March 14, 2022

Students' Union re-elects Nicole Schmidt for second term as president

For first time, students could vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for a candidate who was running unopposed — Schmidt received 86% 'yes' vote
Adrian Alcantara, Nicole Schmidt, Shaziah Jinnah, and Taimur Akhtar
From left: Adrian Alcantara, Nicole Schmidt, Shaziah Jinnah, and Taimur Akhtar. Gene Baines

The Students’ Union has announced the results of its general election, which will form the 80th Students’ Legislative Council (SLC). After forums, debates, interviews, and campaigning, undergraduate students have chosen who will represent them to faculties, the university, and all orders of government.

For the first time in two years, students running in the election were able to campaign somewhat normally, in person and on campus. In addition, and for the first time ever in a SU General Election, students had the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for a candidate who was running unopposed. This change was asked for by students and implemented by the most recent SLC.

Current SU President Nicole Schmidt ran unopposed and received 86 per cent ‘yes’ votes, successfully being re-elected for another term as president. Joining her will be Shaziah Jinnah, elected as vice-president academic (84 per cent), and Adrian Alcantara as vice-president student life (84 per cent).

The race for vice-president external was invalidated by a decision from the Review Board in response to an appeal. The position is expected to remain vacant until the byelection in October.

For the final executive role, vice-president operations and finance, three members of the current SLC were competing for the role. Taimur Akhtar received 40 per cent of the vote to be elected to the position.

In faculty representative races, Emily MacPhail and Reeana Tazreean were elected as Cumming School of Medicine representatives with 42 per cent and 31 per cent of the vote, respectively.

Over in the Faculty of Science, the three representatives elected are Harold Zhu, Pragya Chopra, and Sandra Amin with 28 per cent, 26 per cent, and 24 per cent of the vote, respectively.

Students were also asked three referendum questions on the topic of the SU Health and Dental Plan. The cost of the plan has not increased since 1993 and the viability of the plan is at risk. The first question asked students whether they approve of a constitutional amendment to allow the cost of the health and dental program to grow with inflation, up to four per cent per year. Students voted 56 per cent against this question.

The final two questions asked students whether they support a lump sum increase to the individual health or dental plans. Students voted in support of increasing the dental fee by $10 with 56 per cent in support. They also opposed a lump sum increase to the health plan of $20 with 50.4 per cent opposing the change.

A total of 2,390 students voted in the 2022 general election. The results announced last week are provisional and become official on March 18, 2022. Students elected will be sworn in at a ceremony on April 29 and begin their terms of office in May.

Other results include faculty representatives running uncontested for their roles. These roles required candidates to go through a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote. The following candidates were successfully elected:

  • Faculty of Arts: Rachel Cabalteja, Areeba Nadeem, Ermia Rezaei-Afsah, Siraaj Shah, and Nathaniel Tschupruk.
  • Haskayne School of Business: Daniel Fine
  • Faculty of Law: Saliha Haq
  • Faculty of Nursing: Melody Chu
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: Lauren Stoffregen
  • Werklund School of Education: Dhwani Joshi
  • UCalgary Senate student-at-large representatives: Arafatul Mamur and Armaan Sidhu.

The SU will hold a byelection in October to fill vacancies for the vice-president external (1), Board of Governors representative position (1) and faculty representatives in the Haskayne School of Business (1), Kinesiology (1), Social Work (1), and the Schulich School of Engineering (2). Temporary appointments may be made in the spring and summer to ensure representation for these positions on SLC.