Voting booth for the SCSU elections. Juma Perez/THE VARSITY

UniTSC is the single slate in the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) elections. Composed of presidential candidate Jessica Kirk, vice president, academics & university affairs candidate Thomas Woo, vice president, equity candidate Nafisa Mohammed and vice president, external candidate Sitharsana Srithas, the slate hopes to form the new union executive committee.

According to Srithas, UniTSC is “a team of compassionate and ambitious students who eagerly anticipate serving the Scarborough Campus and the surrounding local community.”

Each member of UniTSC has something unique to offer. Jessica Kirk brings a wealth of experience to her new position; as former vice president, equity, Kirk has long campaigned to ensure that UTSC is a place where all students, regardless of ethnicity, are treated as equals. She first became involved in SCSU when she organized a walkout supporting Michael Brown, who was a victim of anti-black violence, in 2014.  This led to the creation of the Scarborough Campus Anti-Racism Subcommittee, which evolved into the Racialized Student Collective. 

“My experience will serve as a good foundation, in terms of ensuring that all practices fulfilled by the union are equitable,” said Kirk. 

Thomas Wood feels that in his role as associate to the former SCSU vice president, academics & university affairs, he “learned about what is required to be a VP AUA in the best way possible, by being there and doing the work.”

To fulfill UniTSC’s various campaign promises, Wood added that they will need to employ “a variety of creative strategies.” 

“Some may require lobbying efforts at Governing Council, while others may require that meetings be set up with municipal governmental representatives or the University’s upper administration. There are also campaign points which require ongoing consultation with students at the Scarborough Campus,” Wood said.

Sitharsana Srithras is keen to see the SCSU involve itself in the larger community. “I have gathered most of my social justice advocacy experience as a Tamil Students’ Association [TSA] executive for three years at UTSC. These past two years, I have been the president of TSA. This experience has taught me a lot about the importance of establishing connections with community organizations and the Scarborough Campus,” she said.

Nafisa Mohammed rounds off the slate. She is experienced in equity work and was the associate to the former vice president, equity. “At the Scarborough Campus, I have engaged with equity work through my executive role with the African Students’ Association, being a co-president in 2014–2015.” 

Earlier this academic year, Mohammed moved to establish the Racialized Student Collective as an official Equity Service Centre under SCSU. “This secured physical safe space on campus for racialized students at UTSC. My experience advocating for safe space on campus, as well as navigating spaces as a black Muslim woman, remind me about the importance of engaging in equity work,” she said.

“We also want UTSC students to know that equitable practices are at the core of all the goals we are working toward,” Mohammed added. “Making the University experience more accessible can take form in many ways, and we hope that all the goals we have set out to accomplish help to break down the barriers that prevent students from accessing post-secondary education.”

Voting ran from February 2 to February 4. Unofficial results are expected in the next few days.

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