The vice-president operations and finance is responsible for the Students’ Union’s budget, SU policy and the fiscal operation of their businesses in Mac Hall. They also chair several SU committees.
Taimur Akhtar is running in one of the few contested races to become the next vice-president operations and finance.
With the experience of sitting on SLC this year at the current Schulich School of Engineering representative, Akhtar is very aware of the numbers, focusing on realistic and attainable goals for a relatively large portfolio.
While Akhtar will ensure to advocate for students against the privatization of the bookstore, he is also confident that he will represent student interests against tuition increases.
Akhtar also stated that he would like to provide more attention and funding to the SU food bank, as he does recognize the increase in use of the food bank over the course of the pandemic.
While it is a popular platform point for the VP OpFi position to advocate for things like food cooperatives — as we’ve seen in the past — Ahktar said that building up a resource that is already there like the food bank, will provide a more stable and secure resource for students in the future.
Another popular platform point that is often circulated during election season, is the promise to improve campus spaces. Akhtar mentioned that this point was at the top of his platform for a reason.
He plans on utilizing Quality Money funding — which he also mentioned goes underused — to ensure that spaces like Mac Hall are functional to welcome students back to full-time in-person learning.
Overall, Akhtar’s previous experience and confidence in what students need moving forward next year make him a reliable candidate for VP OpFi.
Back from his first term as Art rep, Matthew Herring is seeking the executive role of vice-president operations and finance.
In one of the few contested races this year, Herring wishes to continue the ground work the current VP OpFi has done into his term, if elected.
His point on directing more funding to Faculty Associations is inspired by the need to create more feedback opportunities from students across campus. One of Herring’s platform points last year was to make the Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA) self-funded through the use of a $2 levy. Herring believes that a more robust and secure funding model for Faculty Associations is the best way forward.
While the implementation of a student levy would require a referendum, it was unclear how receptive students would have been to this change. This year, if elected, it will be interesting to see how Herring continues to promote Faculty Associations from a budget-lens this time around.
Herring’s points on creating a food cooperative are in line with his overall goals of making resources more accessible for students. Herring plans on continuing the work that vice-president Hendi did to create a food cooperative, and hopes to sit on a Food Advisory Board that Herring said will hopefully exist next year.
While Herring didn’t mention how much groundwork had been laid, he believes this advisory board will be an effective way to voice student concerns.
Although some of Herring’s platform points might benefit from more clarity, his goals of making sure students’ voices are heard are admirable after a rough year.
Rafael Sanguinetti has been the Cumming School of Medicine representative for the past year, but plans to take on more responsibility within the SU as vice-president operations and finance.
The third-year Biomedical Sciences student wants to address student issues by focusing on transparency and putting the needs of students first.
As VP OpFi, Sanguinetti aims to look over the SU Student Health and Dental plans to make sure students’ insurance plans are up to date with the needs students currently have. Sanguinetti wants the best possible deal for students.
The privatization of the bookstore was a proposal made by the university which the SU and many students did not approve of.
Considering any final decisions are yet to be made, Sanguinetti says this is an opportunity to take action and turn the bookstore into an SU business to reduce financial stress many students are facing.
During his time as a Cumming School of Medicine representative, Sanguinetti explained how far too often SU members were not following through with their role expectations, and wants to implement pay deductions for those who continuously fail to submit weekly reports.
Although he acknowledges the controversy that may exist regarding his final goal, Sanguinetti reassures students that introducing accountability for SU elected officials is in their best interest.
Sanguinetti’s dedication and determination makes him an excellent candidate for the position of VP Op-Fi.
All undergraduate students may vote for one of the three candidates for VP OPERATIONS & FINANCE or ABSTAIN from voting.
This article has been changed from the print version of the supplement to reflect a revised platform analysis from Matthew Herring.