PHOTO COURTESY OF RAFAEL WEILAND

Current University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) President Felipe Nagata has been elected to be the Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS–O) chairperson beginning on June 1. He will be replacing CFS–O chairperson Nour Alideeb, who has held this position for two consecutive terms and was also a former UTMSU president during the 2016–2017 school year.

In this election, registered delegates were sent on behalf of each local to vote, with one local counting as one vote. Nagata ran uncontested for the position.

Nagata told The Varsity in an email that he plans to “unite students across the province” and pressure local and federal governments to “prioritize education.”

“Building capacity and bringing students together will be crucial in the fight for a more accessible post secondary education because it will be more efficient and impactful with one unified voice. There are many ways to do this like sending letters to local MPPs and rallying students to skills development and coalition building,” wrote Nagata.

Nagata’s election comes at a hectic time in Ontario student politics, with the Ford government’s controversial decision to cut tuition by 10 per cent, cut student grants, and add opt-out options to formerly mandatory non-tuition fees.

With the Ford government in power, Nagata plans to scale back on government lobbying, especially with a government that he sees as having little concern for student input.

“I want to spend the next year supporting students in developing a mobilization strategy. With the help of student unions and other groups on campus, we can focus on educating and mobilizing to create a sense of unity for the scary times we have ahead.”

Aside from the provincial government, Nagata also has his eye on the upcoming federal election.

“I want to make sure that every party has education on their platform. I wish to partake in a campaign to increase not only the student voter turn-out but also voter literacy.”

Nagata called this “an essential piece” in showing the government that students “have a weight and voice.”

Alideeb, the current CFS–O chairperson, is graduating from U of T this year but plans to continue her life in student politics.

“Even though I’m graduating and I won’t be an elected representative anymore, I’m still going to fight for a free and accessible post-secondary education,” she wrote to The Varsity.

“Especially with the recent government announcement, I feel like it’s my responsibility as a prospective graduate student, older sibling and citizen to continue this work. So where it will take me, I’m not sure yet, but I’m excited about this new chapter in my life.”

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