Students United sweeps UTMSU elections, executives win over 1,000 votes each

Slate claims two contested positions, other three candidates win uncontested

Students United sweeps UTMSU elections, executives win over 1,000 votes each

The Students United slate dominated the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) 2019 election — unofficial election results were released on the UTMSU’s Facebook page today.

The slate ran mostly unopposed — the only races in which they faced opposition were the Vice-President Internal and Vice-President Equity elections. Both of these were won by margins greater than 500 votes.

Atif Abdullah, current Vice-President External, won the presidency uncontested by a margin of 1,231 votes, accruing 314 ‘no’ votes.

Kai Ng and Miguel Cabral won Vice-President External and Vice-President University Affairs, respectively, both by margins greater than 1,200 votes.

Vice-President Internal-elect Sara Malhotra won in a contested election against Luke Warren. Malhotra garnered 1,483 votes, 1,110 more than Warren, with 164 spoiled ballots.

Habon Ali won the election by the smallest margin of the two contested elections, winning 693 more votes than her opponent Saarang Ahuja. The race also saw the largest number of spoiled ballots at 188.

Reviewing the 2019 UTMSU elections

Students United’s pledge to resist Ford cuts is laudable, but a one-sided race is concerning

Reviewing the 2019 UTMSU elections

In this year’s University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections, Students United was the only full slate to run, while independent candidates ran for the positions of Vice-President Internal and Vice-President Equity.

Led by uncontested presidential candidate and current Vice-President External Atif Abdullah, under Students United, emphasized working with other student unions and challenging the provincial government’s recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and mandatory incidental fees. For Abdullah and his team, advocating for free education and protecting the existence of student clubs, especially in light of the Student Choice Initiative, is key.

Students United’s platform also included goals to develop fair academic policies such as limits on late assignments and a permanent self-assigned sick note policy. They are also dedicated to fighting racism, homophobia, anti-Indigenous racism, and other forms of oppression on campus.

These are all laudable, progressive goals. As I described in a previous column, it is imperative that UTM students stand up to the provincial government’s detrimental cuts to our educational and campus experience. We need a UTMSU that prioritizes this fight — and we may just get that with Students United.

But before we look to the future, students should be concerned about the nature of the election itself. Similar to last year, this year’s elections consisted of a single slate, with at least half of the positions being uncontested. Uncontested races mean that the sole candidate will almost certainly win by default — this is problematic, especially for big roles like the presidency. In the last two years, participation in elections has dropped significantly. The last year that UTMSU elections consisted of two or more slates competing against each other was 2017.

A single slate race weakens choice for students, and is not acceptable at a campus with a variety of students from different backgrounds and perspectives. Student democracy cannot function if it does not mobilize and channel these differences through competitive elections. Without the willingness of students to run for office and offer choice to voters, it is no surprise that voters show little interest and engagement. Last year’s elections had a very low turnout at 13 per cent. This means the voice of the vast majority of students are not heard.   

This year, student organizations like The Medium and the UTM Campus Conservatives have actively spoken out against the UTMSU’s undemocratic behaviour. While such criticism is itself necessary for a healthy democracy, it also calls into question the degree to which the student population shares this sentiment. I have heard complaints from peers who claim that the UTMSU does not represent them, or does not focus on the problems they feel need to be addressed. These students are also likely to ignore the elections when they do come around.

With little student engagement and participation, it is clear that the student union will not be an accurate representation and reflection of the student body. At a time when the provincial government seeks to weaken student democracy, voice, and campus life, it is imperative that students are more involved and engaged than ever. 

We need more students to run for office, not only to advocate for student democracy if elected, but offer voters choice through the very decision to run. In turn, voters can be more motivated and engaged and turn out in higher numbers, and therefore ensure that the union is more representative and has a strong, legitimate mandate to govern. 

The results of this year’s UTMSU elections finally came out on Sunday evening. Unsurprisingly, Student United claimed victory for all five positions — including large margins for the two that were contested by independent candidates. Their success speaks to the power of slates, especially ones that are unchallenged.

Even though the new executive has built a strong platform dedicated to standing up for students against a hostile government — and we should hope that they are successful in their goals — the UTM student body needs to show greater interest in campus politics such that we have vibrant, competitive elections. While having a dedicated team is certainly part of the solution, it is not enough unless the student body is committed to stand up for itself.

Sharmeen Abedi is a fourth-year Criminology, Sociology, and English student at UTM. She is The Varsity’s UTM Affairs Columnist.

UTMSU election campaign starts today

Key issues could include space issues, health and dental plans

UTMSU election campaign starts today

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections are beginning today, a year after One UTM, an uncontested slate of executive candidates led by then Vice-President Campus Life Felipe Nagata, swept the positions.

Vice-President External Atif Abdullah is running for president and heading the Students United slate. Independents are also running for executive spots, however The Varsity was unable to verify any of them, except for Luke Victor Warren, who is running for Vice-President Internal.

The campaign will run until March 21 at 6:00 pm. Voting will take place in person from March 19–21.

Key issues

Several key issues will dominate the campaign, including the Ford government’s Student Choice Initiative (SCI). The SCI, which was announced by Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton on January 17, gives students the choice to opt out of certain, non-essential incidental fees.

The UTMSU has publicly criticized the announcement as a “travesty for accessible education, student organizing and autonomy,” adding that the union “will not stand for this and will continue to fight for you to ensure that this government’s unilateral decision-making does not go unchecked.”

Another key issue is the newly-ratified separation of the UTMSU from the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). The two groups have worked closely with each other since they entered into an Associate Membership Agreement in 2008, but discussions started roughly a year ago to formally split.

Representatives of both unions have endorsed the separation. At the UTMSU’s Annual General Meeting on November 29, Abdullah said that the UTMSU “understands the needs and the wants of the students at UTM better than a student union that is situated downtown.”

Tyler Biswurm, Vice-President Operations of the UTSU, read a statement from UTSU President Anne Boucher that echoed the sentiment. “It is in the best interests of UTM students to be fully represented by a students’ union that is on-site and is therefore in a better place to understand the needs of the students on the Mississauga campus,” read Biswurm.

A main concern of the ratification will be how the UTMSU will take over administration for a health and dental plan, which was previously under the UTSU’s purview.

Another key issue for UTM students involves the lack of space on campus, which was highlighted this year after the campus over-enrolled students, causing a strain on resources.

Recently, UTM Principal and U of T Vice-President Ulrich Krull suggested that the campus may continue over-enrolling international students to offset the potential loss of funding that will come from the provincial government’s plan to cut domestic tuition by 10 per cent.

UTM market showcases Black business owners, entrepreneurs

The Buy Black market, organized by student groups, wraps up February 28

UTM market showcases Black business owners, entrepreneurs

Black business owners and entrepreneurs are showcasing their work this month at the Buy Black market at UTM, a part of ongoing Black History Month celebrations run by student groups.

The Buy Black market is the only recurring event in Black History Month programming at UTM, running every Thursday except during reading week. The final Buy Black market will be on February 28.

The month-long celebrations aim to empower Black members of the UTM community. Events are co-hosted by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU), the UTM Black Students’ Collective, the Eastern African Student Association, the UTM African Student’s Association, and the Caribbean Connections UTM student group.

“The Buy Black market was an exceptional time to showcase black identified vendors. We wanted to create a space where business owners had the ability to share their passions and culture with the UTM community,” wrote UTMSU Vice-President Equity Leena Arbaji in an email to The Varsity.

Though the event is open to UTM student vendors, Arbaji said that the organizers “didn’t find any students this time around.” Instead, they contacted vendors via Black Owned Unity, an enterprise that connects “the Black community around the goal of economic development.”

The market is located in the Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) Building. According to Arabji, this location was a strategic choice, writing that the organizers “purposely placed the market in a building with heavy traffic knowing 100’s of students each hour would interact with the vendors.” Due to its CCT Building location, food vendors are not permitted at the events. Instead, a variety of garment and cosmetics businesses are featured.

One of these business is Kallis Oils, a skincare company that primarily sells body oils. Its founder, Alazar Kafle, told The Varsity that his brand was “really well received. We had a lot of exposure, and people were really interested in our ingredients as well.” He later added that he is “super blessed to have had the chance to promote my initiative about responsible and organic skincare.”

Black History Month celebrations at UTM are wrapping up this week, with a Self-Care & Games Night event on February 25 and a closing ceremony on February 27.

Op-ed: A student union must always be political

The UTMSU VP External discusses Ford reforms, importance of advocacy

Op-ed: A student union must always be political

If you’re a student at a postsecondary institution in Ontario, you are bound to know what just happened with the recent announcements by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative (PC) government, especially as it pertains to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

Last year, it was estimated that over 400,000 students in Ontario use OSAP to attend school. Students at U of T know how expensive it is firsthand and how much government assistance is essential to access education.

As a disclaimer, I must note I abhor all political parties, and I choose to voice my concerns based only on policies that affect me and the students that I represent. And I can’t say that I was a full believer in the Liberal changes to OSAP in 2016.

I am a student who heavily depends on loans, and my family does not make enough to support me and my two other siblings who also attend postsecondary institutions. We don’t qualify for the “free tuition” grant because my dad makes $65,000 a year, but nonetheless, some of the grants helped us through.

But with the Ford government announcing major changes to student assistance, including cuts to funding for students, I am one of the students who will only walk out with more debt, like thousands of others at U of T.

When I joined the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) a few weeks after my orientation week, I found a place where I can be a part of something bigger. I began volunteering and pretty soon applied for a part-time position in the union, where I began to engage students and help with event planning. Now, as an executive, I can see a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into representing over 14,000 students and providing them with campaigns, services, and events that work for them.

There is so much at stake as students now see the low level of support for students from a government whose platform was supposed to be “for the people.” I ask the question: are they really?

I read a recent Varsity Comment piece on how the UTM Campus Conservatives are somehow the “official opposition to the UTMSU.” The writer went after issues between UTM’s student newspaper The Medium and the UTMSU, seemingly failing — or choosing not to — understand that both parties have addressed their recent behaviour, instead loosely clinging on to misguided attacks in a desperate cry for attention.  

After scratching my head from reading the piece and coming to the conclusion that some people enjoy altering reality under the guise of pretending to care, I began reading old articles about student organizations and how student unions lobbied the government in the past.

I came across an article in The Charlatan, Carleton University’s student newspaper, from March 2009. It exposed how the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association allegedly led meetings and trainings for Campus Conservatives to take over their student unions. Leaked documents from a workshop at the University of Waterloo on WikiLeaks showed how Conservative students were told to create front clubs like “Campus Coalition for Liberty” to defend free speech agendas and  lobby for funds

Reading this, I felt immediately that history was simply repeating itself. It’s not unheard of for Conservative chapters on campuses to wish to remove political activism from student union organizing.

What we see is that Doug Ford and the PC government’s agenda with the “Student Choice Initiative” is precisely meant to attack student organizing and autonomy. Why? Because the government fears student unions and student organizations when we become political. We create platforms for students to assemble, to organize, and to challenge. Whether university administrations or governments, student unions have been there to fight those that stand in the way of student interests.

Students should always demand to see better from their student unions. I was lucky enough to join my union and feel inspired by the work and leadership of the executive when I was in first year. Victories are important, and I saw them in abundance over the 2016–2017 academic year. Student unions must always work to build on strong advocacy efforts to achieve a better and more inclusive campus environment.

For instance, the UTMSU got rid of the $35 exam remark fee, introduced free menstrual products on campus — becoming the first U of T campus to do so — extended the credit/no credit policy to the last day of classes, successfully lobbied for a direct transit line from Brampton to UTM, and brought in gender-neutral washrooms on campus. This was a student union at work.

Last month, the UTMSU saw a huge victory with our course retake policy being approved by Governing Council, one that was seven years in the making. This was achieved by the student union remaining true to its objectives for fairness in academic policies. Thinking and believing that students deserve more and better is the essence of being political, and must be how we reach those goals.

Some of our goals are lofty, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be achieved. We must yearn for better. Our lives are inherently political because there are decisions being made for us. If being political is how we win, then student unions must stay political. If they aren’t, students must organize and make them that way.

Atif Abdullah is a third-year Computer Science student at UTM. He is the Vice-President External of the UTMSU.

UTMSU Board of Directors votes to increase student levies

Union fee to increase by 2.3 per cent, U-Pass fees to increase by 7.5 per cent

UTMSU Board of Directors votes to increase student levies

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) Board of Directors voted on January 23 to increase student levies.

The meeting began with reports from the executives on what they had done in the past month. Vice-President University Affairs Andres Posada announced the approval of the UTMSU’s proposed Course Retake Policy, which passed last week at a Governing Council meeting. The Course Retake Policy would allow students to use one repeated course in their GPA.

Vice-President Equity Leena Arbaji reported on the UTMSU’s newly opened Food Centre, which provides access to food for food-insecure students.

Student levy increases

The board then turned its attention toward proposals about increasing student levies for services provided by the UTMSU, such as the UTMSU’s Food Bank, Erindale College Speciality Emergency Response Team (ECSpeRT), the UTMSU’s Student Refugee Program, the Mississauga Transit U-Pass, Student Societies, and Academic Societies.

All the increases passed, meaning that in total UTMSU members will be paying at least $9.14 more per session, pending UTM Campus Council approval.

According to Munib Sajjad, Executive Director of the UTMSU, these fees are “like a membership fee that everyone pays into for obviously overall operations. Everything is covered from the membership fee.”

The UTMSU board approved a student society fee increase from $14.86 per student per semester to $15.20. It also approved an academic society fee increase from $1.08 to $1.10 — which marks an increase of 2.3 per cent each.

The board approved increases of the same rate for the UTMSU’s food bank fee, student refugee program fee, and ECSpeRT fee.

The food bank fee has therefore increased from $0.59 to $0.60, while the student refugee program increased from $1.16 to $1.19, and the ECSpeRT fee increased from $0.56 to $0.57 per student per semester.

The next item consisted of a levy increase to the UTMSU’s Mississauga Transit U-Pass, which allows all UTM students universal access to the MiWay transit. The U-Pass is based on a contract between the UTMSU and the City of Mississauga.

The board approved a 7.5 per cent increase for the fall-winter U-Pass fee, from $116.40 to $125.13 per student per semester, and a 6.5 per cent increase in the summer U-Pass fee, from $154.50 to $164.54.

“This [raise] also includes some of the administrative fees we have to take on by hiring about 16 students and helping pay for a U-Pass coordinator,” explained Sajjad.

The motion passed, marking the end of all student levy increases.

Health & Dental plan, coalition against Premier Ford’s postsecondary changes

Following the levy increases, the board voted to form a Health and Dental Ad-Hoc Committee to develop a health and dental plan for UTM students.

This comes as the UTMSU voted to separate from the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) last year. UTM students previously paid a fee to the UTSU to administer its Health & Dental Plan.

Division I Director Sheri Hijazi, Division II Director Valentino Gomes, and Division III Director Zeina Jamaleddine were elected to the committee.

The room then discussed a motion proposed by Vice-President External Atif Abdullah’s motion to establish a coalition to combat the changes to postsecondary education funding announced by the provincial government on January 17.

The coalition would involve student unions, labour unions, student organizations, faculty associations, and community groups.

Abdullah’s proposal maintained that the announcement was a “direct assault on student unions [and] their autonomy” and jeopardized many student union services “such as Clubs funding, Universal Transit Pass Programs, [and] Health and Dental Insurance.”

“With [the provincial government’s] decision, every student will be impeached,” said Abdullah. “If it’s not OSAP, then it’s a club or society. If it’s not that, then you’re an international student and your tuition could shoot up because the university has to make up its lost funding from somewhere.”

“We don’t want you folks to be scared,” said Nagata. “We want you folks to be angry and excited [for] what is to come.”

With the passing of Abdullah’s motion, the meeting adjourned.

The UTMSU will present the approved levy changes to the UTM Campus Council at its meeting next Wednesday, January 30.

UTMSU, The Medium: learn to co-exist

Student government and media must do better for campus democracy to function

UTMSU, <i>The Medium</i>: learn to co-exist

Recently, there has been a wave of controversies surrounding student union and media relations across U of T campuses. In December, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union removed Varsity reporters from a meeting for live-tweeting after attempting to block them from doing so, while the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) moved to control media access to meetings. The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) condemned the SCSU’s actions as abrogations of the free press. 

Unfortunately, UTM has not been unaffected by this trend. After the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTMSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) last November, UTM’s student paper, The Medium, was accused by UTMSU Vice-President External Atif Abdullah of “corner[ing] and harass[ing] a part-time staff member” for information. 

The paper responded by publishing a series of opinion pieces that denied these allegations and criticized the UTMSU’s anti-press behaviour. The paper’s Managing Editor, Alicia Boatto, claimed that Abdullah attempted to block its access to public student events following the AGM incident.

Freedom of the press is a necessary condition for democracy to function, and any kind of restrictions can put that freedom at jeopardy. Governing bodies such as student unions are kept in check and the general public is kept informed through independent media outlets that are free of external interests or pressures. When student unions restrict the media’s access to meetings, they are weakening their own accountability. Student unions should realize that student journalists are simply fulfilling their responsibilities to the student body. 

The Medium, which pointed out the UTMSU’s policy of restricting communication with the press to email only, is justified in its criticism. Student unions should be open to answering inquiries from the media in every conventional capacity, including in person, and at all times. 

I should disclose that I have written several times for The Medium’s News section and have faced barriers when student union members do not respond to emails on time. Whether they choose to offer comments or not, the UTMSU has to present some response to inquiries on a regular basis so that articles can be both informative and accurate.

Interestingly, amid this debacle, The Medium also offered Abdullah a chance to explain his accusations. Abdullah responded by accusing the paper of “poor journalistic integrity” and inaccurate news coverage. 

While his perspective does not excuse his behaviour, it is also true that The Medium needs to be held to higher standards. Personally, I have noticed that the quality of the newspaper has dwindled in the past two years, and as both a reader and contributor, I agree that the number of inaccuracies have increased. While speed is essential for news coverage, it should never compromise accuracy. 

Furthermore, The Medium’s handling of its dispute with the UTMSU is questionable, especially as it pertains to journalistic ethics. The CAJ clearly states that, “We lose our credibility as fair observers if we write opinion pieces about subjects we also cover as reporters.” The News Editor at The Medium, Ali Taha, was one of the masthead members whose opinion on the dispute was published, even though he covers the UTMSU as a reporter. Furthermore, the dispute, where it concerns the UTMSU AGM, specifically focuses on him and Abdullah. 

Clearly, The Medium has a conflict of interest in this issue. In order to remain fair and credible, news reporters should strictly refrain from publicly extending any personal opinions on topics that they cover. Such behaviour casts doubt on the integrity of the newspaper as a whole and risks compromising students’ trust in media.

The Medium would do well to better organize its opinion pages. First off, it must keep a clear-cut separation between news and opinion. Furthermore, standard opinion pieces about student politics should come only from the students, while masthead opinions should be strictly published as editorials. Strangely, Taha’s opinion piece was published as a letter to the editor, which is traditionally reserved for the thoughts of readers.

Both the UTMSU and The Medium are organizations that exist to provide services for their students. As such, they are accountable to the student body. Rather than behave defensively and hostilely toward each other, both should embrace criticism and value self-improvement. That is what it means to be a government and media in the face of routine disapproval. 

To the UTMSU and The Medium: learn to co-exist. Student democracy at UTM depends on it.

Sharmeen Abedi is a fourth-year Criminology, Sociology, and English student at UTM. She is The Varsity’s UTM Affairs Columnist.

Disclosure: Abedi was a staff writer for The Medium in the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 academic years.  

UTM Campus Conservatives: UTMSU’s official opposition

Group’s criticisms keep accountability, student democracy alive

UTM Campus Conservatives: UTMSU’s official opposition

When I was recently asked what the UTM Campus Conservatives (UTMCC) do on campus, I answered that it is the official opposition to the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU).

I mean this figuratively: over the past academic year, the UTMCC, above all other clubs and societies on campus, has been the loudest source of valid criticism of the UTMSU. 

I must disclose that I am not affiliated with any political party or ideology. I’ve come to the above conclusion as an observer of the interactions between three campus actors: the UTMCC, the UTMSU, and UTM’s student newspaper, The Medium.

Let’s start with last October. Philip Power, founder and former president of the UTMCC, shared a Daily Wire article on Facebook, commending it for exposing “the blatant Political bias of the UTMSU.” The same story was covered by The Medium. Allegedly, the UTMSU offered free burgers in exchange for signatures on a petition denouncing the Ontario Progressive Conservative’s minimum wage freeze.  

However, the fact that the UTMSU would attempt to manipulate students against any political party is reprehensible and contrary to its mandate. It ought to be a non-partisan representative of all students, regardless of political affiliation. 

In November, Carol Dinno, Vice-President of the UTMCC, scolded the UTMSU for raising executive salaries. Dinno wrote on Facebook, “I can guarantee that these raises are in no way earned nor are they democratic.” While the question of the raises being “earned” is up for debate, I agree that the way in which the UTMSU procured them was unwarranted: students were not consulted on how much of their money was going to be put toward these raises.

Meanwhile, The Medium recently published a series of critical articles against the UTMSU. Alicia Boatto, the paper’s Managing Editor, wrote an opinion piece explaining that student unions across all three U of T campuses have been actively hostile to the freedom of the student press. This includes the UTMSU’s recent antagonism toward The Medium’s journalists.

Former UTMCC president Michael Lo Giudice shared and reiterated the sentiment of Boatto’s piece. He pointed out a lack of student awareness regarding funding for the executives’ significant salaries and claimed that the executives were behaving like “campus dictators.”  

UTMSU Vice-President External Atif Abdullah, who has been highly responsive to The Medium’s critical coverage of the UTMSU, dismissed Boatto’s article as a “bunch of lies” in a Facebook comment. He wrote a letter to the editor responding to Boatto’s article, accusing The Medium of “subjective journalism.” He made the case that the paper should be held to the “same standards of accountability as the UTMSU.” 

After The Medium’s News Editor Ali Taha wrote an opinion piece in response to Abdullah’s letter, UTMCC Treasurer Yousuf Farhan shared Taha’s piece and tagged UTMSU President Felipe Nagata and Abdullah in his post. Abdullah deflected by alleging that The Medium “manipulated” its staff’s work and wrote that he was “not going to continue this bickering.”

Abdullah has failed to understand that the UTMSU is not the same sort of actor as The Medium when it comes to student democracy. The former is held accountable by the latter, and not the other way around. There is no question that The Medium should have complete freedom and independence when it comes to coverage of student politics, so long as it is unbiased and does its due diligence. However, if the paper was to abide by the UTMSU’s rules, journalistic integrity would be compromised. 

When it comes to criticism of the UTMSU, a distinction must be drawn between the role of The Medium and the UTMCC. It is inherently the responsibility of the paper to hold its student union accountable and keep the student body informed about how its money is being spent. However, it is obligated to do so ‘neutrally.’ 

The UTMCC has no such obligation, mandate, or limitation. In fact, the UTMCC focuses on community engagement and service provision that has little to do with student union politics. The fact that it chooses to take on the responsibility of holding the UTMSU accountable as a campus group, unlike most other individual students or student groups, means that it is the only existing student opposition on campus. 

Furthermore, in continually defending The Medium, the UTMCC proves itself to be a leading proponent of free speech and student democracy at UTM. This is why the voice of the UTMCC is so crucial. The executives are bombastic and unapologetic when it comes to criticizing the wrongdoings of the UTMSU, and they do so without fear of repercussion.

I don’t advocate for the UTMCC as a replacement for the UTMSU. In fact, it is unfortunate that we have arrived at a point where our student union is being criticized for pushing an ideological agenda. After all, they should not have one to begin with. 

Students of all political affiliations should have a strong, active group with which they can identify, whether it be the UTMCC or the Young Liberals. But our students’ union should be non-partisan and representative of all students. Hopefully, the UTMCC’s role as a force of opposition and accountability pushes the UTMSU toward this end. 

Mduduzi Mhlanga is a third-year Political Science student at UTM.

Disclosure: Mhlanga ran in the 2017 UTMSU elections. 

Editor’s Note (January 29): Mhlanga publicly announced his campaign for election to the Campus Affairs Committee of the UTM Campus Council following the publication of this article. Though Mhlanga is not officially affiliated with the UTMCC, he was endorsed by the UTMCC following his election announcement.