By Racy Rafique, Abeer Khan and Gabriela Silva Ponte
Four people have been rendered “ineligible” from running for president in the upcoming Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union election, leaving incumbent Marina Gerges as the sole candidate for the position.
In an email sent to The Eyeopener, TMSU Chief Returning Officer Adrian Aziz said four nomination packages for president were submitted by the deadline.
However, there was only one application—Gerges’— that met all the eligibility criteria as provided in the bylaws and the Elections Procedures Code.
“There were a number of people seeking nomination [that] were deemed ineligible because they did not meet the threshold of submitting enough valid nominations,” said Aziz.
He did not specify as to whether these were presidential candidates.
The eligibility criteria is laid out in Section 2 and 4 of the TMSU bylaws, as well as Section 5 of the Elections Procedures Code.
As per Section 5.2 of the Code, faculty directors must be nominated by no less than 25 members of their faculty. Executive directors and international directors must receive 50 nominations each. According to Election Ruling 2023-002 on the TMSU website, 11 nominees were deemed ineligible for failing to meet the nomination quota.
Aziz also said some candidates were deemed ineligible as per Section 2.1 of the bylaws, which states that TMSU members must currently be enrolled as students at TMU and have paid the “Corporation student activity fee for the current term of study” or have been elected as an executive member of the TMSU, as outlined in Section 6 of the bylaws.
Section 4.4 of the bylaws states members who have resigned from their position with less than 30 days notice are also ineligible.
According to Election Ruling 2023-003, one candidate was deemed ineligible because they were in direct violation of Section 4.4 of the bylaws because they resigned without proper notice.
As previously reported by The Eye, former vice president equity Areesha Qureshi was unable to run for TMSU president due to her resignation.
There are 33 candidates running for 20 open positions on the students’ union.
Marina Gerges, the current TMSU president is seeking re-election as the only candidate running for the position. Gerges said she’s re-running because she thinks it’s the wrong time to leave.
“I think it would be hard for somebody to understand such new bylaws,” she said. “I think I’m in the best position possible to build on what I’ve learned.”
She added that last time she ran, she was too optimistic in relation to what the students’ union could achieve. She said this year, she’s looking to finish implementing the new bylaws and build on the theme of accountability.
TMSU amended its bylaws in December at the Semi-Annual General Meeting, as previously reported by The Eye.
Gerges said she wants to increase student wages for TMSU members to $18 an hour, establish dates for meetings earlier on, create more engagement between Faculty of Law students and the TMSU, fight for more prayer space on campus and address student housing and food insecurity through streamlining the union’s grant process.
As previously reported by The Eye, there is currently only one multi-faith prayer room on campus.
She added that she wishes students saw more of the money that has been invested into the union.
“Knowing how much money the students’ union has and has saved up and not seeing it go back to students really bothered me this year,” she said.
Other returning candidates include Nathan Sugunalan, who is currently vice president education and is running for vice president operations.
Ozioma Molokwu, who is currently vice president student life, is re-running for her position.
Aya Bakir, who is the Faculty of Arts director, is running for the position of vice president equity and Shirin Kalavi, who is Faculty of Science director is running for vice president education.
Revolt, Dream, Empire, Vision, Ayub & Brandon, Breakthrough, Metropolitan Engineers are the slates running in the election.
Other students are running as non-slate candidates or independents.
Students can vote in the elections from March 21 to March 24. Uncontested faculty director positions will be acclaimed. Uncontested presidential positions will be subjected to a Yes/No vote.
Here is the full list of candidates:
Marina Gerges, No slate affiliation
Angie Awadallah, No slate affiliation
Nathan Sugunalan, Dream
Success Daka, No slate affiliation
Mahira Shoaib, Team Revolt
Aya Bakir, No slate affiliation
Trevohn Baker, Team Revolt
Shirin Kalavi, No slate affiliation
Abeeha Ahmed, Team Revolt
VP Student Life
Shahram Farhadi, Dream
Ozioma Molokwu, No slate affiliation
Kareena Bhatia, Team Revolt
Faculty of Science director
Zil Pavdighada, No slate affiliation
Aneesh Katyara, Team Empire
Nehal Raju, No slate affiliation
Muhammad Muaz, Team Empire
Creative School director
Gus Cousins, No slate affiliation
Aditi Roy, No slate affiliation
Mika Holzberg, No slate affiliation
Yanika Saluja, Team Vision
Henil Shah, No slate affiliation
Hussain Salim Kakajiwala, No slate affiliation
Olivia Okoro, No slate affiliation
Wahab Farooq, No slate affiliation
Faculty of Arts director
Lara Loncar, Team Breakthrough (acclaimed)
Ted Rogers School of Management director
Vitaliy Yushvaev, Team Revive
Palonee Shah, No slate affiliation
Winston Ly, Team Revive
Ayub Mohammed, Ayub & Brandon
Brandon Lee Pack, Ayub and Brandon
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences director
Muhammad Maaz Rashid, Metropolitan Engineers (acclaimed)
Faculty of Law director
Jordan Haworth, No slate affiliation (acclaimed)
Fatima Sheikh, No slate affiliation (acclaimed)