2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

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SU By-Elections 2022: VP External Candidates

By Sophia Lopez, Eula Mengullo, Nazeefa Ahmed, October 7 2022

In this year’s Students’ Union (SU) by-election, the vice-president external position is up for grabs. There are three students running this time around, and one of them needs to secure the most amount of votes from students in order to get the position.    


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Jagat Inder Singh Chahal is a candidate for the vice-president external position. Based on his platform and his interview with the Gauntlet, this is what students can expect from him.

Chahal’s main platform points consist of putting an end to tuition increases, placing more attention on students’ mental health — and his most unique point — advocating for a study to stay program in Alberta. 

Just like the rest of us, Chahal is frustrated with the tuition hikes. If he were to get the position, he would alongside other SU members to help put an end to less affordable education. 

Another one of his platform points involves advocating for a study to stay visa program for international students, as he understands the struggles on finding permanent residency as an international student himself.

“A lot of students like me plan on going back to their home country at times, but there is uncertainty,” he said. “This visa would be for the universities in the province. [Students] would be able to apply for permanent residency in a faster, more convenient, and accessible way.”

After talking to students while collecting nominations, Chahal learned that many students feel there aren’t enough scholarships they’re able to apply for based on the criteria. If he were to get the position, Chahal would work to get some more scholarship opportunities that reach more demographics, as he has also faced similar situations.

“For certain demographic communities, they’re restricted,” he said. “A lot of people I talked to couldn’t apply for scholarships for like two years of their university courses, because they had nothing to apply for.”

Chahal hopes to also draw more attention to the mental well-being resources that are already available on campus. 

Even though Chahal is only in his second year, he is optimistic and would be able to help out students in more than just a financial way in this position. 


Photo by Anna Dinh

Arlington Antonio Santiago is another candidate for the vice-president external position. Based on his platform and his interview with the Gauntlet, this is what students can expect from him.

Santiago’s main platform is to fight for affordable, accessible and high quality education. His priorities include advocating for more equitable disbursement and to work with the federal government to create a national strategy to address the lack of post-secondary funding.

“I believe that’s the key to actually building a transformative democracy that will actually achieve sustainable, innovative and intersectional justice, because that’s the point of us coming to university, we have to solve societal problems,” said Santiago.

In acknowledging that affordability is a common platform point among his candidates, Santiago places an emphasis on structural approaches that he deemed are sequential to achieving other goals. With provincial budget cuts creating barriers to accessibility, especially in professional education programs, Santiago emphasized that combatting tuition hikes must be addressed at the core, structural level. 

In terms of mental health support, he aims to implement culturally appropriate support programs by working with Student Services and reaching out to cultural support lines. This would also entail working with the Student Union (SU) to include mental health at the forefront of the University’s new strategy. 

Residing in northeast Calgary, Santiago realizes the lack of funding and commitment to enforce promises to improve the community. Because of this, he has gathered prolific experience and understanding of working with the underrepresented and marginalized population. He is confident that his involvement in his community, coupled with his education in political science, has equipped him socially and professionally to advocate for the needs of students.

“Take control of your education and take control of your destiny,” he said.

His education in political science and his involvement in his community make Santiago a confident and equipped candidate for this position.


Photo by Jordi Hoffman

Mateusz Salmassi is a another candidate for the vice-president external position. Based on his platform and his interview with the Gauntlet, this is what students can expect from him.

His platform consists of advocacy for students at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government with goals such as rent, the rising tuition, and advocacy for international students being priorities.

Salmassi’s platform focuses on advocacy through student engagement. He describes how his personal and community experiences can have political power. 

“I’m running because I know what it’s like to have to choose between rent and food,” he said.  “I’m honestly tired of seeing the people around me also struggling with those issues as well. I think that we need to start incorporating everyday students in larger campaigns to build actual political pressure and leverage.”  

He emphasizes his personal advocacy and previous experience such as advocating against the bookstore privatization as examples of the tangible change he has made.

“I attempted to run for this position back in March, and was denied on the basis of being an international student,” he said. “I used my policy experience and my knowledge around international student limitations to advocate through SU channels to ensure that international students can run.

“I also took a lead role in fighting against the bookstore privatisation, which was a successful campaign,” he continued. “I also organised Alberta Student Days of Action, which required provincial coordination.”

Salmassi described how having a long term advocacy approach allows for real change in students’ lives. 

“We shouldn’t be thinking about these positions as resumes, just to think about things like, ‘What can I say that I did during my term?’” he continued. “We [should] set the stage for people who come after us to make actual big wins that change students’ lives on an everyday basis.

His extensive background in student politics and his passion for student engagement make him a very strong, qualified candidate for this position. 

Voting in this by-election can be done via online and in-person ballot on Oct. 12, 13 and 14. Online voting can be done through the myUofC Centre. Voting opens at 9 a.m. on Oct. 12 and closes at 4 p.m. on Oct. 14. All U of C undergraduate students are eligible to vote if they are enrolled in the Fall 2022 semester. To learn more about Chahal, Santiago and Salmassi, visit their and the other candidates’ platforms on the SU website

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