After a tumultuous election campaign, University of Winnipeg (U of W) students have elected a new team to lead the Uni- versity of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA).
According to unofficial results released by the UWSA on March 5, Jibril Hussein was elected president, defeating Kirt Hayer and Mahlet Cuff (current vice-president external affairs).
Hussein’s Envision 2020 slate running mates Breanna Belisle and Melanie Wil- liam were also elected as vice-president external affairs and vice-president student affairs, respectively.
Hussein, a biochemistry and interna- tional development studies student, says one of the main reasons he ran was to pro- mote student engagement on campus.
“I’ve been on campus for four years, and, talking to students, a lot of them didn’t know what the UWSA did, so we really wanted to get students engaged ... and get their voices heard,” he says.
Belisle, a criminal justice graduate stu- dent, says she wanted to run to highlight different student voices.
“Students pay to come to university, and it’s essential that all their voices are heard,” she says.
William, a biology and human rights student, says her interest in running for the UWSA came from her involvement with multiple student groups on campus.
“I’ve always been very passionate about student engagement and student involve- ment,” she says.
William’s experience with student groups has led her to believe that student groups “need more support.”
“I’m really hoping that we can focus on equalizing student club funding,” she says.
In addition to electing a new UWSA executive team, students also voted overwhelmingly to maintain the U-Pass program, which gives U of W and University of Manitoba students Winnipeg Transit passes at a discounted rate. Of all voters, 82.71 per cent supported maintaining this popular program.
However, a day after these results, the City of Winnipeg 2020 budget cancelled the U-Pass program.
“Obviously, this is very devastating,” Hussein says.
“It seems as though city council and Mayor Bowman don’t really recognize that this is a huge program for students.”
According to the UWSA, 53 per cent of U of W students use their U-Pass daily. Hussein says that he and his team will fight to keep this program.
Other issues the new executive hopes to address next year are safety on campus and creating more inclusive events for students.
Numerous other students were elected to serve in the UWSA.
Sarah Anderson was elected accessibility director; Wesley Fallis was elected arts director; Harsimrat S. Malhotra was elected business and economics director; Celina Clements was elected community liaison director; Alexandra K. Nychuk and Nadia M. Chaharsoughi were elected grad- uate students’ co-directors; Elsa Owusu and Onyinye F. Idigbe were elected inter- national students’ co-directors; Jacob K. Antman was elected 2SLGBT* director;
Ella Taylor was elected racialized students’ director; and Ada Chukwudozie and Cheta D. Akaluka were elected UWSA senators.
Turnout increased by more than six times from last year’s election, with 1,371 votes being cast.
For more detailed election results, visit theuwsa.ca/2020/03/unofficial-2020-general-election-results.
Published in Volume 74, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 11, 2020)