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Competition is scarce in the Ryerson Students’ Union general election this year.
Unite Ryerson is the only slate running, with a member campaigning in each of the five executive categories. The positions for four vice-presidents are uncontested and based on “yes” or “no” votes.
The major competition for the slate lies in the presidential position. Rajean Hoilett, a third-year social work student, is the Unite Ryerson member running for president against two independent candidates, Roble Mohamed and John Scott, both second-year students.
Although Hoilett previously ran with the Students United slate, this year he is running with Unite Ryerson, which he claims is an entirely new group with a similar platform.
“(Unite Ryerson) is a team of individuals who are unique in their own aspects and have different aspirations than folks that have come before,” Hoilett said, who is student union’s current vice-president equity.
Ani Dergalstanian, a Ryerson student who ran for vice-president equity against Hoilett in last year’s election, said she’s convinced that the two slates still have a connection.
“It is the same people” said Dergalstanian, a fourth-year politics and governance student. “You go and you look at where they’re campaigning around campus, just look at who’s at the table. It’s the people who have won the elections before and who have sat on the RSU.”
Current RSU president, Melissa Palermo, was at Unite Ryerson’s campaigning table outside the library last week. However, she declined to comment on any similarities between Students United and Unite Ryerson.
Dergalstanian said it was difficult to run independently against Students United last year because the members had one another’s support. Despite her disappointment at the low number of independent candidates this year, she said she’s glad to see some competition for president.
Dora Adobea, a fourth-year finance student who is running for vice-president operations uncontested, said that wouldn’t diminish her campaigning efforts.
“One would think it’s an easy task, but it’s still a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote, so students still have to decide and choose whether or not they want me, because I could be voted ‘no,’” Adobea said.
If a candidate receives more “no” votes than “yes” votes, there will be a byelection for the position. If the candidate is still uncontested in the byelection, the candidate assumes the position.
Jesse Root, the lone candidate for vice-president education, also said he would have welcomed opposition.
“In election campaigns, it’s easier to have a dialogue when you can kind of contrast yourself against someone,” said Root, a graduate student in immigration and settlement studies.
Root added that his goals would remain the same no matter who becomes president.
“I know I would work well with Rajean and I hope he’s elected,” he said. “However, if he’s not, I will continue doing my work.”
Other sole executive candidates include second-year journalism student Pascale Diverlus for vice-president equity, and Saphi Subendran, a final-year business technology management student, for vice-president student life.
The RSU executive positions have been largely uncontested for several years now. This year is the least contested election since Students United slate won in 2007 because all executive positions were unopposed.
With files from Chris Babic.