Unpacking executive platform promises: Future UMSU

Athena Skarban, Future UMSU VP advocacy candidate. Photo by Asha Nelson.

Voting for the 2018 UMSU general elections will take place from March 7 to 9. Three slates are in the running – two full slates for five executive positions, and one partial slate running for two.

With voting approaching this week, the Manitoban unpacks each slate’s major platform promises.

Future UMSU

Future UMSU has promised to ensure the students’ union provides greater support for community groups, residence councils, and faculty associations;  lobbies the provincial government to increase mental health support funding for post-secondary students; fundraises toward the hardship fund; and implements “digital democracy” through a web desk for students to file concerns, support interaction with students via e-townhalls, and introducing interactive tech units to help answer student questions.

The slate also wants to ensure that UMSU councils will consist of involved, engaged, and informed representatives in the future.

Future UMSU presidential candidate and current UMSU VP finance and operations Jehan Moorthy said implementing training strategies for councillors will help with what he sees as a “lack of engagement or awareness that currently exists in UMSU governance.”

“This ultimately will ensure student voices and feedback are utilized when it comes to deliberating issues within the council chamber,” he said.

Moorthy and his team plan to lobby to revise the university’s GPA and voluntary withdrawal policies so that students wishing to retake a course only see their highest grade on their cumulative GPA and are not faced with a penalty if they choose to take a course they previously withdrew from.

The team has also pledged to renovate G.P.A.’s Convenience Store, introduce an on-campus delivery service, enhance the Bison Sports brand, and implement a flex-pass parking system to allow students to purchase a parking pass for designated days of the week.

Future UMSU wants to ensure the union runs efficiently while building public trust and transparency through setting up infographics in central locations.

To improve safety on campus, the team has promised to work alongside the Womyn’s Centre and other groups on campus on women’s health and safety through raising awareness on sexual consent and birth control, co-ordinating self-defence education, and increasing the distribution of feminine hygiene products.

VP advocacy candidate Athena Skarban said she also wants to work with campus security services “to provide a better a presence at all hours.”

“I want to increase the amounts of support for victims and work with existing advocacy groups on campus,” she added.

In addition to promoting sustainability and active wellness on campus, the slate wants to address substance abuse on campus through raising awareness of the availability of Naloxone kits and providing harm-prevention training.

Brandon Barratt, candidate for VP student services, said that the issue of substance abuse is one which is not often addressed on campus.

“It is something I am passionate about as [it] is something that I have personally been effected by, in a loss of a friend,” he said. “I hear about the problem of overdosing on substances, but never hear of anything being done to take action.”

Future UMSU team:

President: Jehan Moorthy (UMSU vice-president finance and operations)

Vice-president external: Brooklynn Krul

Vice-president student services: Brandon Barratt (Bison men’s football team)

Vice-president finance and operations: Jonah Wasylak (Bison men’s hockey team rep, University of Manitoba Actuarial Club)

Vice-president advocacy: Athena Skarban (Bison track and field)