UTGSU candidate profiles: Academics and Funding Commissioner Divisions 1 and 2

Ernest Akrofi Obeng, Dhanela Sivaparan
From left to right:
Dhanela Sivaparan (COURTESY DHANELA SIVAPARAN); Ernest Akrofi Obeng (DINA DONG/THE VARSITY)
From left to right: Dhanela Sivaparan (COURTESY DHANELA SIVAPARAN); Ernest Akrofi Obeng (DINA DONG/THE VARSITY)

Ernest Akrofi Obeng

Ernest Akrofi Obeng is an international student from Ghana in his first year of the social justice education doctoral program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Obeng said that he is dedicated to student politics, and hopes to create an environment where students feel they can grow, regardless of their race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and other traits.

Obeng believes he understands the concerns of students and hopes to help foster a community where they can work to the best of their abilities. In an interview with The Varsity, Obeng said, “I think it’s an opportunity for me to do something to help the student community and, again, to also create opportunities to learn.”

Dhanela Sivaparan

Dhanela Sivaparan is a doctoral student in the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE, and hopes to protect graduate student rights, provide support for Division 1 and 2 graduate units, and improve policies on safe spaces, access to meeting spaces, and mental health.

As academics and funding commissioner, Sivaparan placed particular emphasis on mobilizing and organizing graduate students ahead of collective bargaining negotiations with the university in the upcoming year.

“I will work to promote equity, social justice and change. A vote for me is a vote to act: advocacy, commitment, and trust,” wrote Sivaparan in her statement to The Varsity.

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