Two new executive members were acclaimed at the first general meeting of the Arts & Science Students’ Union (ASSU) on September 29. Uttra Gautam and Ariel Charney ran unopposed for two executive positions.
Uttra Gautam, a fifth-year psychiatry and criminology student, explained that she ran for an executive position because she is passionate about the university and what the ASSU can do for its students. “I’ve been here for a while and I’ve been involved in different groups on campus, so I feel like I know what issues people have and what they need. I also know what positives the University of Toronto has,” Gautman said.
Gautman plans to increase awareness of free resources available to students, such as Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Downtown Legal Services, a community clinic run by law students that provides free legal services.
Ariel Charney, a fourth-year health studies specialist, said that she ran for an executive position out of concern for mental health on campus and a desire to promote positive change. “This year, I would like to hear from students about how academic policies and procedures can be improved to better support them during times of distress,” Charney said.
“Seeing how hard it is to navigate the resources here, I hope to formulate a list of all the services and resources available that offer academic assistance and accommodation and to clarify the procedures involved in receiving them,” Charney added.
The meeting also summarised a number of different initiatives taken by the ASSU over the summer, with an emphasis on the power students can have through collective cooperation. “[T]here is power in numbers,” said ASSU president Abdullah Shihipar.
The ASSU is an academic students’ union for over 23,000 full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. The ASSU is made up of over 60 course unions, seven elected executives, and three staff members.