By Sophia Lopez, October 14 2020 —
Sinit Abraha is a passionate University of Calgary student, eager to make change and improve the lives of the campus community. Being President of the Political Science Association, along with her positions in other groups such as the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, Abraha believes her experiences in such groups has prepared her to take on the position of Board of Governors (BoG) representative.
As part of her platform, Abraha’s three main points revolve around creating a community with more student involvement. Abraha believes the most pressing issue students are facing today is dealing with online schooling and how the switch to virtual learning has been challenging. She recognizes that not only students, but staff and professors as well, are dealing with this change.
One way she plans to increase student involvement is through the creation of a student-led committee.
“My hope for that committee is to get students from different faculties, so at least one student from each faculty,” she states.
Abraha wants the committee to be as diverse as possible, involving people from all faculties, BIPOC people and essentially anyone interested in making a difference.
Being from a country where women are discriminated against and are given little to no rights, Abraha said that the “experience of not having a voice has prepared me to essentially just put myself out there every time and voice whatever I need to voice, express myself and stand up for myself and students when I need to.”
Mickail Hendi is a very active member of the UCalgary community. Through his roles, such as President of the UCalgary New Democrats and the Faculty of Arts Students’ Association’s (FASA) School of Creative and Performing Arts representative, Hendi feels ready to take on more responsibility as he runs to be the next Board of Governors representative.
His slogan, “Student voices first,” shows Hendi’s main goal as BoG representative would be to give students more opportunities to be heard.
“I want to reform board proceedings in order to give students a more meaningful impact on the board and the things that go on there,” said Hendi.
In order to fulfill his main goal, Hendi expressed his concern over the amount of approval needed before addressing important issues regarding students. He strongly believes that students are the main concern.
“Students aren’t just one among a set of factors to consider, they’re the main, central part of the campus community,” said Hendi. “There are real people being impacted by the decisions they’re making.”
A common point made by all runners is addressing the tuition increases. Hendi plans to renegotiate student tuition fees, especially with this upcoming winter semester being primarily online.
Unlike other BoG runners, Hendi also addresses his goal of increasing the amount of parking available to students, along with reducing parking pass prices.
“There’s a lot of parking real estate on campus that usually just goes completely unused all day,” Hendi states. “I think it’s just a wasted opportunity to actually serve the student body.”
Cohen Perratt is a confident UCalgary student who aims to use his skills gained from political groups he’s been a part of, along with experience working in Federal politics, to help him earn the position of Board of Governors representative.
Perratt expresses how one of the reasons he’s running to be the next BoG representative is due to the budget cuts and tuition increases.
“I felt like students were kind of getting a bad end in this whole situation, unfortunately. I think the budget cuts were very much unexpected.” Perrat said.
Along with the importance of addressing tuition increases, unlike others, Perratt also mentions how having strong student support systems are essential. Perratt plans to improve the support groups in place at UCalgary in order to ensure students are getting the help they need, along with making sure students are getting what they paid for.
Mentioned in one of his platform points, Perratt expresses deep concern over the lack of student representation on the BoG, and plans to increase the number of student voices heard.
“For university students being the largest stakeholder at the university, I think it’s unfair that we only have two undergraduate representatives on the board.”
Perratt makes it clear that no matter your political standpoint, his goal is to support and fight for all students.
“It’s not a partisan issue, I think a lot of conservatives and liberals agree that funding education is important,” said Perratt.
As seen in his very student-centred platform, Perratt stresses on the importance of getting students involved in decisions made for the UCalgary community.
“I do know that the student voice is very important to have on that board considering that the board is making choices for all of our futures.” Perratt states.
Voting takes place Oct. 14–16 and can be done via your student centre.