Ammara Wasim, Vice-President Communications of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), is the new Vice-President Campus Life of the UTSU.
Wasim was appointed at an emergency meeting of the UTSU’s Board of Directors on December 29. She replaces Stuart Norton, whose resignation was announced two weeks prior in a statement posted on Facebook.
The selection process was triggered when Norton announced his intent to resign, effective December 31, at a closed session of the board on December 12. A statement posted on the union’s Facebook page said that his departure was for personal reasons, requesting that his privacy be respected.
Wasim, a fifth-year Visual Studies student in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, said that “it’s a bit easier to jump right in to the position given my experience working closely with the UTSU while I’ve been an executive for the past two years in the [MSA].”
Wasim believes that her experience in the MSA will be advantageous to her new position, “especially when it comes to understanding the fundraising/financial responsibilities that come with student clubs,” she wrote.
Her plan for the rest of the year includes making sure there are no interruptions or disturbances to the operations of clubs, marketing the events of the Campus Life commission that she chairs as part of her executive portfolio, and helping clubs meet their budgeting goals.
Norton wrote that he was “grateful to the students that elected [him] to serve in this role for the past eight months.”
“I’m a strong believer that, for many students, clubs and campus groups form the core of their community,” wrote Norton. “I wish my team the best of luck for the rest of the term. I’ll miss them but I know that they’ll make me proud.”
Wasim’s appointment is the second time the board has had to fill a vacant executive position this academic year, after former Vice-President University Affairs Carina Zhang resigned in early September, also for personal reasons. Zhang was later replaced in late November by Adrian Huntelar, who had served up to that point as one of the board’s General Equity Directors.
The board decided to suspend Bylaw X(5)(b)(ii) in the case of Norton’s resignation to allow for a shortened application period of 10 days, from December 16–26. The bylaws state that if the vacancy occurs after August 1 or once the Fall Session General Elections process has begun, “the Executive Committee shall post the vacant position for no less than twenty (20) days, conduct an interview process and select no less than two (2) candidates to send to the Board of Directors for election.”
The bylaw was suspended due to the late notice of the resignation and the need to have a Vice-President Campus Life in time for the Winter Week of Welcome, a critical component of the portfolio. The Winter Week of Welcome will take place from January 15–19 and is composed of multiple campus-wide student life activities.
Norton won his union post in the March elections on the Demand Better slate, alongside UTSU President Mathias Memmel and three other vice-presidents. Prior to his role on the union, he served as Co-President of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC), and campaigned on improving funding of clubs.