Onik Khan is seeking to transfer from the vice-president, campus life portfolio to the vice-president external in the UTSU’s fall by-elections being held October 15–17.
The list of candidates was announced late Sunday, October 6. Khan, who is running unopposed, was reached by phone shortly after the announcement.
“I enjoyed the experiences I had with campus life — I think the work that I was able to do as campus life, working and making a community at U of T, will serve me well as VP external.” Khan has taken on a number of major projects in his six months with the union. In the summer he organized a day of action protesting sweatshop labour practices: during Orientation Week he spearheaded the Lupe Fiasco concert.
In this new role, Khan intends to continue his work against sweatshops, but also on a food audit of existing options for U of T students, and against unpaid internships — two projects former VP external Andrew Ursel focused on. Ursel was appointed following the resignation of Sana Ali during last year’s general UTSU election. Ali resigned with a highly publicized Facebook letter where she blasted the current executive for their alleged lack of autonomy. Ursel resigned mid-July for personal reasons, and the post has remained vacant ever since. “The idea of moving forward is that each executive would do a little bit of the portfolio” explains Khan.
There are a number of traditional UTSU initiatives Khan hopes to continue, such as pedestrianizing St. George street and working to eliminate flat fees. He also hopes to work with U of T to eliminate interest charges on unpaid tuition.
While there are no other candidates, students will have the option to vote “no” in the upcoming election. If Khan is successful, he intends to resign from his campus life position, at which point the UTSU will hire a new VP, campus life. TheVPp, campus life is appointed by the Board of Directors following an interview process which vice-president, internal Cameron Wathey, president Munib Sajjad, and executive director Sandy Hudson would conduct.