At the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) monthly Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on December 8, board members ratified the results from the union’s October by-elections, officially welcoming three new directors and a new vice-president (VP) campus life. Only one per cent of eligible UTSC students voted in the election.

The board also approved the dates for the spring general elections, with nominations scheduled to close on February 5. 

The board grows

At the meeting, the board appointed three new directors; Muhammad Faisan Ashraf and Fatima Zaidi became first-year directors, and Hana Ali Houssein became director of French and linguistics.

The voting period for the SCSU’s by-elections ran from October 24–26. As in the prior year’s by-elections, only one per cent of the UTSC student body voted. Excluding spoiled ballots, 100 students voted for first-year director positions, compared with the 183 votes cast for VP campus life.

In an interview with The Varsity, VP Operations Akaash Palaparthy explained that election turnouts consistently seem to be falling, which he said people often ascribe to “apathy” or “a lack of campus vibe, a lack of culture.” He noted that, in his view, the SCSU does “more than half [its] job” to promote election awareness.

Eight first-year students ran for the first-year director positions, and Palaparthy feels that interest in the position is growing. However, he explained that only first-years can vote for first-year directors, which limits voters. “First-year students just [happen] to be disconnected. They’re just figuring things out,” he said.

VP External Khadidja Roble wrote in an email to The Varsity that the engagement from first-year directors “excited” her and “reflects the great work SCSU has done… with [its] first-year students.”

The SCSU also confirmed the dates for its spring general elections, where it will elect six executive positions and 18 BOD positions for the 2024–2025 session. BOD members confirmed that the voting period will take place between March 4–6. In a post on Instagram, the SCSU also set the dates for events leading up to the final vote, including a nomination period from January 17 to February 5, an all-candidates forum on February 12, and a campaign period from February 13 to March 6.

“I’m hoping we have two or three slates… I’m hoping to see some competition,” Palaparthy told The Varsity, noting that more competition tends to draw more voters.

Gain a VP campus life, lose a VP equity

The BOD also ratified Victoria Mata as VP campus life. Originally, Transform UTSC — the slate that won all executive positions in 2023 — featured Abdulrahman Diab as VP campus life. However, Diab resigned in April 2023, citing personal reasons that prevented him from meeting the required hours. The SCSU hired Mata as VP campus life until the fall 2023 by-elections could occur. 

Mata ran unopposed during the by-elections. “I’m just obviously ecstatic that the student body trusts me again back in the position,” Mata told The Varsity

Mata has many things planned, including working with Palaparthy on multicultural week from March 18–22. She said she is excited to showcase the unique diversity present on the UTSC campus. 

In a January 10 email to The Varsity, VP Academic and University Affairs Afsana Miah wrote that the SCSU is still interviewing VP equity applicants after Denise Nmashie resigned in December, citing changing academic goals. The executives will present two candidates during the January BOD meeting, where the BOD will select one person for the position. 

Although the SCSU has yet to confirm the date for their January BOD meeting, Miah wrote that the union seeks to hold the meeting in the coming week. It hopes to finalize the VP Equity selection in early January so the new VP can settle into their role in time for Black History Month programming and other initiatives slated for the winter semester.