By Scott Nowoselski
The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), the largest student group on campus, is refusing to endorse anyone in the tight Ryerson Students’ Union election.
This is despite the fact that the primary candidates for president, Muhammad Ali Jabbar and Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, are both members.
“It’s very important for us to be focused on what the students need,” MSA President Emad Saif said. “We’re not allowing Ali [Jabbar] or Snobar to take advantage of the MSA.”
VP external affairs Ambreen Syed said that by supporting one candidate over the other, the MSA’s executive would risk dividing the group’s membership.
Jabbar, who is a former president of the MSA, benefited from the group’s support when he won the RSU presidency two years ago.
Both he and Snobar have been lobbying for the support of student groups in this race.
“They’re on the front lines with their constituents at Ryerson, and they hear all [the students’] concerns,” Snobar said, adding that garnering the support of student groups determines who gets elected president.
“Some groups that don’t even get along with each other endorse me,” he said.
While groups cannot provide financial aid to any campaign, they can use e-mails and word of mouth to promote the candidate of their choice.
Some of these groups, such as the Tamil Students’ Association (which is supporting Jabbar), have active mailing lists of over 400 members.
Samih Abdelgadir, senior VP of the East African Students’ of Toronto, said groups should back the candidates that best represent their interests.
“That’s why the East African community puts us into positions of representation. We are making [the members of E.A.S.T.] aware of the best opportunity for our group,” said Abdelgadir, whose group is a staunch supporter of Snobar’s Ryevolution slate.
Jabbar said that the student groups also enable candidates to reach students across campus.
“We have a diverse campus, and we can’t focus on just one community,” he said.
Among his other supporters are the Pakistani Students’ Association, the Hindu Students’ Association, and the Tamil Students’ Association.
Snobar’s slate’s red posters plaster the basement walls of the Student Campus Centre.
The slate has the support of eight groups, including the Arab Students’ Association.
Both Jabbar and Snobar say they understand the MSA’s decision not to back candidates.