By Alfea Donato
Election season for the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) isn’t just about debates or blaring campaign slogans through megaphones. It’s about getting noticed – and the pressure is heaviest on independent candidates running for the top jobs.
Ani Dergalstanian, a third-year politics student running for vicepresident equity, is one of them.
For now, she’s relying on word-ofmouth to advertise her campaign for increased exposure of human rights, anti-racism and cultural groups on campus. But she’ll need more firepower running against Rajean Hoolett and his Students United, a slate with candidates for all positions and the dominant force in Ryerson politics since 2009.
“I don’t have professionals working behind my campaign to help me make posters and take photographs … I just have my friends, so there’s been some trouble with that,” she said.
Her fellow independent, presidential candidate Roble Mohamed, has more than poster problems – he’s virtually impossible to find on campus or through social media, and she hasn’t been able to contact him.
“I tried googling him, finding him on Facebook … I have no idea how to find this guy,” she said.
Students United has had posters up since Jan. 30, as a well as a website to promote their platform, and Dergalstanian said their relationship with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) gives them leverage. She opposes both organizations’ practices.
“[Student opposition to the CFS] is something I plan to build on. I think a lot of students will hopefully resonate with my views,” she said.
She added that the election process wasn’t democratic “because you have none or very little opposition.” This absence of opposition encouraged Vladimir Bublik to run with his slate, The Business Initiative, for the four faculty of business director positions.
Bublik, a third-year finance student, said competition is crucial.
“I think if you have competition you’ll try to accomplish as much as you can in your one-year period because you might not get the second chance next year,” he said.
“Students have got to choose, it’s up to them, and next week we’ll see.”