Kim Borden Penney is a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She is running for Finance Commissioner.

Penney is running because she believes that her 20 years of experience in the financial sector and six years in student governance will enable her to help the UTGSU continue serving its students.

With regard to expected funding cuts stemming from the provincial government’s Student Choice Initiative (SCI), she believes that her background will help her guide advocacy efforts and strategies “to combat some of those cuts.”

Penney has been involved with the Social Justice Education department since 2013, and she has also worked with the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education to improve retention issues and support strategies concerning racialized students.

Speaking on her financial background, she referred to her experience as a senior vice-president at a major bank, followed by about 10 years as Chief Financial Officer before her return to academia. Penney declined to name what bank she worked for, as she does not believe it is relevant to her work in student issues.

As Finance Commissioner, Penney would prioritize funding available for student bursaries, conference funding, and financial resources for conducting research. Her goals are to better financially support graduate students throughout their degrees, especially if students face issues finding funding.

Penney also believes that it’s important for the UTGSU to better communicate what financial resources it offers students, referring to her personal experiences having to “navigate the [financial] system alone without very much information about where to even start.”

Her priorities would also include mobilizing students to increase pressure on the provincial government in response to likely funding cuts.

Immediately following the announcement of the SCI by the provincial government, Penney said she was “disappointed” about what she perceived as students’ perceived lack of “mobility or pushback” to the policy. 

To work around the cuts, Penney would draw from her past experience in investment banking to “look at alternative ways of leveraging certain things that we have here with the university.” Specifically, she would lobby the university, student government, community partners, and other stakeholders at U of T.