Unprecedented number of women join TRUSU
Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω
The Your Vote = Your Voice slate swept the 2014/2015 TRUSU general election. The results were announced on March 27 after two days of voting.
Throughout their campaign, Your Vote = Your Voice boasted an unprecedented number of female and LGBTQ candidates. Now re-elected VP external, Leif Douglass, said the female dominated slate with which he ran, was unheard of in TRUSU’s history. They also had representation from several faculties across campus, including arts, science, nursing and business.
“We are very proud of that diversity and we think we are very representative of the campus,” said newly re-elected president Dylan Robinson at the March 25 all candidates forum.
Of the 13 candidates on the slate, five are new to the student union. Robinson said the mix will ensure new perspectives are represented and called it an “injecting of fresh blood into TRUSU.”
Newly elected VP internal Melissa Gordon, women’s rep Paige Bernard and directors-at-large Cameron Staff, Lahana Ghosh and Taylor Gluska all face their first term as board members.
Fifteen per cent of eligible voters participated, doubling last year’s 7.5 per cent voter turnout and bringing the highest turnout since 2011.
“We think that’s a step in the right direction,” Robinson said. “Of course, there is always room for improvement and we are always going to keep striving to engage more of the membership in the election.”
Robinson nabbed 61 per cent of the vote, facing his third term on the TRUSU board of directors and his second as president.
“I’m very grateful that the students, the members of TRUSU, have put their trust in me,” he said. “I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to continuing to provide great advocacy, services and entertainment as a part of TRUSU.”
Abdullah Abalkhail, Blessing Chiduuro, Pooyan Sijani and Feroz Shah ran as a team in opposition to Your Vote = Your Voice, and showed a strong interest in representing international student concerns at the all candidates forum. Their main goals included making health and dental coverage available for international students, reducing parking fees, increasing study space hours and hosting more winter events.
“No matter who wins, whoever goes into the positions, everyone will work shoulder to shoulder to improve this university even more,” Sijani said at the March 25 all candidates forum.
Robinson said his slate agreed with a number of the opposition’s platform points and will “steal” some ideas, in particular their concerns about study space. Although the computer labs in Old Main are open 24 hours a day, no general study space is open past 9 p.m.
“That’s going to be something we are going to work on in the next year,” Robinson said.
Other goals include improving campus transportation, including better parking options and bus schedules, creating an emergency bursary for students facing a crisis, increasing available funding for student initiatives and encouraging the change of the international student fee payment from a flat fee to a per-credit rate.
Highest on their priority list, however, will be adding international students to the TRUSU health and dental plan. They plan to hold a referendum to give international students the option to join the plan. Robinson said it will also benefit domestic students because adding more students to the plan will make it more affordable.
“That’s going to be something we are going to be focusing on as soon as we take off, how we can make that happen,” he said.
The newly elected board will take office May 1.