SAC elections begin on March 16. Part Two of this guide will appear in the March 15 issue of The Varsity.
Shane D. O’Dowd-Rutherford 2nd year, Aboriginal Studies and International Relations
Previous Experience: SAC member, Scarborough task force
Platform highlights: “We can build very low cost student housing and reduce rents to maybe $350.00 a month, we can feed students a good meal for $2.00, we can open our own bookstore, dental clinic, pharmacy. How? These skills lie within the university and colleges in Toronto: working together architecture, design and construction students can build housing and earn credit towards the degrees. Student chefs can run a campus restaurant. Business and comp sci students can produce an online student bookstore, Pharmacy students could dispense medication under the direction of their professors and all around we would save money, help each other and gain practical experience.
“I insist that access and equity concerns must be the hallmark of the next SAC President and will initiate a direct fundraising campaign so we can increase services and reduce costs. The University is not the only body that requires an endowment!
Accessibility services cannot handle the volume of requests it receives so lobbying the Province (It is not exclusively funded by the University) for additional staff and resources is crucial. This will be my first call from my office when elected. My second call will be to have the University immediately stop penalizing disabled students $2,000 per year in UTAPS funding for receiving assistance from OSAP.”
Outside interests/affiliations: Volunteering, being with friends, playing with the Samba Elegua band at Hart House.
Justin Woong Kim, fourth year Commerce
Previous Experience: VP Korean Students Association, co-opted member of University Affairs, Clubs, and Promotions Committee at SAC.
Platform highlights: “Building a Student Centre. Unlike other universities in Ontario, U of T does not have a Student Centre. A Student Centre will include more club spaces, a multifaith space, a lounge area, a student-run pub and a resturant. The majority of U of T sutdents are commuters, and these students hang out at places such as the Robarts and Sid Smith cafeterias. We need a central place to relax and meet fellow U of T students, as well as office space for all our various student clubs.” Also, cheaper metropasses and a metropass levy.
Why should we vote for you? I look at things from a students’ point of view. Too much of the time, SAC deals with issues irrelevant to U of T students such as international politics. The “Building Bridges” ticket has 7 executive candidates and 13 college reps who are all behind the idea of making U of T a place where students can feel a sense of community and pride in attending a school as diverse as U of T.
Outside interests/affiliations: Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Black Students Association, Republic of China Students at U of T, Hong Kong Students Association.
Ranjini “Rini” Ghosh, final year South Asian Studies
Previous Experience: President, Arts and Science Student Union, student rep for Academic Board of Governing Council, chair of Council on Student Services.
Platform highlights: “We need to make SAC a more academically significant student body. SAC’s presence needs to be felt in departments and faculties. SAC needs to send members of council to departmental and faculty meetings. We need to get onto those committees and represent students the way they want to be represented. SAC needs to understand fully the bureaucracy and insides of this university to be effective, and I promise to do just that.” Also, funding for a Multifaith Centre, Student Centre, more 24 hour study space, and a permanent used book store on campus.
Why should we vote for you? “You should vote for me because I am the candidate with the most experience and proven results in this election. I promise to keep my office door open to my constituents always and be accessible. I promise to be there when you need to talk to someone about your needs. I promise to be the conduit that connects administration and students at the U of T.”
Outside interests/affiliations: Board of directors, Bengali community centre. Classic and regional dance, vocal music, acting. Will be appearing soon on an Indian TV show based in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), and has won awards for her performances in the past.
Moneeza Ahmed, fourth year Economics/Political Science
Previous Experience: Deputy VP Student Life, SAC board of directors, Hart House board of stewards
Platform highlights: More bus routes, as well as extended operating hours for the #24 bus. Better food services, and more study and student space. Compost services, and a more clearly labelled recycling program. Financial transparency, more autonomy for UTM, as well as the continued promotion of diversity, equity and accessibility.
Why should we vote for you? I have the most experience. Last year as a part of SAC Board of Directors, we all sat down and created a vision. We wanted change at UTM. I have brought forth that change. I played an integral part in bringing you the bus route from Square 1.
I have played a vital role in increasing the SAC budget by 400 per cent and provided more funding and resources to clubs. I have produced free UTM handbooks for students. This year I helped start a Used Book Exchange which put back close to $4,000 to students. I have worked with different groups on this campus to bring you events such as the Winter Festival and Feb. 4 Day of Action and the income tax clinics.
Outside interests/affiliations: Swimming, kickboxing, reading and hiking. Member of BreakDown, Pakistani Students Association and Erindale Biology club.
Melissa Shaw, History and Political Science
Previous Experience: ECSU College Affairs Commissioner, Quality of Student Services rep for Council of Student Services (COSS)
Platform Highlights: Student government accountability and transparency, more student representation.
Why should we vote for you? I’m determined to make myself accessible by way of reliable office hours. If I represent students, they need to be able to reach me. I am determined to make sure all students and all issues get the attention they deserve, that their student government is accessible and objective. We pay for so much that goes unused, and it’s mainly just a matter of awareness. Emphasis has been placed on the wrong things and we need to provide students with more.
Outside interests/affiliations: Volunteer; Erinoak, March of Dimes, Supportive Housing in Peel.
VP External Affairs
Raymond Yong, third year studying Psychology, Sociology and Economics
Previous Experience: none given.
Platform highlights: “University Idol – I would like to negotiate a deal with one of the local television stations that would allow U of T students to showcase their musical talents for everyone in the Greater Toronto Area to enjoy.” Also, more bursaries and scholarships through outside investment, and communicating with all levels of government in the interests of students.
Why should we vote for you? My greatest asset as VP External Affairs would be my sincere desire to work as hard as it takes to make this a better school. I will always be welcome to any student input, and will work my hardest to address the issues important to us, the students.It’s about time we worked together, as university students, and realized just how powerful we can be.Our voices, our opinions, our views and our desires must be heard. I will give students a strong voice and bring their ideas forward in confidence. If it’s important to you, then it’s important to me! I will not take no for an answer. I am that person to fight for your needs.
Outside interests/affiliations: hockey, snowboarding, movies, reading, sleeping, cars, clubbing, girls, travelling and also learning about other cultures. I love life.
Sam Rahimi, third year Political Science and Philosophy
Previous Experience: Deputy VP Equity, organizer, Rally to Reduce Tuition Fees
Platform highlights: I am dedicated to making education financially accessible for all academically qualified students. This means lobbying the government to keep their promise about the tuition freeze, to push for an end to deregulation in all programs, and to advocate for proper funding of post-secondary education.
“I will also negotiate with the TTC to get you a cheaper Metropass. I pledge to eliminate the $1.00 service charge that currently exists for SAC Metropass sales immediately upon taking office.” Also, more working rights for international students, and opening up dialogue with the government on issues such as affordable housing and the environment.
Why should we vote for you? I believe my combination of experience, vision, and dedication to the rights of undergraduate students makes me the ideal choice to be your VP External. My extensive knowledge of the internal structure of SAC means that I would have a short learning curve and be able to begin serving students right away. I will not waste my time playing political games within SAC, as that time can be much better spent advocating for your rights as students. I am an extremely hard worker and thrive in the face of challenges. I will not shy away from taking a stand on the issues that matter to you, as students must come first. I am an excellent communicator and will listen to individual students as well as clubs, groups, and college councils so that we can all work together towards a common goal of accessible education.
Outside interests/affiliations: Secretary of advocacy group Students for Barrier-free Access, advocate for human rights.