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UTSU candidate profiles: Vice-President Operations

Dermot O’Halloran
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Dermot O’Halloran. CAROLINE BELLAMY/THE VARSITY
Dermot O’Halloran. CAROLINE BELLAMY/THE VARSITY

Dermot O’Halloran, a fourth-year music student, is the sole candidate running for vice-president, operations of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). He was an executive for the UTSU for two previous terms, as vice-president professional faculties in the 2019–2020 academic year and vice-president operations in the 2020–2021 academic year. 

O’Halloran feels his experience in these roles prepared him well to take up the vice-president operations role again. He pointed to governance and finance reforms, as well as the Student Aid Program, as major projects during his previous tenure as vice-president operations. “We completely changed how the [UTSU] governance looks and functions,” said O’Halloran in an interview with The Varsity

When asked why he decided to try to come back, O’Halloran replied, “There’s stuff that still needs to be done.” O’Halloran noted that he might not have considered running if he had heard of more interest in the role. He plans to implement a number of changes to the union’s elections, such as instituting automatic by-elections for vacant or uncontested positions, improving the nomination process, and looking into bringing back slates for executive elections. 

He laid out a number of plans he wants to implement if he is elected vice-president operations, including Student Aid reforms like increasing data security, improving governance, and looking into changes to staff structure. His other goals include keeping in-person operations at the food bank, instituting additional anti-fraud measures, and publishing union investments publicly. 

For the Student Commons, a project that has taken the union more than 10 years to build, O’Halloran hopes to get it up to full 24-hour operation, as was originally intended. He noted a few ideas for additional offerings, such as setting up a professional level studio recording space, providing students with computers with preloaded software, and acquiring a grand piano. 

The voting period for the UTSU elections is from March 23–27. The candidates debate is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22 at 6:00 pm.