Many choices in coming byelection

Students choose new TRUSU student representatives in polls Oct. 16 and 17

Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω

TRUSU representatives Dylan Robinson, Trad Bahabri and staff member Kaitlin Clement were in attendance at the TRUSU by-election all-candidates forum on Oct. 10. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

TRUSU representatives Dylan Robinson, Trad Bahabri and staff member Kaitlin Clement were in attendance at the TRUSU byelection all-candidates forum on Oct. 10. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Nominations for the TRUSU byelection closed on Oct. 9, with ten candidates for the director-at-large and two for the graduate students’ representative.

Both TRUSU president Dylan Robinson and executive director Nathan Lane said ten nominations was extremely high for one position, especially for a byelection.

In the spring elections, TRUSU might have 40 candidates in total for its 13 positions.

Seven of the 10 director-at-large candidates and one of the graduate students’ representative candidates attended the all -candidates forum on Oct. 10.

There was a large international student presence among the director-at-large candidates with a couple lobbying for lower international student fees.

“When I sat down and talked to my friends I saw that how much I paid was a huge difference,” said Akinmodiro Fadekemi, one of the ten candidates for director-at-large.

When asked if fellow international students shared her concerns Fadekemi said many are unhappy with the price of international student fees.

Sunanda Chowdhury, another director-at-large candidate, also named international student fees as a key concern she wants to address, while candidate Charlotte Nyungou Tibia cited overall fee increases as a concern.

“I don’t want to promise students that we can decrease fees but that we can work towards it,” Tibia said.

Candidate Meshari Alanazi is campaigning for longer hours in the cafeteria, a reduction in parking fees and a 24/7 study area for students.

Candidates Ajay Borasi and James Maraun share a concern for TRU being characteristic of a commuter college, with very little campus life outside of class. They would like to see that change.

The electoral committee asked the candidates what they think makes a good director-at-large and what they think the role of a director-at-large is, which spawned answers including being a good listener, being optimistic and being responsible.

Sabina Donnelly was the sole graduate students’ representative candidate in attendance. Donnelly has been a student at TRU since 2006 and is now doing her masters in environmental science.

“The grad programs are quite young, and they are growing and having growing pains,” she said.

Grad students face very different issues, depending on their program, she said, but she did highlight funding as one of the key concerns.

The electoral committee asked Donnelly how she would build community with the grad students, given that the grad representative position is new.

She said she hopes to see some kind of a society formed so issues can be addressed collectively.

The gallery was mostly TRUSU representatives, including Robinson, vice president external Leif Douglas, vice president finance Trad Bahabri, vice president internal Will George, membership development coordinator Natalie Reisle and research coordinator Alex McLellan.

Polling will take place on Oct. 16 and 17. Full biographies of all the candidates will be made available by TRUSU.