2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Graphic by Valery Perez

Arlington Antonio Santiago talks about repurposing campus at VP OpFi form

By Nazeefa Ahmed, March 2 2023

The Students’ Union (SU) hosted the 2023 General Election forum for the uncontested vice-president operations and finance position on Feb. 28. Responsibilities include managing the SU’s budget, Mac Hall businesses, and focusing on policy development. They also chair several SU committees.

Candidate Arlington Antonio Santiago is a fifth-year political science and law and society student who spoke about his platform points and goals for his upcoming term beginning in May 2023.  

He hopes to start a committee for international student rights to create a safe space for them to get involved in the university as many feel like they are not allowed to speak for their rights in a foreign country. 

“International students need proper representation and I would like them to get more involved in student organizations,” said Santiago. “As long as you are in Canada, the charter rights apply, so even if you are fighting for your rights, no one is going to deport you just because in your home country you are not allowed to advocate for yourself.”

Santiago wants to work with existing student clubs and repurpose Mac Hall for vertical farming. He intends to address food insecurity among students, and hopes that the student-led efforts will make a stronger SU. 

“I believe Mac Hall has a lot of potential to be reused for fruitful purposes,” he said. “You may think the money is restricting, but what restricts us the most is our organization, how we are going to resource it, and who we will collaborate with. I would like to have a visible solution to these problems because if students can see what students are going through, we can move forward to having more people stand behind what the Students’ Union stands for.” 

Santiago also intends to negotiate the athletics fee as students are paying 40 per cent while the university pays 30 per cent. 

“We are paying more than the university is paying and more than sponsors are paying,” said Santiago. “I believe that makes no sense, especially considering how the university keeps increasing tuition. The athletics fee should be a part of our fees. Why is the burden falling on students?”

In his concluding message, Santiago encourages students to reflect on the current state of the world and involve themselves in making a change while he advocates for them as vice-president operations and finance. 

“I would like you guys to consider the political landscape and the reality that we are facing,” he said. “We need to move forward as a society because right now, we are chasing money and revenue and profit and are forgetting about the beauty of life. If you think education is expensive, imagine the cost of ignorance.”

All undergraduate students can vote YES or NO on their ballot for Arlington Antonio Santiago as VP OPERATIONS & FINANCE or ABSTAIN from voting.

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