Both slates in the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) election included plans to scrap the two-ID Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) pass system.
Change UofT and Brighter UofT picked up on a U of T student’s initiative to do away with the two-card student fare system, which requires students to use a TTC post-secondary student identification card when paying post-secondary student fare on Toronto transit.
Earlier this year, Jordana Schiralli, a third-year student at University College, started a petition to scrap the post-secondary student identification card. She suggested that changing the TTC policy to include alternative identification options may make the system easier and cheaper to access.
The petition was a runaway success and currently has over 7,500 signatures.
Picking up on the wider student interest around the petition, both slates contacted Schiralli about incorporating her project into their platforms. A week before campaigning started, she received a message from Cameron Wathey, current vice-president, internal and services, and presidential candidate with Change UofT, asking if he could help her put her plan into action. “I was excited,” Schiralli said, “I would need the UTSU’s help to make a change and he offered to meet with me.”
While Schiralli is pleased to have more attention to her cause, she claimed that she was never told that her idea would be used for election purposes; she assumed that Wathey had asked her in his capacity as vice-president, internal and services. “He never got back to me and never told me that it was for election purposes,” she says.
As of press time, Wathey did not respond to requests for comment.
When Jasmine Denike, vice-president, external candidate for Brighter UofT, contacted her, Schiralli says that she was incorporated into the policy process. A plan was developed, including a rough timeline for reaching out to other universities as well as lobbying.
Schiralli says that she didn’t feel that working with Brighter UofT was a partisan move. Instead, she was glad to see her work being taken seriously by the candidates. “I would have worked with either slate,” she says, “but Brighter was the only team to offer to collaborate with me and let me take an active role in continuing the initiative.”
Results for the UTSU elections are expected on Monday.