Another year of online campaigning and University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union elections has come to a close with only 1088 out of 18,250 students casting their ballots.
The voter turnout was at six per cent this election cycle, the lowest it has been in the past thirteen years for the USSU. This is almost a 66 per cent decrease compared to last year’s elections, which had a 10 per cent overall voter turnout.
The Sheaf presents your USSU executive for the upcoming academic year.
President: Tasnim Jaisee
Tasnim Jaisee ran for the position of USSU president, the only contested position in this year’s elections.
Jaisee garnered 50.46 per cent of votes, and says she looks forward to starting on projects like creating a safe campus committee and anti-racism policies that uplift BIPOC students.
“I love community work [and] I love student work so I’m just so thrilled to be having this opportunity to be able to engage with these initiatives in this larger platform,” Jaisee said.
Jaisee is the current USSU Women’s Centre coordinator and says that as a woman of color, she wants to support students and address structural barriers. She says she has already started communicating with student groups to work on these initiatives.
Although this year’s voter turnout was dramatically low compared to last year’s, Jaisee says that all classes being online and reduced in-person interactions are part of the reason.
“I think there has been a drop overall within the initiatives that students are partaking in as a whole, and I think that’s something that is very important to address especially if we’re looking forward to eventually going back to campus,” Jaisee said.
“We definitely want to increase voter turnout for the next election, and that’s definitely something that I want to work toward with the execs.”
Vice-president operations and finance: Abhineet Goswami
Abhineet Goswami ran unopposed. With 733 votes, he was the candidate with the most votes. He will be replacing Jamie Bell, who has held the position for two years in a row.
Goswami is the current president of the International Students’ Association. His campaign centred on building a better connection between students and the union. Goswami says the low voter turnout this year shows how much the union is failing to connect with students.
“My target will be to build that connection,” Goswami said.
Goswami’s major plans for the upcoming year include revamping the USSU website to bring all the various parts of the USSU together on one platform.
“Everything should be in one place, so that we can divert all the students to one single spot,” Goswami said. “I think it will be really helpful in increasing voter turnout and involvement of students in the union.”
Goswami says he wants to make the union more inclusive and needs students to be more involved in order to make that happen.
“I personally can’t do anything by myself and the union can’t do anything by itself,” Goswami said. “We all have to work together and students are the major component, because if students are there, then the union is there and when the union is there, then the university is there. So it all depends on students.”
Vice-president academic affairs: Tauqeer Iftikhar
Tauqeer Iftikhar also ran unopposed. He got 692 “Yes” votes, making him the upcoming vice-president academic affairs.
Iftikhar says he was disappointed over the low voter turnout.
“It shows us the dire situation that the union is in and how we need to improve ourselves,” Iftikhar said.
“I think students should be more focused towards their elections as it affects them as a whole.”
He currently serves as a member of the U of S senate. Iftikhar’s main focus for the year will be the transition back to campus in the Fall and Winter Terms. He plans to advocate for more student study spaces on campus and create an online tutoring platform.
“I’m going to make sure that a lot of our academic resources are accessible to our students,” Iftikhar said.
Iftikhar plans to be accessible to students and says students’ academics are his first priority.
“I’m going to make sure that their academics are in a stable position,” Iftikhar said. “We’re going to help them in any way possible.”
Vice-president student affairs: Nickol Saenz
Nickol Saenz has been elected with 682 votes to the vice-president student affairs position.
The Sheaf reached out to Saenz to request an interview, but she did not respond in time for this article.