After a two week campaign period, three days of voting at polling stations set up across both campuses and over five hours of counting ballots, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union 2010 election results are in. The Moving Forward slate, headed by Heather Laube, will form next year’s UMSU executive.
A total of 2,374 ballots were cast, accounting for just over 10 per cent of the eligible voters at the University of Manitoba. Of those voters, 309 of them were international students, 1,586 identified as Women, 1,522 as Aboriginal, 1,422 as LGBTT* and 1,527 as students living with a disability.
Jason van Rooy, the Chief Returning Officer, said, “I would have liked to have maintained the voter turnout we experienced last year, but I am very pleased with the election overall.”
Despite a lower voter turn-out than last year, students like Mychal Nemetchek, a second-year Asper student, still chose to vote.
Nemetchek said, “I did vote because I wanted a rep, as opposed to none at all. Even if I don’t agree with all that UMSU does.”
Others like Alyssa Plett, a second-year arts student, said she didn’t vote because she didn’t know enough about the candidates who were running.
“But that could be my own fault for not looking into it.”
Jared Suderman, a U1 student chose not vote, because the only location he saw for voting was on his way to class, and he said he couldn’t afford the time to stop and vote.
The Moving Forward slate, which ran uncontested for UMSU executive positions in this year’s election, won the “yes” vote for all five executive candidates on the slate.
Next year’s executive will include Heather Laube as UMSU president, Matt Hepner as UMSU vice-president student services, Aisyah Abdkahar as UMSU vice-president internal, Sheldon Gardiner as UMSU vice-president external and Murat Ates as UMSU vice-president advocacy.
Laube said, “I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, so I hope that people see the positive energy that my amazing team is spreading around the campus, and hopefully their reading our message and agreeing with the platform points and hopefully contributing their ideas. [Because] that’s a huge part of it — seeing what you like on campus and what you want to see more of, or seeing something different. That’s a huge part of it.”
Students voted Clayton Thomas as the Aboriginal student representative, Bryan Douglas as the Students Living With Disabilities representative, Jesse Fidelack as the LGBTT* representative, Jennifer Black as the women’s representative and Samuel Idowu for the international student representative.
Of the three referenda, two were successful in receiving the majority of yes votes and will be receiving their levy and increase.
The Student Refugee Program (WUSC) will see its levy increase to $2.50, allowing them to sponsor two refugee students a year.
Students also voted yes for Engineers Without Borders to receive $0.25 per student, per year, helping them provide 5,000 small-scale Ghanaian farmers with business skills, equip 250 government workers to train farmers effectively, find markets for Ghanaian crops and improve rural livelihood and access to education.
Students voted against the Manitoban’s proposed $1 increase to their current $3 per student per term levy.
Van Rooy said, “I think the election went incredibly well. We were finished counting relatively quickly and, aside from the obvious issues which arose during the campaign, I think the voter turnout was quite good, and consistent with or better than some previous years in which two or more slates have run, which is good.”