From chair and CGO, now heading into the campaign trail
To say that Tarique Plummer is a polarizing figure is probably underselling it.
People generally fall into two camps when it comes to the current chair & CGO of the Students’ Union: staunch support or fervent opposition.
Rightly so, I should say, as — depending on who you are and where you stand — Plummer could seem like either a man on a mission of self-interest or a man with a vision for the student body.
Upon announcing his intention to run for presidency at a board meeting this past summer, Plummer received criticism from various board members.
“I understand that part of my job as chair and CGO of the board is to run the elections process,” Plummer said of potential conflicts of interest that might arise in the campaign process.
“The board’s reception was not the best; people were angry, which I’m still trying to understand because the constitution encourages all students to exercise their right to run for office, so I’m doing nothing wrong,” Plummer said.
“By declaring that I wanted to run I wouldn’t necessarily be [excusing] myself from the entire [elections] process overall, and the board would have to select someone that was for it, so I did that.”
“I love the policy and governance and the overall process of it all but, based on my experience as CGO, I have an understanding of what students need and I have a vision for the student body.”
In the previous year, a clause was added to the constitution that stated the chair and CGO could not run for president, but according to Plummer and the resulting discussion, this was not a constitutional clause, as it is clearly stated that any undergraduate student can run for Students’ Union president and CEO.
“Historically, in the early 2000’s, we had an individual who ran for Students’ Union presidency while he was chair and won and the year afterwards our lawyer right now, Eric Davis, ran as chair for presidency but he lost,” Plummer noted. “Historically, it has been happening.”
For Plummer, announcing his intention when he did was crucial.
“I believe that announcing that was the definition of transparency because I did not touch any electoral processes during the summer.”
That very meeting in which Plummer announced his intentions came to a stand still and, consequently, the decision was made to silence the gallery — which was put forward by fellow candidate, Idris Omar Hassan and supported by Plummer.
The silencing of the gallery has been a contentious issue for both members of the board and members of the student body and, as anyone who follows @ElxnWatchWLU on Twitter will note, it has been a point that is frequently brought up to discredit Plummer as a candidate for president.
Additionally, some have pointed to Plummer’s attendance to board meetings when he was a director of the board.
In response to these claims, Plummer had the following to say:
“I’m a bio-technology and bio-chemistry student; you don’t see students with my program out often, I had six courses that particular year I had three labs almost every single week.”
“In our student circle, we should put academics first and then anything else comes afterwards,” he said.
“I don’t discourage people asking that question … I’m an individual who just recognized that, as a student, I’m here first and foremost for my degree,” Plummer said.
“So essentially, when you didn’t see me at an event, when you didn’t see me at open forum, when you didn’t see me at a debate, when you probably didn’t see me campaigning, I was probably in class or in a lab.”
Plummer was also quick to note the fact that, that very same year, he was also named the Students’ Union coordinator of the year.
Ultimately, as the potential only returning board member campaigning, Plummer feels that his experience as chair and CGO, and with the Students’ Union more generally, should speak for itself.
“I love the policy and governance and the overall process of it all but, based on my experience as CGO, I have an understanding of what students need and I have a vision for the student body,” Plummer said.
“It would be sad not to offer my candidacy and give the students a choice, so I decided to run.”
Jan. 24 Update: An earlier draft of this article stated that Plummer put forward a motion to silence the gallery, when this decision was actually motioned by Idris Omar Hassan.