Candidate in focus: Saprina Chandi, women’s representative

For the position of women’s representative, the candidates are Emiko Ohama and Saprina Chandi. According to the TRUSU website, the women’s representative ensures that the valuable perspectives and interests of women are represented on the Board of Directors. Chandi is a third-year bachelor of social work student and Ohama studies in the faculty of arts. We interviewed them both on their views about women’s status in the modern world, TRU’s sexual assault policy and their plans after being elected.

Saprina Chandi, women’s representative candidate with the Progressive Advocates slate. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

Biggest issues faced by women today

Chandi thinks that the biggest issues faced by women today are systemic issues that result in structural oppression.

“Women face gaps in society because of their gender. For example the wage gap, women’s experiences in the workplace and social expectations of women,” Chandi said. She commented on U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, calling it discriminatory towards women and sexist. She went on to say that his actions have “unified women and men all around the world” and gave Women’s Day a positive energy to it.

Representing women at TRU

Chandi emphasized working on TRU’s sexual violence policy and creating a safe space for women and sexual assault victims.

“There are several resources on campus – wellness centre, counseling services to help victims of assault, but I feel it is still not enough.”

Chandi would like to create a women’s centre on campus to offer resources and support sessions or to simply hang out at. She would like to interact with all the affected people and have a holistic approach.

Sexual assault policy

Chandi said she believes in and trusts the coming policy because it’s being drafted in collaboration with a variety of people. She said that a lot of important people at TRU were involved in the drafting of the policy, like experts in sexual violence, professors, TRUSU and many more.

How has previous experience prepared you for this position?

Chandi shared varied experiences of her community involvement and how it has helped her gain tangible skills to work with people.

“The different settings that I have been exposed to, and the different populations, has given me a unique perspective, and understanding that a woman’s experience is shaped by her gender.”

Chandi has worked for four years as a restorative justice facilitator, which focuses on dispute resolution in a holistic and non-punitive manner. She said this experience has helped her be more open and genuinely listen to other people’s experiences and understand them.

Chandi took several courses at TRU in social work that focused on working with oppressed communities and persons. She also took social policy and women’s rights classes. This has helped her gain a broad understanding of what it would mean to be a women’s representative for TRUSU.