2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Illustration by Valery Perez

Uncontested candidate Shaziah Jinnah speaks at vice-president academic forum

By Julieanne Acosta, March 8 2022 —

The University of Calgary’s Students’ Union (SU) elections are underway and the SU is live-streaming various forums for students to ask questions to the candidates. 

On March 4, the SU live-streamed the vice-president academic forum hosted by Renzo Peyera, outgoing VP Academic. Questions were asked to uncontested candidate, Shaziah Jinnah. 

Jinnah is a combined degree student in Communications and Media Studies and Psychology who has faced the ups and downs of the university’s education system.

“Nobody told me about academic probation or special academic probation, which is what I ended up on,” said Jinnah. “I started to question everything. Ultimately, the next four years from what came after led me to this point. I had to really learn to advocate for myself and acknowledge that I needed help and support.” 

One of Jinnah’s goals in her term, if elected, is to ensure that students are able to use their reading breaks in any way they want. 

“I’ll advocate for a mechanism to ensure students have the choice of how to use their time over fall and winter reading breaks. I’ve been a student since 2015. I went to school for two years without a winter or fall reading break,” said Jinnah. “I still struggle to validate the fact that I can rest on a vacation and do nothing. But the other factor is coming back and having things due right away. Because how are you going to enjoy your break, if you’re expected to prepare for something big when you come back.”  

Jinnah also looks to address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) issues through the role of VP Academic.

“I’ve been fairly fortunate. I am a woman of colour but I am light-skinned. I’ve lived on both sides of experiencing how the world perceives me,” said Jinnah. “At the same time, I’ve heard stories from students and friends that have faced experiences in university that have been pretty demeaning. I know we have a great provost team and among them are Dr. Malinda Smith and Dr. Michael Hart. I truly believe that by integrating [EDI] rather than keeping it as a side focus in academics is key to addressing the success of the core groups that I’ve mentioned and all students.” 

In closing, Jinnah reiterated that she will advocate for students and for the importance of getting an education. 

“We have the power to support each other as students and as peers in our community and break down the barriers of the university walls. It’s incredibly important right now that we establish that importance and the validity of the work that gets done in the university and the importance of getting educated. I think that the biggest issue is we can’t continue to talk about how important education is without addressing the barriers that we have to it,” said Jinnah. “I’ve been shamed. I’ve felt empowered. I’ve advocated for you the last couple years if you’ve been in the arts department and I really hope that I advocate for you if I’ve not yet gotten the chance to and make your voice heard. As students we deserve more and I’m going to ensure we get that.”

Voting takes place from March 8–10, starting at 9 a.m. on March 8 until 4 p.m. on March 10. The unofficial results will be announced on March 10 at 5 p.m. in the South Courtyard of MacHall. For more information on other SU election candidates, visit the SU website. Find out where, when and how to vote and watch a livestream of the un-official results online.

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