Candidate Profile: Leon Tsai, Vice-President Equity

Slate: Shine Bright UTSC

Leon Tsai is a second-year student at UTSC majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, and minoring in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry. Tsai is the current SCSU Director of Historical and Cultural Studies. 

She is also the External Relations Coordinator of the UTSC’s Women’s and Trans Centre and on work study at UTSC’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre. 

Tsai’s platform includes expanding safe spaces and accessibility services, implementing a dialogue series campaign for mental health, and lobbying the university for decolonizing discourses. She also wants to advocate for LGBTQ+-oriented services, initiatives, and campaigns. 

As an LGBTQ+ and body-positive activist, Leon draws from her personal experiences as a transgender immigrant woman and as a public speaker. “I really believe that decolonizing this institution that’s not built for all of us is the way that we can all feel empowered and move forward.” 

Addressing improvements to the SCSU, Tsai said that there need to be conversation and community consultation regarding equity issues, especially intersectional ones. “I think the SCSU is doing well in the sense that it’s trying to cover a lot of different topics of marginalization and oppression and educate that to the students.”
She criticized equity within food options, specifically the need for more vegan and halal options. 

“Obviously checking the quality is an important thing, but also making sure that there’s vegan and halal options so that everyone gets access to food.”

Responding to complaints about the Student Centre’s food vendors, Tsai said that students need to lobby and pressure the university to make changes, as unions do not have this authority. 

“If we want to change the food options and Market Place, we do need to lobby the university just because the student union doesn’t control those things.”

 With files from Josie Kao

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