A majority of the current executives will be continuing in their roles at the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU), according to the unofficial 2019 election results released today, which still need to be ratified by the union’s General Council.
According to the Chief Returning Officer, 919 students voted in the election, out of a possible 18,069 electors, meaning that there was a turnout rate of 5.1 per cent.
Academics & Funding Commissioner for Divisions 1 and 2 Christopher Ball, Academics & Funding Commissioner for Divisions 3 and 4 Sophie McGibbon-Gardner, and Finance Commissioner Branden Rizzuto were all re-elected to their positions in contested elections.
This will be Rizzuto’s fourth term as a UTGSU executive, having previously served as Executive-at-Large and Academics & Funding Commissioner for Divisions 1 and 2. Ball will also be returning for a third term as Academics & Funding Commissioner.
Civics & Environment Commissioner Leonardo José Uribe Castano won an uncontested race and will be serving his third term in the position. In a statement to The Varsity, Castano wrote, “I’m very honoured to see that the student body approved my re-election and [am] excited to continue working for graduate students. I’m also thrilled that the turnout was so high compared to past years as we continue to increase engagement across all campuses.”
The Varsity has requested information about voter turnout, which is not publicly available, from Chief Returning Officer Adrian Aziz.
Maryssa Barras, the former Executive-at-Large who temporarily filled the position of Internal Commissioner earlier this year, will be the new External Commissioner. Barras wrote to The Varsity, “I am excited to be able to represent the UTGSU as external commissioner for the next year, and I hope to be able to carry forward in a way that protects the interests of the UTGSU membership to the best of my ability.”
Lwanga Musisi was elected University Governance Commissioner, defeating Lynne Alexandrova, the former Internal Commissioner who was voted out of office in November. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who liberally bestowed their effort, time and vote to our campaign during this year’s UTGSU election,” wrote Musisi.
“The UTGSU needs affordable graduate student accommodation, better integration of international graduate students in the UofT intellectual community and secure and guaranteed daycare facilities for graduate students with children…I look forward to working with everybody, particularly members of the UTGSU and interacting with the university policy makers on your behalf.”
Adam Hill won the race for Internal Commissioner, the only position that did not have a former executive in the running.
The Varsity has reached out to Ball, McGibbon-Gardner, and Rizzuto for comment. Hill has not responded to a request for comment.
Editor’s Note (March 10, 11:41 am): This article has been updated with comment from Musisi and with the turnout rate.