Unpacking executive platform promises: Elevate UMSU

Three slates running for 2018 UMSU general elections

Jakob Sanderson, Elevate UMSU president-elect.

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.

Elevate UMSU

Elevate UMSU has promised to introduce a flex-pass parking system, promote sustainability and mental health support on campus, renegotiate the voluntary withdrawal and limited access policy, and expand G.P.A.’s Convenience Store.

The slate plans to reduce the costs of textbooks through advocating for the incorporation of more open educational resources – public resources that are free of charge – into courses, generating more co-op opportunities on campus, and working with the university administration to develop an app which would link students with scholarships and bursaries eligible to them.

Elevate UMSU wants to directly connect students with all levels of government through the coordination of “Lobby Week,” where students meet with local politicians to address issues pertaining to them.

To expand support for international students, Elevate UMSU has pledged to advocate for extending the tuition fee payment deadline and implementing a provincially-mandated cap on tuition increases for international students, as well as bringing in immigration lawyers that would work with international students on acquiring Manitoba health accounts and social insurance numbers.

Presidential candidate Jakob Sanderson and his team are looking at initiating a review process for all external fees paid through UMSU. This process would be carried out by the union’s finance committee, which would then suggest to UMSU council if any external levies need to be put to a referendum.

The team also wants to introduce participatory budgeting whereby students will be asked to submit suggestions for where to best allocate portions of the union’s budget.

Elevate UMSU VP finance and operations candidate Mbuli Matshe said a participatory budget would allow students to “have more say in how their money is spent.”

“This is partially because students pay a lot of money to their union and should have a real voice in determining our priorities,” Matshe said. “But there is more than just a financial gain, we need to create more of a community on campus and that starts by making sure everyone feels they have a voice within our union.”

The slate has also promised to expand the services provided by the U of M food bank, introduce a peer-to-peer tutoring platform, and update the student health plan so that it includes medicinal marijuana coverage.

“It’s important to include medical marijuana in our health plan to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date health plan that adapts to our students’ needs,” said Carly Mastromonaco, candidate for VP student services.

“Following suit of other universities in Canada, such as the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus) and the University of Waterloo, we want to ensure that our health plan meets the needs of our students,” she added.

Elevate UMSU wants to create a mobile campus safety app that would provide instant access to campus security services, extend the safewalk program for the Bannatyne campus and William Norrie centre, and adopt a survivor-centred sexual violence policy.

Elevate UMSU team:

President: Jakob Sanderson (president, Arts Student Body Council)

Vice-president external: Owen Black (director of public relations, St. Paul’s College Students’ Association)

Vice-president student services: Carly Mastromonaco (senator, Science Students’ Association)

Vice-president finance and operations: Mbuli Matshe (director of finance, Arts Students’ Body Council and Arthur Mauro Students’ Association)

Vice-president advocacy: Sarah Bonner-Proulx (academic programmer, Science Students’ Association, co-president, Active Minds)