CSU General Election Comes Close to Meeting Last Year’s High Turnout

The election determined the new face of the CSU as the entire Vice-President team changes.

Annalisse Crosswell, Associate News Editor

While this year’s Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) general election lacked candidates for some positions, and had candidates running without opposition, a number of positions had students vying for votes. Those positions without candidates included the International Students Liaison, the Sunshine Coast Campus Representative and the Mature and Parent Students Liaison. Drawing in almost 1,400 student student voters, this year’s election came just shy of meeting last year’s high turnout of over 1,400.

This year’s election also included new candidates for all Vice-President (VP) positions, as current VP’s prepare to leave their roles at the end of the academic year. The results were announced at Seymour’s Pub on the evening of the last day of voting, which ran from Mar. 19-21.

“There’s a lot of mixed emotions seeing a new board come in,” said Anna-Elaine Rempel, current CSU president and vice-president equity and sustainability. “But mostly it’s excitement to see what will happen next. Every new term is full of amazing and dedicated student leaders, and I can’t wait to see what direction they take the organization in from here.”

Running uncontested for re-election was Joey Sidhu, vice-president finance and services, and Queer Students Liaison Michaela Volpe – both were re-elected. Alea Rzeplinski was unsuccessful in her attempt at re-election for the Arts & Sciences faculty position, losing by a margin of 4.5 per cent to Shanti Bains. With only two current CSU members continuing on into the 2019-20 academic year, students will likely see changes in regards to on-campus politics and events. With an entirely new team of VPs, the outcome of the election played an important role in the face of next year’s CSU. Running for Vice-President Academic uncontested was Nandini Sharda, who was elected into the role. Happy Singh was elected to Vice-President External and the position of Vice-President Equity and Sustainability was filled by Emily Bridge.

By far the most contested VP role, however, was that of Vice-President Student Life. In the running were Rafael Han, David Meneghel, Adam Shooshtari and Paula Zerpa. With some vibrant personalities in the mix to maintain the non-academic side of CapU next year, it was ultimately Zerpa who was elected with almost 40 per cent of the votes.

The election was accompanied by referendum questions that decided the fate of fee increases, as well as the U-Pass program that benefits many students. The referendum passed a new Equity and Sustainability Fee, which is the first of its kind, and an overwhelming 82 per cent of students voted to keep the U-Pass. The Capilano Courier Publishing Society, on the other hand, lost a bid to increase fees that would have combated the impact of inflation for a third year.

With only three questions, the referendum differed from last year’s five. Of those five questions last year, students voted for a personal electronic repair service, and a Business and Professional Associations Fee. Students also voted against a CSU Health and Dental Plan Fee, and a Social Justice Support Fee.

“I’m so excited to see the results from this referendum,” said Rempel. “The Equity and Sustainability Fee and the U-Pass program will make a huge difference in the lives of students and help to make education more affordable and accessible for students, which is exactly what we’re here to do.” Rempel is among the VPs that will be leaving their positions to the newly-elected CSU executive team. Those new CSU members will begin training over the course of the summer and start their new roles as the Spring 2020 semester begins.

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