In the run up to the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) spring elections, the 1UofT slate introduced their final candidate: Andy Edem. With this addition, Edem completes the slate as their vice president, university affairs candidate.
Edem intended to run as an independent and said that he was hesitant about being associated with a slate.
“The thing with being associated with a slate is that many a time the electorate choose not to vote for someone not because they do not believe or resonate with their platform but because they run in a slate. Although I think that is unfair, it is something I have witnessed in past elections,” he said.
Despite his initial reservations, Edem joined the 1UofT slate last week and participated in the Executive Debate. “I became part of the 1UofT slate Monday evening. After a thorough reflection of what my values were and what I would like to achieve as vice president, university affairs, I realized that being part of the 1UofT slate was the way forward,” he said.
Edem said that he believes that running as part of the slate will benefit his outreach to students and faculty of U of T. “As a member of their slate I would not only get the opportunity to reach out to folks with my platform but also get the chance to work with an amazing group of people who want to improve the effect and reputation of the UTSU,” he said.
Madina Siddiqui, presidential candidate for 1UofT, said that she saw Edem as a potential candidate for vice president, university affairs when she found out that he was running independently at the all candidates meeting held on Sunday, March 13.
“Since I, along with other team members, have known Andy for a while and know of the great work that he has done on this campus within the New College community along with Residence Councils and Orientation we asked him if he was interested in joining our team,” Siddiqui said.
Two vice president, university affairs candidates initially submitted nomination forms for the position with 1UofT.
Siddiqui said that one of the candidates was unable to run due to personal circumstances and time commitments as the nomination period came close. Although Siddiqui did not name the candidate, the UTSU’s website confirmed that Yujai (Vikko) Qu was slated to run with 1UofT when his candidates statement was posted. Qu’s statement was removed from the site after he withdrew from the race.
1UofT also approached Emerson Calcada, who was competing in the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections during the nomination period. Calcada’s candidate statement appeared on the UTSU’s website alongside Qu’s, both candidates asking readers to vote for 1UofT.
The Varsity requested comment from Calcada who had not responded as of press time.
“Another person who was interested to run was also running in another set of elections, they were burnt out and needed time for themselves which we fully respected as well,” Siddiqui explained.
Regarding their final decision on a vice president, university affairs candidate, Siddiqui agreed that 1UofT and Edem share similar values. “He saw [that] the team and him had shared values on working to help bring UofT together and to work on student issues, so he agreed. That is why his posters where late going up since we had to make them last minute,” she said.
Edem said that if he wins the position, he would: lobby the university to establish a 24-hour mental health service; re-evaluate the credit-no credit policy; and revitalize the individual academic endeavour grant scheme that the UTSU provides.