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New president, VP at UCLit

Eric Schwenger and Munira Lila speak about plans and goals for the year ahead
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On October 17, Eric Schwenger, a third-year ethics, society, and law student was elected president of the University College Literary and Athletic Society (UCLit). Munira Lila, a fifth-year global health and anthropology student, was elected vice-president. 

Voting took place at the Howard Ferguson Dining Hall, as well as on the University of Toronto website. Schwenger and Lila were the only candidates running for their positions.

On October 14, both candidates participated in a debate at the college’s Commuter Student Centre to discuss their goals and plans for the year ahead. Vipulan Vigneswaran, UCLit elections coordinator, hosted the discussion. 

Schwenger pointed out the need to implement transitional processes for both new and returning councils so that they are aware of their responsibilities in the society. “This is especially important this year as [the council] is mostly made up of new members,” said Schwenger. 

Schwenger also said that he plans to file articles of continuance this year for the new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA), in order to incorporate the council under the new act.

Schwenger ended his speech by stating that he will further work on what he was not able to do last year, such as compiling thorough documentation on resources, spaces for the college’s clubs, and transitional processes. 

Following Schwenger’s speech, Lila began by noting that her focus will be on bringing sustainability to existing practices within the council. Lila said it would be unrealistic for her to introduce too many new initiatives, since she is coming in late as the vice president of the council. 

Lila echoed Schwenger’s stance on transitional processes from year to year. She highlighted the high turnover rate in student politics and the reliance on weak transition methods. “We need to have better accountability mechanisms to ensure that incoming councils are familiarizing themselves with what we do,” Lila stated. 

Lila also called for monthly constitution reviews in order to discuss or amend current policies. She encouraged inclusion of public deputies and active student participation in the reviews, saying an increase in attendance would strengthen accountability and direct democracy within the council and the college. 

Lila further pointed out the need to have additional support for commissions, inventory practices, and promotion of existing clubs. Lila contended that many clubs within the University College community are not aware of the resources the college has and, as such, are not adequately advertised; the rest of the townhall meeting involved further debate with the chair of the society regarding how to increase student engagement. There was also discussion on how to approach the council’s relationship with the University of Toronto Students’ Union.

Leo Chen was elected president of the UCLit in March of this year for the 2014–2015 term. Schwenger was elected vice-president at the time, later stepping down to run for president. It is unclear how or why Chen vacated his position. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that the UCLit would be filing for continuance under the  Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. In fact, the Lit will be transitioning to Ontario’s new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act.