Michelle Mabira. STEVEN LEE/THE VARSITY

Independent presidential candidate Michelle Mabira is a fourth-year student studying Strategic Management at Rotman Commerce. Mabira said that her goal for the UTSU is to make sure that people from marginalized communities are not left out. She intends to encourage UTSU leaders to be “student activists first, student politicians after.”

She said that others she would have liked to have seen in various UTSU positions did not run because they were not “comfortable” with the union. “They feel ostracized, and that’s rather unfortunate because this union is also theirs as well.”

As a student, Mabira was involved in campaigns supporting two UTSU employees who were laid off earlier last year to save money, but if she were elected, she would not immediately rehire them. “I wouldn’t jeopardize the union.”

“If it’s a matter of ‘we can’t afford it,’ then that’s another question you would have to consider,” she said.

Mabira recognizes the concern that the union will go bankrupt in a few years, but she questions the legitimacy of the numbers current UTSU President Mathias Memmel is providing. She said that Memmel claimed he was qualified to calculate those financials based on an internship he completed at an auditing firm. “I would try to get more experienced people to look at these numbers, because this is a serious issue.”

On the topic of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Mabira realizes that it is “one of the most polarizing topics on this campus.” She sees that there are many students on either side of the argument and “will stay in the middle so that students feel comfortable knowing that someone represents them no matter what.” She said she has already signed the You Decide petition to call a referendum.

With regard to the future relationship of the UTSU and the UTMSU, Mabira believes that they should remain partners because there is “strength in numbers.” She said that all students are affected by the decisions of university administration and that staying united gives students greater power.

— With files from Jack O. Denton

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