Candidates deliver their platforms at sparsely attended All Candidates forum

by | Mar 9, 2016 | Campus News, IGNITE, North

Matthew Owczarz

Staff Reporter

All the Humber North campus and Guelph-Humber Humber Students’ Federation candidates came out to meet the voters but the electorate chose to scarf down free muffins and coffee rather than campus politics.

“I’m probably not going to vote. They’re just school elections and I’m not that involved,” said Javier Perez, 19, a civil engineering student.

“I’ve tried to engage students by dressing in a carrot suit, but students just don’t seem involved,” said Joel Caldarola, a candidate for HSF president.

Candidates for the March 7 to 11 HSF election tried to reach out to potential student voters at an All Candidates Forum on Tuesday at the North campus Student Centre.

There are four positions being contested: president, vice-president of student affairs, vice-president of student life and vice-president of student affairs for Guelph-Humber, a new executive position for the 2016 election.  Four spots on the board of directors are also open for the North campus while two spots are open for the board of directors for Guelph-Humber.

It was a civilized affair that was largely ignored by potential voters circulating through the Student Centre.

Incumbent candidate for president, Ahmed Tahir said he would promise universal transit passes (U-pass), HSF student housing and tighten down on protecting students’ rights.

Challenger Caldarola’s platform boasted “students getting more for their money” by having HSF spending become more inclusive and bringing more “transparency” into student government.

“We still need to create a culture of voting and student governance, but the students need to be educated on how important these elections really are,” said Mikki Decker, who has since been disqualified from the presidential candidacy on the grounds of failing to maintain a GPA of 70 per cent.

The vice-president of student life for both North campus and Guelph-Humber is responsible for providing students with engaging activities, creative events and clubs.

Ammar Abdul-Raheem is seeking re-election in that role and promising to “bring more events, improve food on campus and increase student job opportunities.”

Opposing is Kobi Adjei Yeboah with a platform around better promoting and informing the student body about events occurring around campus.

“I plan on bringing personality and energy to the student body to get people involved in events and clubs,” said Yeboah.

Also running is Adel Mohammed who said he has been listening to the students’ complaints and will do what’s best for the students to resolve any issues.

“I have heard repeatedly, more squat racks and platforms, later hours for the cafeteria, more events on campus and more inter-campus unity,” said Mohammed.

The vice-president of student affairs’ responsibilities include creating new services, resources and advocating on behalf of students.

Candidate for the position, Lance Constantine said he will provide more financial assistance for international students and promote mental health awareness. “My time has come. The time has come for Humber to experience change,” said Constantine.

Challenger Sugandhi Bassi said she hopes to bring good leadership to HSF with “truth, fairness, strength and kindness.”

Rostant Kanick promises to help the students by establishing healthier and cheaper food options on campus on top of expanding lab space and program resources.

Candidate Shelby Travers’ main focus is on solving accessibility issues around campus like fixing parking limitations. She will also offer healthier food alternatives and promote student concerns and achievements through monthly campaigns.

Grace Parker is running for the new vice-president of student affairs for the University of Guelph-Humber seat. Her platform focuses on increasing mental health awareness, promoting healthy, active lifestyles and on bringing the Guelph-Humber students into the Humber community.

Maja Jocson is also seeking the position with her platform based on three pillars of self-growth, collaboration and making a difference. She hopes to influence the students to find self-confidence and inner strength.

Warren Schlote said he wants to increase collaboration between student societies and student government along with keeping the current GHSA sponsored scholarships available to the students.

The board of directors is responsible for maintaining communication between HSF and students under their respective campuses. All major decisions go through their approval before anything can be put into action.

Agulefo Nneka Sophie said she believes in making students’ opinions and voices count in important decisions and wants to promote “responsiveness and inclusivity” in the HSF.

Osman Beyle said he stands for community involvement and student leadership for Humber. He said he wants to make Humber students feel more involved and better HSF’s progress towards the future.

Muhammad Gill said he will bring his student federation leadership skills in order to initiate and maintain projects for the students.

Markus Laanes said he will look out for the students best interests in making HSF be transparent and accountable to the students.

Roxanne Smith said she is running to bring accountability to HSF and more inclusivity and advocacy for the students.

Emma Kelly is seeking to resume her responsibilities on the board of directors for Guelph-Humber. She said she will work on resolving challenges, obtaining student feedback and bringing continuity to the board.

Despite the passion from the candidates, student interest in 2016 elections was mild at best, and voting rates in past elections have been below 20 per cent participation.

“I don’t feel like voting, maybe I will and maybe I won’t,” said Charvi Vashisht 20, a Media Studies student. “With work and school, I don’t have time to find out about candidates and their platforms.”