The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is holding what could be the shortest campaigning period to elect new candidates in recent years.
The nominees for the RSU election were announced Monday evening and campaigning is set to start today. Candidates will roughly have two business days to campaign before voting starts March 7.
RSU president Andrea Bartlett said that the campaign period was shortened because of complaints from the board of governors and students. Last year the campaign period lasted over two weeks.
“This year, because classes started so late, we pushed the election period back and also took the recommendations from students to decrease the campaign period in length,” Bartlett said in an email.
Three slates are running in this year’s RSU elections: RU Connected, Impact and the Rhino Party. The rules around campaigning are very specific. Candidates may begin their campaign at 12:01 on March 2. Before that time, members may not relay their platforms to media and may only indicate whether they are interested in running.
Political science professor Neil Thomlinson is concerned about the length of the campaign period.
“There needs to be a period before the polls open for people to get their message out,” he said. “Candidates, I think, are entitled to expect some opportunity to do that.”
The rules were relayed to nominees at a meeting held on Feb. 29. Any breach of the rules would result in disqualification. Minutes of the meeting were not recorded that night.
Some nominees are veterans to the RSU governing body, such as Obaid Ullah, who is running for president under the Impact party.
Obaid is currently the vice-president of operations with the RSU and is a third-year mechanical engineering student. If elected, Ullah aims to work on issues surrounding transit and mental health, which he would do in partnership with students of the university.
Awo Abokor is running for the title as well under the RU Connected slate. Abokor was formerly the coordinator for the Centre for Women and Trans People and is a founding member of Ryerson’s Feminist Collective.
Abokor advocates for strong policies against sexual assault, for affordable public transit and for paid internships.
Taspia Wahid, second-year a biomedical engineering student, running against RU Connected and Impact for the presidency with the Rhino Party. Historically, the Rhino Party was a registered political party in Canada in the 1960s that made outlandish party promises in an effort of entertain voters during the campaign period.