Students’ Union election endorsements
The following candidates have been endorsed by The Cord’s Editorial Board. Voting takes place on January 24-26.
The following endorsements were done through discussions with The Cord’s Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief (14 members). These are not necessarily a reflection of WLUSP, The Cord’s volunteers or staff.
President and CEO: Kanwar Brar
As the only candidate for Students’ Union president and CEO, The Cord encourages students to vote “yes” to Kanwar Brar this week. Throughout his university career, Brar has been more than present on campus. His resume is wide with experience — he’s been a director on the Students’ Union board, he’s been a participant in Students’ Union events and he is currently a Residence Life don, to name a few.
During his time as a student, as well as during the campaign period, Brar has listened to the voice of the students. He has reached out to several different groups of students to learn about the individual needs of each group. When you speak to him, you can tell he’s really listening and absorbing the information that you give him.
During both campuses’ Open Forums, Brar was engaging and prepared. He didn’t struggle to answer questions and appeared to have either an opinion or a desired solution for all questions that were asked. He has been a transparent candidate and we believe that will translate into how he approaches the role of president. Because of his prior experience with the Students’ Union and consistent gallery attendance this year at board meetings, we are confident that his transition will be quick, giving him more time to dive into projects in the summer months.
We also believe that Brar will strongly advocate the importance of diversity and tolerance on Laurier’s campus. While Brar has not written for The Cord in this school year, we recalled an opinion piece that he wrote for us last year about his experiences with racism. In this piece, he explained that the best way to deal with ignorance and intolerance is not with anger, but through education and engaging in a positive dialogue. This is the kind of approach and attitude we want in a future Students’ Union president. This is the kind of person we want advocating for all Laurier students.
While his platform is more so an extension and unpacking of values and plans that already exist or have been put into practice by former president Olivia Matthews and current president Tyler Van Herzele, Brar’s platform is realistic. His five main pillars are: student experience, advocacy, communication, transparency and representation. While these buzzwords are just that — buzzwords — they are important topics that can’t be pushed aside. He realizes that one year is not enough time to plan multiple huge projects or make drastic changes, but is enough time to extend projects that are already in the works.
Although Brar does not have an opponent, he is running as if he were in a race. He is not being lazy. He is still dressing well every day, he is still learning students’ names, he is still showing up. His campaign has been in the works for a long time and for that reason, even if he were competing against others for the position, he is the best possible candidate and we eagerly await Brar’s term as president and CEO of the Students’ Union, if elected.
Chair of the board: Idris Omar Hassan
After careful consideration, The Cord’s Editorial Board has chosen not to endorse any of the three candidates that have shown interest in being considered for chair of the board. Instead, we encourage Idris Omar Hassan to consider the position of chair of the board, opposed to vice-chair as he stated at the Waterloo Open Forum.
Omar Hassan has been a memorable candidate throughout the campaign season and although he has not been a director before, he has experience that we believe to be valuable to the role of chair. Omar Hassan previously attended Mohawk College, where he gained experience with their board of directors for their students’ union. Given the large possibility that the chair of the board will be a new director, Omar Hassan has experience with Robert’s Rules — necessary to fill the role without previously being a director on the Students’ Union board. In his platform, Omar Hassan stressed listening, awareness and communication: three factors we believe to be highly important when chairing the board. He comes across as well-informed, confident and personable, all crucial characteristics of a good leader.
Our only concern is his platform summary. He was unable to stay within the word count, which shows that Omar Hassan may have to pay closer attention to small details if elected chair of the board. Also, as a Brantford student, Omar Hassan must ensure that he is well informed of the issues and needs on the Waterloo campus and ensure that he can easily find transportation to the Waterloo campus, frequently.
Vice-chair of the board: Emily Rezkalla
Emily Rezkalla has made her presence known during this campaign season. She appears to be mature, well-informed and confident about what she can bring to the board table next year. Rezkalla has experience with the Laurier Law Society Moot Court, which means she has the potential to be the unbiased voice of reason at the board table. Although she does not have prior board experience, we believe that she would be an asset to the board and her knowledge and confidence should be utilized as vice-chair of the board. In the Waterloo Open Forum, Rezkalla expressed some interest in chair of the board, but felt she needed to be more informed or take more time to think about it seriously. We encourage Rezkalla to take the appropriate steps to educate herself about the roles within the board, as we believe with the proper knowledge, she could be a great vice-chair and support system to the chair of the board.
Director at large: Michael Del Bono
Michael Del Bono has been the token “nice guy” of this election season. He takes the time to talk to students and appears to be passionate about students’ needs and opinions. He is a good speaker and always appears to be prepared and well-informed. Del Bono’s approach seems to be optimistic, yet professional. He appears to be supportive of those running alongside him, which will hopefully translate to the boardroom if elected. As a Brantford candidate, Del Bono will effectively represent the needs of the Brantford students, but also appears to be prepared to learn about the Waterloo campus, too. We believe, if elected, Del Bono will be a responsible and reliable board member.
Director at large: Moumita Paul
Throughout the campaign season, Moumita Paul, while soft-spoken, has come across as well-informed, responsible and reliable. She presented herself well in the Waterloo Open Forum and was engaged with the questions that were asked. Paul has extensive experience within the Students’ Union as she was a clubs communications executive and is currently a students’ rights advisory committee executive. Both of these experiences, especially her experience with SRAC, suggest that she will advocate well for students and is interested in finding solutions to issues. If elected, we encourage Paul to be firmer with her opinions, as she has the knowledge to advocate and represent the Laurier student body.
Board of Governors
The Cord will not be endorsing any candidates for Board of Governors, as they are all acclaimed.
After having little to no information or contact with the candidates for the remaining spot on Senate, The Cord has decided to abstain from making an endorsement.