Kanwar Brar elected as 2017-18 Students’ Union president

Photo by Will Huang

Kanwar Brar is officially the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president for the 2017-18 term.

Winning 94.04 per cent of the votes, Brar was officially announced as president on Jan. 26 at the #LaurierVotes Results Party at Wilf’s.

The overall voter turnout for the 2017 Students’ Union election was 22.22 per cent of the Laurier student population.

Darshil Shah and Joseph Small were acclaimed to the Board of Governors. Romasia Hussain, Brenawen Elangeswaran and Shah were acclaimed to Senate and Alannah Mulholland was elected to Senate.

For referendum questions, both Question 1: Students’ Union Auditors – KPMG and Question 2: Provincial Advocacy Fee passed.

Lindsay MacDonald will be the incoming president of The Faculty of Liberal Arts Students’ Association, Joshua Rabe will be the president of the Human and Social Sciences Association (HASSA), Ramy Boles will be the president of the Faculty of Science Students’ Association (FOSSA) and Angelo Fousteris will be the Lazaridis Students’ Society (LazSoc) president.

As for the Students’ Union Board of Directors, returning director Tarique Plummer won majority of the student votes. Plummer will be the only director from the current board to be on next year’s board, as well. Also in the first round were Michael Del Bono, Emily Rezkalla and Klaudia Wojtanowski.

Ilana Roitman, Idris Omar Hassan, Kevin Bonnell, Zemar Hakim, Moumita Paul, Dana Toameh, Ricky Liu and Joseph Small were also elected to the 2017-18 board of directors.

Photo by Will Huang

When discussing his campaign season, Brar thanked his campaign team for their work and dedication during their two weeks of campaigning.

“We made it an initiative that while we’re doing this, we’re going to go out we’re going to talk to voters and make sure that we’re winning these for the right reasons. I think that was evident in the elections all together.”

Brar also said he was surprised with the voter turnout, especially since he was the only presidential candidate to run this year.

“It threw me off, but I’m very humbled by that number and I think it speaks to the volumes of how we’ve conducting our campaign and how we talked to students.”

Over the next few weeks, Brar will hire vice-presidents to work with him during his term as president. He hopes to make sure to hire the best team of VPs that can work under the Students’ Union.

“I want to make sure our visions are aligned. I can take their opinions under consideration and hire the best team,” he said.

Current Students’ Union president, Tyler Van Herzele, noted that he worked with Brar during his university career at Laurier. When asked about his win, Van Herzele said he was proud of Brar and all he has accomplished before the results of the night.

“We worked together throughout the years to make this a reality. What he’s shown, what he’ll do for the public, that’s an incredible feat and I look forward to working with him for the next three months,” Van Herzele said.

During the election period, Van Herzele voiced his concern that 26 per cent of the student population, the voter turnout from the previous year, was not an accurate representation of the entire student body. He hopes to work with both Brar and Nick DeSumma, current chair of the board, to strengthen the voting campaign for next year.

“Next year, I hope to even up what we did this year and in the past years to see if we can accomplish something more when it comes to voter percentage so we have a better representation for students.”

Photo by Will Huang

As for training, Van Herzele explained that now Brar has been elected, training and transitioning will begin immediately.

“There’s a number of things to get him caught up on. There’s a number of things that I need to work with him personally on and things that I want to find out that he wants to accomplish so we can start working together in the next three months to both accomplish my vison and start working towards what his vision is for the Students’ Union.”

As for the board of directors, Van Herzele noted that it was a tough race for the 15 candidates who ran this year.

“With that in mind, there has to be two from each campus, so two from Brantford got in and two from Waterloo did not get a positon on the board this year. That being said, I commend all of the candidates who came out to events and put their best foot forward.”

Tarique Plummer, the only returning director, said he is looking forward to working with eleven new directors next term.

“It was a phenomenal night; we saw Kanwar winning with a vast number of votes. We have gained some great directors [sic]. I’m very much looking forward to working with that team and I’m happy that the student decided to re-elect me,” he said.

Nick DeSumma, chair of the board of directors, said that while the candidates were very engaged during this election season, there was a low rate of students participating.

“The turnout front just wasn’t there. There were low attendance to events. It felt a lot of the time that we were pushing to get votes, but it was a good campaign period I’m happy that we had 22 per cent,” he said.

DeSumma also noted that now 11 new directors have been elected to the board, elections for a new chair and vice-chair of the board will be taking place in the following week.

“I’m putting a cutoff at Feb. 3 so Friday at 4 p.m., so it has to happen by then because I want to start transition.”

As for Brar, DeSumma believed he ran a strong campaign for being the only candidate for president.

“I think he would’ve done well no matter how many candidates were against him and that shows with how who he is as a person and his experience at Laurier. So he deserves it, he really does.

– With files from Safina Husein, Shyenne MacDonald and Nathalie Bouchard

This article was edited on Jan. 27 as the information regarding who was acclaimed to the Board of Governors and who was elected to Senate was initially incorrect. 

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