Editor’s Note (February 5, 1:44 pm): After the publication of this profile in The Varsity‘s print issue on February 4, Atwal was disqualified from the race. He appealed the decision and was rejected, according to The Underground.
Anup Atwal, a fourth-year Neuroscience and Statistics student, is running as SCSYou’s presidential candidate.
Atwal was the co-president of the Scarborough Campus Punjabi Association and is currently the President of the Scarborough Campus’ Union Reform Club.
When asked why he was running for president, Atwal said, “Student unions represent something more than just positions of power and incomes for students… student unions function as a microcosm for… our own civic lives when we go out there and live.”
Atwal said that a system that is “not working and motivating people to be civically engaged” needs to change.
The SCSU’s priority for next year, according to Atwal, should be regaining and maintaining the student body’s trust, especially because students will possibly be given the choice to opt out of union fees next year under the new guidelines announced by the Ford government.
On the student union’s role in activist matters, Atwal believes that student unions do not have any right to take a political stance.
“What we should be doing is giving student clubs and students on campus a platform to express themselves. The union should not be the ones doing the actual activism; it should be the students doing it based on their own platforms,” said Atwal.
On his plan to deal with the provincial government’s changes to postsecondary education, which include potential SCSU funding cuts, Atwal said that he would be donating his salary back to the union.
However, Atwal acknowledged that doing that is only a “temporary relief.” Before the opt-out option is implemented, Atwal hopes to speak to MPPs and ask them to justify why they think their decisions are the right thing to do.
If the government does proceed with their plans to change postsecondary education funding, Atwal thinks that the SCSU does not have “much sway” in its ability to lobby.
“But we have sway with the university,” said Atwal. “We need to unite as unions and build rapports with the universities… to push against something bigger, which is the provincial government. We are not alone.”