Pegah Jamalof elected Students’ Union president and CEO for 2021-22

Graphic by Kash Patel

Pegah Jamalof has been elected as Wilfrid Laurier University’s Students’ Union president and CEO for the 2021-22 term.

The results were officially announced shortly after 10 p.m on Jan. 29 via Zoom, after a Bingo with Twan event that started at 8 p.m.

Jamalof won the election with 63.85 per cent of the votes with a total of 1425 votes. Her fellow candidate Joey Small received 36.15 per cent of the votes, with a total of 807 votes. 

With 2384 votes total, voter turnout was at 12.45 per cent of the student body. 

“I’m very happy [the students] chose me, I really hope that I do my best. I do plan on doing my best, but I hope that I can meet all the promises that I made,” Jamalof said.  

“We were really worried toward the last few days and honestly I kind of just compartmentalized these past few days. I was like, ‘Oh, like just focus on school. Don’t even worry about this. Like what happens, happens at this point,’” she added.  

Jamalof said she is planning on getting started in her role by prioritizing her platform points.

“I do want to work with marginalized groups, get their insights, and then I do want to move on to really working on my mental health platform. Yet again, that’s my biggest priority.” 

Jamalof gave credit to her campaign team and her parents for their support during the election season. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. 

Current president and CEO of the Students’ Union, Devyn Kelly, said she is pleased with the election night outcome, overall.

“I think it went really well given the circumstances, but also gave us some things that can be improved on next year.”

“Given all of the uncertain circumstances and everything that we were sort of faced with this year, I think that the CRO and the chair did a really great job of getting the word out and sort of enticing students to vote with the apple watch campaign and things like that.”

“I’m very excited to work with another female leader. That’s always exciting, to see female representation within the Students’ Union,” she said. 

With only 2384 students voting in the election, Kelly said voter turnout can be improved in the coming year. 

“Of course, we would always like to see it way higher, especially when I think that students were a lot more vocal this year about the Students’ Union.” 

“The students whose voices they wanted to be heard, were heard. So that’s always good.” 

The ten candidates who ran for board of directors on the Waterloo campus who were acclaimed are: Victoria Bothwell, Ezra Ceniti, Gurgavin Chandhoke, Andrew Dang, Francesco Del Giudice, Kianna Low-A-Chee, Aidan McCarthy, Muna Mohamed, Shane Symington and Brandon Vale.

With three candidates and only two seats for the Brantford board of director positions, the candidates elected were: Fiza Iqbal with 460 votes and Mackenzie May with 1252 votes. 

“I think [the directors are] a great team. I do try to leave a level of autonomy to them, I have met a few of them, one from my senate position and two from just overall being a student at Laurier. I’ve met a few individuals,” Jamalof said about the incoming board.

Nasiq Amanullah — one of two candidates — was elected into the board of governors position with 1032 votes, for a total of 55.54 per cent of voters. Amanullah was also acclaimed to the senate. 

With a total of five referendum questions being posed during this year’s election, only three of them passed. 

The Waterloo Student Life Levy question which asked, “Do you support the renewal of the Student Life Levy, a fee that enhances students life through project funding such as the Alumni Field Project, the laptop loan program, and the Northdale community garden?” failed, with 954 votes, or 51.90 per cent, saying “no.”

As well, the question regarding the Laurier transition fee for first years, which asked, “do you support the implementation of a Laurier Transition fee of $125 to fund orientation activities, the Laurier 101 program, and other initiatives designed to improve the transition to university life?” failed, with 1109 votes, or 50.34 per cent saying “no.”

“I’m disappointed of course. I know that the referendum chairs worked really hard this year to sort of campaign and convince students to vote ‘yes’ for those campaigns,” Kelly said. 

“The Student life levy [fee] is actually a little bit odd, just because in the past, like five years ago, it passed in Waterloo and it didn’t pass in Brantford. So it’s interesting to see the flip-flop.” 

Given the backlash from students this year regarding the Health and Dental plan fee, Kelly said she is happy to see the health and dental referendum question pass.

“I was very stressed about health and dental, and honestly, I am just so happy that one passed and that we can sort of start to make meaningful changes with the health and dental plan.”

Kelly said that she will be working Jamalof to train her for her incoming position. 

“I think both candidates put a ton of time and effort into crafting their platforms.”

“I know what the campaign period is like and how stressful it can be. So, I’m really glad that both that campaign period is over and the stress is sort of off of their back. I’m excited to work with [Jamalof] and see how she sort of executes her goals,” she said.

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