’ve talked to actually one acclaimed candidate on the Renew platform who, instead of talking over me when I said I don’t support their platform, pulled out a chair, talked to me, and asked ‘what’s wrong?’ and then proceeded to actually take some careful notes and talk a bit about the situation in their own perspective… don’t judge and do a little research before you generalize.

  • Jackson Pollack

    Ironically munib ran against Renew at utm a few years ago. The equivalent would be if he ran as change…

    Also my question for munib is how would you enhance utsu’s ability to protect its members private information? Such as that time when utmsu recieved the utsus members list for the nov agm. As per the mediums story.

  • In Solidarity

    Munib is most certainly not running unopposed. NO CAMPAIGN here we go!

    It’s a shame every other seat is acclaimed, they would all likely lose a Yes No Vote.

    In solidarity

  • Anonymous

    Renew? All we ever do and have ever done is renew. Renew the incumbents, renew the policies, renew the attitudes, renew the salaries…

  • CHUD

    I am somewhat confused as to why there is no opposition slate in a year apparently filled with UTSU’s misdeeds. To be clear I’m not a huge fan of how UTSU operates and if people really want a referendum they should be able to have one, but nor do I think that splitting U of T students at a time when tuition stands to increase at twice the rate of inflation is a sensible course of action. It seems to be ignoring a greater issue in favour of petty, amateur politics.

    Our incoming U of T president seems like he will continue to sacrifice undergraduate educational quality to increase the “global standing” of this university and it seems like it would be far more fruitful and beneficial to the students of this university to spend time and resources fighting against the highest tuition fees in Canada.

    • Andrew

      It’s my understanding that the people who were planning on running realized their attempt would be futile under an electoral system that utsu refuses to democratize. Their refusal to run is half of their protest. The very real possibility of, as one of the other commenters here has called it, a “No” campaign, is the other half.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eamon.mcdermott.3 Eamon McDermott

      Tuition has been increasing faster than inflation for over a decade, despite UTSU/SAC calls for “solidarity”. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” — Einstein

  • Hardy Weinberg

    Am I the only one who gets sick to the stomach with one party elections? I am voting No for everyone except Trin, where the candidate I support is Umer Saeed. He is the only one who has been consistent and thoughtful in his approach. He is also the reason why the motion for electoral reform at the UTSU passed.

    • Pierre Harfouche

      FYI – No one from Renew is running at Trin.

      You have no idea what you are talking about do you?

      .
      “He is also the reason why the motion for electoral reform at the UTSU passed.”

      The reason why the motion for electoral reform passed at the UTSU was because people came out to the meeting – Engineers, Trinity Students, Vic, SMC, U of T students. This was not the result of 1 individual but a collaborative effort between democratically elected student leaders. Unlike yourself.

      • Hardy Weinberg

        Did I ever claim anyone from Renew is running at Trin? What I did say of all the candidates renew, independents and etc he is the only candidate I support. My last statement may be construed as a Renew candidate is running at Trin, but that statement was meant to be a general statement comparing Umer to all of Renew.

        Finally, there is some interesting backstory to Umer at the SGM, dismissing even single people in such a close vote doesn’t help your cause.

        • Pierre Harfouche

          That is fair.

      • George Soros

        Do you know what you are talking about Pierre?
        He was the person having 11 votes and decided not abstain from voting at the meeting. Had he voted against the motion, it WOULD have failed!

        • Pierre Harfouche

          I had 11 votes. I could use the same argument to claim that I was the reason the vote passed.

          Had I voted against the motion, it would have failed. Does that make me a savior as well? All I’m saying is stop giving a single person credit for a collaborative effort.

          • George Soros

            no you can’t use the same argument because you never used your brains for once!

            you were on the bandwagon like the rest of the EngSoc.

            As i said earlier, please don’t try and take credit for what you did not do!

      • George Soros

        And Pierre! Who are you anyway to take credit of what was solely a movement started by trinity students!
        Joining the bandwagon doesn’t mean you may take credit for it!

        • Pierre Harfouche

          If you claim online voting was started by Trin Students, I will point you to Brett Chang and the SGRT. You should not be quick to dismiss other colleges and their contribution to your cause.

          • George Soros

            i am not saying other colleges did not contribute.
            but the idea was initiated by Trinity and it was mainly our efforts and lobbying that we were able to win this vote. you have to accept the fact that it was Trin brains who came up with it and everyone was able to see success in this matter

  • Obvi

    He’s running unopposed because no1curr about UTSU, lol.

    • Sidenote.

      or because no one had put the effort to. This entire comments section is a continuous flow of finger pointing. Not to say that any party is right or wrong but I don’t see all the councils calling for the reallocation of funds describing how that will contribute to decreasing student fees, or even what they are proposing to do with the funds if they are re-allocated. Last time I checked Trin ran last year with their main platform point being to create an undergrad pub on campus. I don’t know if that sounds like much change to you but it doesn’t to me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/samgreene11 Sam Greene

        Actually, that’s totally untrue. As Head of College at Trinity, I can tell you that at least this is our definitely our plan:
        (a) immediately decrease student fees by at least $14.56 per year by eliminating the CFS-CFS-O fee, and hopefully more in subsequently years
        (b) redirecting all funds currently paid to UTSU to clubs funding, our academic and outreach grant programs for Trinity students, and the provision of services directed by the TCM, directly accountable to our students as a direct democracy.
        (c) Removing the allocation of our UTSU fees towards salaries
        (d) Buying into a new insurance plan that will provide better coverage for essential healthcare services like birth control, and provide better coverage for out of province students

        And, by the way, the Students First slate last year was not “Trin” running. There were a number of Trinity students, although Brent Schmidt, the presidential candidate, is not a Trin student. But you know what? I still support a campus bar.

  • David Helmholfwitz

    Can’t let this bigot be president of UTSU.

  • David

    Can’t let this bigot be president of UTSU.