Executive candidates running in the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) 2019 Spring Elections faced student questions about their experience and platforms at a forum hosted on January 29. There are two slates in this race, Shine Bright UTSC and SCSYou. Voting will take place from February 5–7 at three locations on campus.
To the presidential candidates, UTSC student Ghaith Hanbali asked what experience the candidates have that makes them fit for this leadership position.
Shine Bright UTSC’s presidential candidate Chemi Lhamo answered that she is a Director of Marketing for social media for the UTSC Chemistry Society. Lhamo is also the current SCSU Vice-President Equity.
“I thought that organic [chemistry] was the best thing since sliced bread,” said Lhamo. “Hence, why I wanted to help students with their lab coats, lab notebooks… I made sure I was there for them… [and] that people knew about Chemistry Society events.”
SCSYou’s presidential candidate Anup Atwal was the co-president of the Scarborough Campus Punjabi Association and is the founder and President of the Scarborough Campus’ Union Reform Club.
Atwal has also helped students at the Math and Statistics Learning Centre. “Student leadership… is not just being the person who’s always at the front… I do believe that part of being a leader is educating people around you.”
UTSC student Sarkis Kidanian said to the Vice-President Operations candidates that they have “lots of promises… that require money” and asked them where that would come from.
SCSYou’s Vice-President Operations candidate Ray Alibux replied that giving students the option to vote in and out of different levies would free up a lot of money.
He said that students are paying for levies that not all students may want to pay for. “An example is the Blue Sky Solar Racing… this [money] could be going toward something like the Food Centre.”
It is unclear how the union would gain money for other projects if students were allowed to opt out.
Shine Bright UTSC’s Vice-President Operations candidate Kevin Turingan said that since people are going to be able to opt out of the union next year, “he can’t give… an exact answer for that.”
If elected, Turingan plans to look at the funding and figure out how much money the union has before providing an answer. He said that he “would prioritize what students want.”
Among Alibux’s campaign promises are lobbying for more charging stations, longer food vendor hours, an on-campus free food kitchen similar to Good Shepherd Ministries, and a recreation room.
Turingan wants to introduce more food trucks, a food justice campaign, and a Presto card machine on campus. He also wants to give the SCSU Food Centre its own room, and open it at least three times a week, instead of two.
In light of Premier Doug Ford’s government announcement of changes to postsecondary education, which includes a 10 per cent cut to domestic tuition, a student asked the candidates for Vice-President Academics & University Affairs about how they might introduce new bursaries.
Shine Bright UTSC’s Raymond Dang emphasized that “as soon as [he is] in office” in May, he will introduce scholarships and bursaries. He also has plans concerning petition costs and green leadership.
“A vote for Raymond is a vote for a break with the past,” said Dang. “A vote for Shine Bright UTSC is a vote for transparency, ambition, accountability, and positivity.”
SCSYou’s Carly Sahagian said, “As someone who works with admissions, we offer a lot of scholarships for students.”
She said, “[Student services] fees should be able to cover some of the extra services that we pay. For example, the deferred exam fee.” Sahagian wants to remove UTSC fees such as the $70 exam deferral fee and the $36 exam re-read fee.