Incoming UWSA executives ‘open for suggestions’

Team Change wins election with highest voter turnout in 25 years

Parth Kaushik (vice-president student affairs), Jashanpreet Sing (president) and Saurav (Sherry) Dhand (vice-president external affairs)

HArleen Kaur Sekhon (Supplied)

Updated March 26, 2024: In an emailed statement to The Uniter, the University of Winnipeg Students' Association states, "The UWSA General Elections 2024 results are preliminary until approved by the Board. Due to the large number of complaints regarding violations of the bylaws, policies, and regulations during the campaign and voting period, the ratification of the results will take longer than usual to ensure fairness and compliance.”

Candidates from a single slate, Change, won a clean sweep of all three executive positions in the 2024 University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) general election. Jashanpreet Singh, Parth Kaushik and Saurav (Sherry) Dhand were elected president, vice-president student affairs and vice-presi- dent external affairs, respectively.

Several promising trends from last year’s contest repeated themselves, most notably in the realm of engagement. Fifty-three students put their names forward in the 2024 election, making for a substantially larger candidate pool than other highly contested years, like 2023 (34 candidates) and 2017 (28).

A staggering 1,861 students cast ballots this year, representing a 25-year high in UWSA election turnout. The trend of strong participation by international students also continued this year, including the milestone of all three elected executives being international students, a first in UWSA history.

Singh and Kaushik praised this year’s high turnout. “It’s great students are trying to be part of the elections,” Kaushik says. “Students are taking part in the betterment of the university, (the) betterment of the campus.”

The duo say focusing on international-student participation takes away from the reality that “at the end, we are all students.”

“For me, each and every student is the same,” Kaushik says. “It’s nothing about the international or domestic. I have seen each and every candidate as the best one. Whether it was my own opponents, they were trying their best, and they had their own objectives.”

The new executive team’s first priority when they take office on May 1 is to cultivate a sense of transparency between themselves and the student body by issuing weekly reports and holding regular office hours.

“What are we working on? What have we achieved in terms of what we have promised? At the end, we are accountable to (the students). They have elected us,” Singh says.

UWSA executives are already required to provide written reports of their activities at monthly board of directors meetings, but there’s a one-month delay in those reports becoming available to the public, and the “executive reports” page of the UWSA website is not regularly updated.

Kaushik says the team plans to spend the summer training new representatives and promoting collaboration between the board of directors as a whole. He says training new UWSA senators is one of his highest personal priorities.

“The senator is the first person students contact” in cases of academic misconduct, he says. “Senators might not know how the senate works ... we would be helping (train) them anytime a student got stuck in a particular situation, so that they can help the students, as students have elected them.”

Singh says the team’s experience speaking with students during the campaign period was “a positive thing for everyone in the campus. It helped us ... and the students to learn more about (our)selves and the things which we need to change in the university.”

The duo says they want students to know that their team is always looking for input from students.

“We are open for suggestions,” Singh says. “During campaigning, as well, after pitching our campaigning stuff, we were asking (students) for their suggestions or what are the problems they are facing. So we are open for suggestions.”

Published in Volume 78, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 21, 2024)

Related Reads