One Voice sweeps up seats in UWSA executive election

Full slate emerges victorious in the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s general election

Photo provided by the One Voice slate.

The final results of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association 2015 general election are in after a count was completed late Wednesday night. All of the One Voice slate’s candidates were elected to their respective executive positions.

Filling the seats of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s (UWSA) executive, the One Voice slate consisted of presidential candidate Peyton Veitch, vice-president internal affairs candidate Emily Epp, vice-president external affairs candidate Kevin Settee, and vice-president student affairs candidate Jesse Blackman.

Both Epp and Veitch ran against independent candidates, while Blackman and Settee’s positions went uncontested.

Veitch, the UWSA’s current vice-president advocate, was narrowly elected president with 696 votes (52.5 per cent) compared to his opponent Mathew Joseph’s 623 (47 per cent). Seven ballots (0.5 per cent) were deemed spoiled.

Epp emerged victorious over opposing candidate Jason Yang, garnering 752 votes (58.6 per cent) over Yang’s 529 (41.2 per cent). Two ballots (0.2 per cent) were considered spoiled.

Vice-president external affairs candidate Settee emerged victorious from an opposed run with 1050 (87 per cent) votes in favour of his election.

Vice-president student affairs candidate Blackman achieved a similar result, winning his uncontested bid for the position with 1079 (87 per cent) votes.

About 14 per cent of the student population turned up to vote, marking a five per cent increase from last year’s general election.

The results were announced at Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub, adjacent to the U of W, late at night on Wednesday, March 25. Veitch was on hand at the time of the announcement to provide commentary on his win to the Manitoban.

“I want to start moving on some of the things we talked about throughout the campaign with students, like affordable education and improving student life, making sure the students’ association is pushing for a fair and equitable campus,” Veitch said.

“It’s about the values and priorities that I have. I want to see the UWSA continue to be a vehicle for social change, both on campus and in the community. We’ve achieved some tremendous victories this year. We have, through being united, managed to convince the provincial government to eliminate interest rates on Manitoba student loans. We’ve convinced the university to become a sweatshop-free campus, we led the charge in terms of a U-Pass program that was just passed in city council [on Wednesday].”

Veitch added, “I want to see a students’ association that’s widely acknowledged and respected.”

In addition to the election of a new executive, U of W students also voted in several candidates as members to the UWSA’s board of directors, which is the UWSA’s primary governing body. Each of the directors has specific responsibilities such as representing a specific faculty or constituency on the board.

Candidates Adrienne Tessier (arts director), Carly Cressman (accessibility director), Ted Du (business and economics director), Ashtyn Walker (education director), Anna Huard and Leah McDonnell (graduate students director), Jonathan Northam (LGBT director), Oksana Potapchik and Hazim Ismail (part-time/mature students director), Kelby Loeppky (status of women director), and Paolo Punzal (senate) all ran unopposed and emerged victorious. Each of those candidates garnered over 80 per cent of the students’ vote for their respective positions.

The position of international students’ director was the only contested position on the board. The election had joint candidates Lester Aidoo and Bianca Zinzombe emerge victorious with 536 (48 per cent) votes. Opposing candidates Adarsh Das and Waarengeye Vikram received 334 (30 per cent) and 244 (22 per cent) votes, respectively.

University of Winnipeg students also voted on two referendum questions during the election.

The first question asked students if they would support the creation of a UWSA food bank levy of $1.50 per student per year (pegged to annual Consumer Price Index inflation). The fees would facilitate changes to the UWSA’s food bank program, an initiative created in collaboration with Winnipeg Harvest to provide supplements of food to “University of Winnipeg students and community members in need” throughout the year.

The referendum passed, with 903 (70 per cent) votes in support of the levy.

The second referendum question asked students if they would support an increase in the existing UWSA Bike Lab levy from its current rate of $2.16 per student per year to five dollars per student per year. Advertisements endorsed by the UWSA stated the increase would help fund expansion of staffing and services for the existing Bike Lab. The Bike Lab is a UWSA initiative and volunteer-run maintenance shop that allows students, faculty, staff, alumni, and surrounding community members to drop in during the lab’s hours and utilize the available tools to fix their bikes, free of charge.

That referendum failed to pass, receiving only 454 (36 per cent) votes in favour of the student fee increase.