Controversial clubs deserve funding too

Having an unpopular opinion shouldn’t mean being denied student union recognition

Controversial clubs deserve funding too

At the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) debate on March 21, the candidates for Vice-President Campus Life — Yolanda Alfaro of the Compass slate and Spencer Robertson, who ran as an independent — were asked about their positions on the UTSU funding clubs that are considered ‘controversial.’ The example given was Students for Life, a pro-life group known for its graphic signs and forthright, provocative campus demonstrations.

Alfaro, who was ultimately elected to the position, gave what seemed like a perfectly sensible response. She insisted that, if a decision were made to deny funding, that decision would not be about discriminating against people’s beliefs, but rather it would have more to do with student safety.

The funding of pro-life groups on campus is an issue that has been brought before the courts. Earlier this year, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union was in court facing a lawsuit by three members of UTM Students for Life. Similar suits were brought by pro-life groups at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a ‘men’s issues’ group at Ryerson University. Another lawsuit with a pro-life group was previously settled in favour of the Ryerson Students’ Union in 2016.

Even if the UTSU does not have a legal obligation to fund certain provocative, controversial, or unpopular clubs, it should adopt a policy that allows for a wide range of views to be supported as clubs on campus. This is the case even if those views are controversial or only held by a minority of students.

On its face, Alfaro’s response at the debate was the right one. She made the crucial distinction between groups that hold unpopular beliefs and groups that represent a threat to student safety. Groups that incite or threaten violence, or that have openly discriminatory or hateful agendas that target marginalized populations, should not get funding. The UTSU — and by extension, all students — should not be involved in sustaining those types of clubs on campus.

But when I reached out for Alfaro for comment, she blurred that distinction to the point of nonexistence. While she provided that her “stance is not quite directed towards controversial clubs, because not everyone would share the same idea of ‘controversial’ as me,” that caveat didn’t hold up. Of Students for Life, she said, “When demonstrations start happening on campus that can be triggering to folks who just want to feel safe walking to class, that’s where I disagree.”

Alfaro is implying that coming into contact with Students for Life can be damaging to students’ safety or wellbeing. Given that Students for Life poses no physical threat to safety, however, the source of concern stems from the group’s expression of its pro-life views, which are upsetting to many students.

Alfaro’s argument therefore blurs the crucial line between ‘controversial’ and ‘harmful,’ because it suggests that the articulation of a position itself can pose a threat to student safety if the view is offensive enough. While we need to be sensitive to the reality that some students may be adversely affected by a group like Students for Life, not recognizing or funding a group for that reason sets a dangerous precedent.

As long as the UTSU is in the business of supporting political and advocacy groups, being considered ‘controversial’ should not be a barrier to funding. First and foremost, there is the problem that Alfaro herself recognized: the UTSU should not be put in charge of deciding exactly what views students can handle being exposed to. Being the arbiter of political opinions on campus is beyond the VP’s job description, and giving the UTSU the ability to deny funding based on those opinions is incompatible with open discourse.

The perceived broad unpopularity of a group or the position it represents should not be a barrier to funding either. Even if the number of people who support Students for Life is dwarfed by the number of people who oppose it, that shouldn’t be a reason to deny the group funding. Broad support or interest is just not something we typically expect of our student clubs. There is already a minimum amount of popularity that a prospective club needs to have before it is recognized in the first place: the UTSU mandates that a club has a membership list of at least 30 people to qualify for even the minimum level of funding. Attracting interest that far exceeds the names on that list should simply not be a consideration as far as recognition or funding goes.

Finally, and most importantly, we ought to acknowledge that a diverse student body is bound to have a diverse set of beliefs, and that a wide variety of those beliefs ought to be given a platform even if many of us find some of those beliefs disagreeable.

It doesn’t help to pretend that abortion is no longer a contentious issue, either on campus or in Canadian society more broadly. Any issue so complex is bound to generate a huge array of differing views that goes way beyond the ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’ dichotomy. And we can see in politics that the question is still open, even if we would prefer it settled: leaders of major parties in both the upcoming provincial and federal elections are known to have pro-life views and voting records.

Open and equal discourse is constructive discourse, and constructive discourse is a goal worth striving for. This means protecting the distinction between ‘harmful’ and ‘controversial.’ Clubs that threaten the physical safety of students are one thing. But ‘controversial’ is in the eye of the beholder, and we should make sure that there is room on campus for disagreeable and unpopular views, as well as for the students and clubs that promote them.

Zach Rosen is a second-year student at Trinity College studying History and Philosophy. He is The Varsity’s Current Affairs Columnist.

U-Pass referendum fails

65.6 per cent of votes against establishing transit pass

U-Pass referendum fails

The referendum to establish a $280 per semester U-Pass transit fee for undergraduate UTSG students has failed to pass. A total of 12,428 students voted in the referendum, 306 of whom abstained. Of those who voted ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ 7,946 students — 65.6 per cent — voted against the proposed pass, and 4,176 students — 34.4 per cent — voted for it.

If passed, the TTC would have established a semesterly universal transit pass. The UTSU Board of Directors would have been able to increase the fee by up to five per cent per year to cover rising administrative and transit costs, up to $322.50 per session.

The U-Pass would not have had an opt-out option except for those students whose needs were protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code and restricted their ability to use transit.

“The outcome of the referendum is a strong indication that a UPASS without opt-out provisions for those students living near campus is not sellable,” said University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) President Mathias Memmel in an email to The Varsity. “Transit and housing remain significant barriers to affordable and accessible post-secondary education for our diverse student body.”

“We look forward to working constructively with both provincial parties and City Council in advance of the upcoming election. We also hope to continue our productive conversations with the TTC Board,” he added. 

Donald Wang, speaking on behalf of a ‘no’ campaign against the pass, wrote to The Varsity that it’s clear students do want a U-Pass, but not in this form. “The U-Pass, proposed and pursued with the best of intention by a group of student leaders, aimed to bring cheaper transportation to all students. However, in this referendum, the student body has spoken loud and clear – the U-Pass in its current form is unacceptable.”

“These election results show that it can’t just be subsidization of Toronto residents. The students want options to opt-out and the integration of the GO transit system. A better approach would see greater consultation and a slower, more thorough process. I hope the UTSU executives, current and incoming, are able to listen and advocate for the best of our collective student body.”

Speaking on behalf of U-Commute, which ran a ‘yes’ campaign, U of T student Aidan Swirsky told The Varsity, “We respect students’ decision, which was heard loud and clear, and hope the newly elected UTSU will build off this result and address the many criticisms heard during this cycle and throughout the year, if they wish to further explore the U-Pass.”

Compass slate sweeps UTSU executive elections

Elections see 25.3 per cent turnout, a significant increase from previous years

Compass slate sweeps UTSU executive elections

UTSU elections results were released shortly after 6:00 pm on March 28, revealing a clean sweep by the Compass slate of all executive positions. Of the 50,405 students eligible to vote, 12,734 did, a 25.3 per cent turnout. The majority of votes in all races were abstentions, with the exception of Nursing Director.

President-elect Anne Boucher received 2,376 votes; her opponent, Michelle Mabira, received 1,191. In this race, 9,167 voters — 72 per cent — abstained.

Boucher said she was “beyond grateful” upon hearing the results. “I’m so excited to begin, especially with the amazing team I’ll have with me. You probably hear this year after year — but expect change, because we’ll work our butts off.”

Vice-President Internal-elect Tyler Biswurm was elected with 1,946 votes; his opponent, 🅱️oundless’ Alyy Patel, received 899. There were 9,889 abstentions, constituting 77.7 per cent of voters.

The VP Campus Life race saw winner Yolanda Alfaro receive 1,668 votes and independent opponent Spencer Robertson take 1,140, with 9,926 abstentions.

VP Professional Faculties-elect Yasmine El Sanyoura received 535 votes to 🅱️oundless’ Gallop Fan’s 310, with 3,280 abstentions.

The three executive positions were uncontested and received over 70 per cent abstentions. VP University Affairs-elect Joshua Grondin won with 2,390 votes for and 422 votes against. VP External-elect Yuli Liu received 2,990 ‘yes’ votes and 693 ‘no’ votes. Ammara Wasim, VP Equity-elect, received 2,597 votes in favour and 936 against.

In addition to sweeping the executive positions, all Compass candidates were elected except Tiffany Tiu. Tiu, who ran for one of two Professional Faculty Director at-large positions, lost to fellow Compass candidate Christopher Dryden and independent candidate Virginia Wong.

Michelle Mabira declined The Varsity‘s request for comment.

Following week of campaigning, UTSU elections voting begins

New board to be elected by Wednesday

Following week of campaigning, UTSU elections voting begins

The voting period for University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) elections begins Monday and will continue until Wednesday, March 28 at 6:00 pm. Candidates have been campaigning since Monday, March 19, including 11 executive hopefuls who participated in the UTSU’s advocacy operations debate and The Varsity’s debate for the President and Vice-President Internal candidates.

This year’s UTSU elections have seen the lowest participation among candidates in recent memory. Only seven races are contested, one more than the six previously reported by The Varsity following the reinstatement of Compass Professional Faculty Director at-large candidate Christopher Dryden. There have been no demerit points awarded to any candidate.

For comparison, last year’s UTSU election featured four slates, three of which ran executive candidates for every position. Over 600 demerit points were awarded.

CRO and ERC rulings

Dryden was previously disqualified for not attending the mandatory All-Candidates Meeting. He informed the elections’ Chief Returning Officer (CRO), Atoofa Arshad, via email that Anne Boucher, Compass’ presidential candidate, would be his representative at the meeting. He did not, however, sign the form provided in his nomination package to authorize Boucher as his representative. The CRO had no record of Dryden’s attendance at the meeting, and he was disqualified from the race.

Arshad’s decision was appealed to the Elections and Referenda Committee, and Dryden was reinstated as a candidate on the basis that, while not submitting the form was “negligent,” he did provide notice to the CRO 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Other CRO rulings arose from complaints of precampaigning against the Compass slate. A post on the r/UofT subreddit disclosed the names of Compass’ seven executive candidates and encouraged students to vote for them. The post was quickly removed by one of the subreddit’s moderators. The CRO ruled that she had reason to believe the post was created by a third party, and no demerit points were awarded.

Another complaint was made against Boucher, who responded to the aforementioned Reddit post using her own account, which is flaired on the subreddit as “UTSU VP External.” The complaint stated that Boucher had violated P.1 of the Elections and Procedures Code, “Benefits Acquired by Virtue of Office,” by making her campaign seem more legitimate due to the flair. The CRO ruled that the flair did not give Boucher a fair advantage and noted that it has since been changed to “Hopefully Host of Spaghetti Day.”

The CRO also received a complaint against Emmanuela Alimlim, a non-arm’s length party to independent presidential candidate Michelle Mabira. The complaint alleged that Alimlim was seen taking posters, both campaign and non-campaign-related, off of a board in Sidney Smith Hall and replacing them with posters promoting Mabira. Arshad ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to issue demerits.

The Varsity’s President and VP Internal Debate

The Varsity held a debate for President and Vice-President Internal candidates on March 23.

The debate was moderated by The Varsity’s Deputy News Editor, Aidan Currie, and Associate News Editor Josie Kao. The participants included Boucher, Mabira, Compass VP Internal candidate Tyler Biswurm, and 🅱️oundless VP Internal candidate Alyy Patel.

The debate touched on topics ranging from plans for the Student Commons to board attendance records to the future of UTSU’s relationship with the University of Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU).

When asked about the future of the Student Commons, Biswurm said that he wanted to “caution everyone against thinking that just because we have a plan, that we have a stable future.” He added that it is vital to follow the plan laid out by this year’s UTSU executive and not propose ideas that are “completely fiscally irresponsible,” referencing the example of a bar in the Student Commons, an idea proposed by his opponent, Patel.

In response, Patel noted that U of T student bar Suds has never gone into a deficit, so her plan is feasible. She further challenged Biswurm on his experience. “I think it’s most important to bring someone into office that has experience with budgeting… I noticed in your candidate statement that you oversaw your high school’s budget, and that’s really cute,” she said.

“It’s not about being a candidate on paper,” responded Biswurm. “It’s about being a candidate in person… We’ve seen a past history of executives who are extremely irresponsible despite the number of qualifications they are ‘supposed to have.’”

The presidential debate began with a question on the candidates’ stance on the UTSU’s membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), and whether they would support leaving it. Leaving the CFS is a move that the current UTSU executive has endorsed.

Boucher answered by saying that the CFS is “corrupt” and that it “weaponizes equity.” She maintained her platform point of supporting a move to leave the CFS.

In contrast, Mabira maintained that she would “stay impartial” on the CFS while also supporting a campaign to hold a referendum. When asked about defederation, Mabira said that she would wait to speak to those who are elected about their opinions on the subject.

During the debate, Mabira also brought up concerns that she had about the legitimacy of the UTSU’s financial statements, which she tied to an alleged conflict of interest that occurred in in 2017 between consulting company Kokobi, the UTSU, and previous UTSU staff member Robert Boissonneault.

Boucher called Mabira’s claims a “conspiracy theory,” saying that she had full confidence in the numbers provided by the UTSU.

Mabira rebutted that it was not a conspiracy theory but merely her “connecting the dots.”

“I’m not saying I don’t trust these documents,” said Mabira, “but the thing is these people have interests in it, and sometimes, your interests push you a certain way.”

She proposed hiring a third party to look at these documents, saying, “We might end up getting a third party, and the third party shows up and says the finances are good, but at the end of the day that still needs to happen.”

The debate ended with each presidential candidate being asked to say something they admired about the other.

Mabira said that she admired the slate Boucher put together. “The people that you have, especially the VPs, are very experienced and very dedicated to the work.”

Boucher said that Mabira is a “strong candidate” and “passionate” about her work. She also complimented Mabira on being willing to “stand in front of the UTSU and protest” for the Save Our Services campaign. “You need to be brave to do that,” she said.

Full-time undergraduate students at UTSG and UTM are eligible to vote in UTSU elections. Voting is exclusively online at utsu.simplyvoting.com.

The UTSU executive candidates on the issues: The Varsity’s data analysis

Most candidates endorsed the CFS’ “mission and vision” while also advocating to leave the organization

The UTSU executive candidates on the issues: <i>The Varsity</i>’s data analysis

The Varsity has conducted a survey of all 11 candidates for the seven available University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) executive positions by asking them to respond to certain issues on a scale of 0–10 or a no/yes. The executive candidates rated the union’s current social progressiveness an average of 6.8.

Almost all indicated a strong desire for the UTSU to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), with an average response of 8.4 out of 10 in favour of the union’s current efforts to leave. The Compass and 🅱️oundless slates were strongly inclined to leave the CFS, while independent presidential candidate Michelle Mabira and independent Vice-President Campus Life candidate Spencer Robertson were more neutral on the issue.


The Varsity also asked candidates to rate their endorsement of “a system of post-secondary education that is accessible to all, which is of high quality, which is nationally planned, which recognizes the legitimacy of student representation, and the validity of student rights, and whose role in society is clearly recognized and appreciated.” This is the “ultimate goal” listed on the CFS’ constitution. The data revealed that, on average, candidates rated this a 7.2.




Leave CFS: “The UTSU should increase its advocacy efforts to leave the CFS.”

Endorse CFS MS: Endorse the CFS’ mission statement.

The results of the survey also showed that, on average, the candidates favour a more cooperative relationship with the administration. Aside from its VP External candidate Yuli Liu, on average, the Compass slate said that the UTSU-administration relationship should be more cooperative. 🅱️oundless VP Professional Faculties candidate Gallop Fan also responded in favour of a close relationship with admin. Mabira, 🅱️oundless VP Internal candidate Alyy Patel, and Liu all indicated a strong desire for a more combative relationship with the administration.

With regard to position-specific issues, both presidential candidates Anne Boucher of Compass and Mabira noted that the needs of colleges, faculty organizations, student associations, and international students are of the utmost importance to the UTSU, ranking all issues a 10. They both indicated that the UTSU should not re-hire the two staff coordinator positions removed last year. On the other hand, Mabira strongly believed in the importance of a close relationship of the UTSU with the UTMSU, ranking the issue a 10; Boucher ranked it a five.

VP Internal candidates Patel and Compass candidate Tyler Biswurm both considered the attendance of Directors to Board meetings as important. Biswurm believed that 10 per cent of the union’s operating budget should go into the Student Commons, while Patel believed that 50 per cent of it should.




% of budget for Student Commons: “Percentage of the union operating budget that should go to the Student Commons.”

Importance of Directors attending board meetings: “How important is it for Directors to attend board meetings?”

VP Campus Life candidate Robertson responded that orientation is good as it is currently; Compass’ VP Campus Life candidate Yolanda Alfaro responded that orientation needs to be changed.




Uncontested Compass candidates Ammara Wasim, VP Equity candidate; Liu; and Joshua Grondin, VP University Affairs; also expressed their opinions on pertinent issues detailed in the survey. Wasim neither agreed nor disagreed when asked if the UTSU has internal issues with racism, Liu slightly agreed that the proposed U-Pass fee of $280 per semester is worth the fee increase for all students, and Grondin agreed that the needs of international students should be a top priority.

Candidate breakdown

Compass has a candidate for each of the seven executive positions while 🅱️oundless is only fielding candidates for VP Internal and VP Professional Faculties.

According to the survey, most candidates are upper-year students. Boucher is in fifth year, while seven candidates are in fourth year. Liu is a third-year candidate and Biswurm and Robertson are second-year candidates.




In addition, the data revealed a pretty even distribution of the candidates from the colleges and professional faculties. There is one candidate each from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Innis College, New College, University College, and Victoria College. There are two candidates each from the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; St. Michael’s College; and Woodsworth College.




 

 

New College UTSU Directors elected in uncontested race

Sharon Ma, Manuela Zapata and Chengye Yang elected

New College UTSU Directors elected in uncontested race

New College elected its University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) directors in an uncontested race that ended on March 20. Sharon Ma, Manuela Zapata, and Chengye Yang were elected as New College’s three UTSU directors.

Ma, a third-year student majoring in Fundamental Genetics & its Applications major and double minoring in Biology and Music History & Culture, received 30 per cent of the vote with 135 votes cast. This is her second term as New College’s UTSU director, having been elected in fall 2017. She was also a member of the Accessibility, Campaigns & Advocacy, Finance, Elections & Referenda, and Executive Review committees at the UTSU during the 2017–2018 academic year.

In addition, Ma was also elected as Education & Philanthropy Commissioner receiving 81 per cent of the vote with 199 votes cast. The position was uncontested.

Zapata, a first-year Life Sciences student, received 24 per cent of the vote with 107 votes cast. She was also elected as one of two Off-Campus representatives, gaining 38 per cent of the vote with 133 votes cast. Zapata was elected as one of two first-year representatives of the New College Student Council (NCSC).

Yang is a third-year Life Sciences student and received 16 per cent of the vote with 70 votes cast. This is also Yang’s second term as New College’s UTSU director, having been elected in Fall 2017. In her candidate statement, Yang claimed that as one of New College’s UTSU directors, she aims to attend all of the UTSU and New College Student Council meetings. Yang missed enough UTSU board meetings in 2017–2018 to effectively abandon office, violating the union’s Bylaw X.

Nine per cent of the votes were spoiled with 39 votes cast. In total, 246 votes were cast in the 2018 NCSC spring election.

First UTSU executive debate focuses on advocacy initiatives

Candidates for President, VP University Affairs, VP External, and VP Equity invited to speak at Tuesday debate

First UTSU executive debate focuses on advocacy initiatives

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) held the first half of its executive debate on March 20. Centred on the union’s advocacy work, it featured candidates for the positions most concerned with student advocacy.

Debaters included the uncontested candidates for: VP University Affairs, Compass’ Joshua Grondin; VP External, Compass’ Yuli Liu; and VP Equity, Compass’ Ammara Wasim. Compass’ presidential candidate, Anne Boucher, and independent presidential candidate Michelle Mabira also debated. 

The presidential candidates

The only contested debate was for the presidential position. Boucher and Mabira debated issues ranging from staff layoffs to meeting disruptions to the union’s membership in the Canadian Federation of Students.

Both candidates pointed out that the UTSU has become unapproachable to students. Boucher is running a campaign focused on “humanizing” the UTSU; she said that the UTSU has become “corporate” in recent years and that though those years were necessary, the union must be brought back to the students.

Boucher also criticized the union for not being forthcoming with information, citing lack of clear information given on the Sandra Hudson lawsuit settlement.

In her opening statement, Mabira said, “I am running as a student activist, not a student politician.” Later, she criticized the UTSU for shutting down debate on issues such as the union’s recent service cuts, pointing to her involvement with the Save our Services, Support our Staff campaign, which has protested the UTSU at board meetings. She said that the UTSU needs to pause and engage with students.

Mabira claimed that after a Save our Services protest in which she participated during 2017 orientation, Boucher posted a picture “mocking” the participants. Boucher denied recollection of Mabira’s claim, but apologized if it did occur. 

Mabira did not support the UTSU’s decision to fire Vita Carlino and Maria Galvez, the union’s former Clubs Coordinator and Health and Dental Coordinator respectively, because she was distrustful of the financial report conducted by current UTSU President Mathias Memmel, arguing that Memmel does not have sufficient experience to be creating accurate financial reports.

If elected, Mabira said she would hire a third party to look at the union’s financials, though she reiterated that she would not immediately rehire the two staff positions until the finances had been thoroughly vetted.

Boucher, on the other hand, stated she would not consider hiring back staff. She noted that clubs funding went out ahead of schedule this year, and argued the union has “done fine” without the Clubs Coordinator position.

Another topic of the debate was the union’s efforts to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Mabira said it is “one of the most polarizing issues on campus,” and therefore she is choosing to remain neutral on the UTSU leaving CFS membership. This way, people with concerns on either side could approach her knowing that she is “going to listen to you no matter what you say.”

Boucher said that in her experience, she has found that most students are either ignorant of the CFS, or generally agree to leaving the CFS when they learn about the organization. She also argued that students who support staying in the CFS have been “poached” by the organization, and that they were not representative of the greater student body. Boucher argued that she and the union have a duty to support the majority over the minority.

The President portion of the debate exceeded past the slated 9:00 pm end time, but debate moderator and Toronto Star journalist Jaren Kerr assured those in attendance and watching online that they would continue to discuss the topics at the next debate.

The Vice-Presidential Candidates

Running for VP University Affairs, Joshua Grondin spoke about his plans to amend the credit/no credit system and improve health services at the university, especially opposing the mandatory leave policy that could remove students with mental health issues from campus without their input or knowledge.

The credit/no credit system as it currently stands does not give enough time for students to choose whether or not to use the option, said Grondin. An extension of that deadline would allow students to take courses that are “notoriously difficult” or courses that “they just find genuinely interesting. They would also be more likely to take risks with changing their programs without having to worry about being penalized for it forever.”

Grondin said that the mandatory leave policy, in its current form, does a disservice to students who were not made part of the decision. He would oppose any future policy that does not require students to be at the centre of such decisions.

Regarding how he would use his role to help students in conflict with university policies, he said he would use his connections as VP University Affairs to stand alongside student activism and work with such organizations to draft policies. He cited Silence is Violence as an organization that he hopes to work with in the future on sexual violence policy at the university.

VP Equity candidate Ammara Wasim talked about her trust in the concerns of the student body and said that if she is elected, she would listen to the complaints against the UTSU from student groups on campus and prioritize their needs and concerns. She said she would also lobby for affordable, healthy food to be provided to low-income students. 

Wasim also said she hopes to conduct an “equity audit” of services and departments at U of T to find “the gaps in those services and [try] to lobby the university to fix those gaps accordingly.”

VP External candidate Yuli Liu spoke about her views on leaving the CFS, her concerns for advocacy for international students, and her willingness to reach out in order to make change.

She said she wants to lobby for better policies for student housing and a cap on international tuition, of which there currently is none. Liu intends to seek out politicians that are willing to work with her and listen to the needs of U of T students.

“They have to view us as the first priority. I’ll send cards out, I’ll set up meetings. If they still don’t hear about us, that’s the moment when we can gather up and really respond loudly, and advocate loudly, because we have to get our problems solved,” she said.

VP Professional Faculties candidate Gallop Fan also gave a two minute introduction to the 🅱️oundless slate, which is only running two candidates. Some platform points included leaving the CFS, eliminating Wednesday classes so students can fully enjoy “Toonie Tuesdays” at Einstein Pub on College Street, and changing the official UTSU font to Comic Sans.

“Lets be honest, we’re running for the trolls,” said Fan of himself and his fellow 🅱️oundless candidate Alyy Patel. 

The President, VP Internal, VP Campus Life, VP Professional Faculties candidates will debate each other at the March 21 debate on Operations, and the relevant candidates will also debate at The Varsity’s President and VP Internal debate on Friday, March 23.

Candidates list reveals only six contested UTSU elections races

Compass slate comprise vast majority of candidates

Candidates list reveals only six contested UTSU elections races

As the UTSU 2018 spring elections campaign period begins, the official candidates list from the elections’ Chief Returning Officer (CRO) reveals that most races are uncontested, and that the vast majority of them have members from Compass slate in the running. Of the 39 candidates running for positions, 28 are from Compass, two are from 🅱️oundless, and nine are running as independents.

There are only six contested positions in the election: the executive positions of President, Vice-President Internal, VP Campus Life, and VP Professional Faculties, as well as the Innis College Director and Trinity College Director positions. Every other position has the exact number of candidates required.

Additionally, there are five positions in which there is no candidate running at all.

Christopher Dryden, one of Compass’ candidates for Professional Faculty Director at-large, was eliminated from the race for not attending the All-Candidates Meeting. Compass presidential candidate Anne Boucher said that the slate will be appealing the CRO ruling to eliminate Dryden.

Additionally, Compass’ Rotman Commerce Director candidate Mehwish Siddiqui has yet to be confirmed as a legitimate candidate in the election. Boucher expects Siddiqui will be approved.