Hannah Tait wins URSU presidency

URSU logo over photo of campus Jeremy Davis manipulated by Kate Thiessen

Voter turnout down again

The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) election results are in with Hannah Tait taking 46 per cent of the vote (552 votes) compared to her opponent, current Vice President of External Affairs Amir Said, who took 33 per cent of the vote (390 votes). There were 258 abstentions. The results were announced March 19 and are awaiting confirmation on March 23. According to the Simply Voting results provided on the URSU website, out of a possible near 18,000 voters, around 1200 found their way to the online polls, meaning voter turnout was about 6.7 per cent, a drop from previous years.

Tait was available for comment regarding her standings in the URSU election and reactions to the results:

“I’m very, very excited to start working for students,” said Tait. “The election definitely was challenging this year with the remote and virtual campaigning, but I’ve learned a lot. And I think a lot of these skills are also going to come into play when I’m engaging as president after May when I’m in office.”

Said was also available to speak on the URSU Election results:

“I gave the race my all,” said Said “but the student body wanted to go in a different direction, and I respect that.”

Tait also spoke on other aspects relating to URSU, such as ideas that she’s excited to pursue.

“I have a lot of really big exciting ideas,” said Tait. “And so I guess it’s hard to pick one. But first and foremost, I recognize that the student union has had some reputational damage, and I want to repair that because we need to have a good reputation. And we need to have the faith of the student body.”

Tait also spoke on female representation in the president’s position and the lack of female candidates that have become more and more apparent during the URSU general election. There hasn’t been a woman URSU president since Haanim Nur in 2012. Nur resigned less than four months into her term.

“I think that it’s a really exciting opportunity for me to lead by example,” started Tait. “When it comes to politics […] it’s hard [because] maybe people don’t see themselves as traditional leaders. The way that we define leadership right now is very, like, Eurocentric, male-focused. And I think when we start recognizing that leadership comes in all different shapes and sizes, we’re going to be able to have a stronger student union, but also, like, a stronger overall society.

“The lack of female representation on the executive team has a lot to do with how society views leadership,” continued Tait. “The trend is not that women are losing URSU elections, it is that they are not stepping up to run as often. The qualities society commonly views as leadership are outdated and stacked against women. This makes women feel inadequate or makes them question their own abilities because they do not conform to the status quo of male leadership. Leadership IS compassion, listening, expressing emotions, forgiveness, empathy, and communication.”

Tait discussed the foundations of what she would like to see the student union work towards during her role as president.

“I recognize the challenges facing student unions in terms of apathy,” began Tait. “Which I tried to address in my campaign and will be addressing in the upcoming year. My campaign had a focus on mitigating some of that apathy by highlighting 16 reasons students should care about student unions. I used my exposure to try to demonstrate the immense value of a student union. I only had a few weeks to do this. People have come to me and said my campaign had inspired them to vote for the first time, or to consider running for election next year. I made it part of my platform to address the lack of people running for positions and lack of people voting through my ideas of leadership development and increased awareness of democratic participation.

“We need the union more than ever when we consider the challenges of the pandemic,” continued Tait. “Large public debt, rising tuition, the mental health crises and many other things. There is a lot happening and we need representation.”

On top of the URSU president, the other results of the election are as follows:

Ziyang Li will return as VP of Student Affairs, winning with 37 per cent of the vote. Li once again campaigned on a platform of increasing mental health supports for students. Prior to the election, he told the Carillonhis “hopes for the next term are not only bringing out the sustainable programs to support students with their community initiatives and food security, but also increasing the transparency inside of URSU board meetings.”

Harveer Singh was acclaimed as the VP of Operations and Finance. He has said “he will put forward his fund managing skills so that the university budget runs smoothly throughout the year”

Pawanpreet Singh was also acclaimed as the VP of external affairs.

The rest of the results can be found on the URSU website for those interested.

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