Elections & Referenda
Information regarding all upcoming and ongoing elections throughout the year can be found by visiting our Upcoming Elections page under Get Involved. During COVID-19, all election activities will be held entirely online. Please stay tuned to this page, the UTSU’s social media and newsletters for timely updates year-round.
How Our Elections Work
Each year, the UTSU hosts elections so that students have the opportunity to make a difference in their student government, and to campaign on the issues that matter to them and their communities. You can nominate yourself and campaign to represent your fellow students at the Board or Executive level. These elections primarily take place in the spring semester of each year, but elections to fill vacancies are held in the fall semester as well. Every UTSU member is encouraged to run in our elections.
All voting takes place online using our online electronic voting service, Simply Voting. To view past ballots, assign proxies for general meetings, or vote in the UTSU’s elections, please visit utsu.simplyvoting.com (opens in new window) and sign in using your UTORid and password.
If you’re interested in our elections, but you aren’t sure whether or not you’d like to run, please consider attending an all-candidates meeting or an information session whenever they are held to learn more. These will usually be announced ahead of time on our social media and on our Upcoming Elections page .
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Board of Directors
The UTSU Board of Directors governs YOUR Students’ Union. It is composed of members, just like you.
Full-time status as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto St. George campus. Exceptions include
- Being enrolled as an M. Div. student in the Toronto School of Theology
- Being enrolled in the Transitional Year Program
- Being an engineer who is currently in their Professional Experience Year (PEY)
All students in these categories are included in the UTSU membership, regardless of their full-time or undergraduate status.
- All UTSU fees are paid in full
- 18 years of age at the point of ratification
1 – By Elections:
Most of the Directors on the UTSU Board are elected by our membership in the Spring elections. Visit the elections page on the UTSU website for details on which seats are open in the upcoming elections: utsu.ca/elections
The UTSU also holds elections in the Fall for by-elections and faculties that offer one (1) year programs. The existing Board, prior to the new terms of office, ratifies newly elected members.
2 – By Appointment:
Further, Directors may be appointed by the UTSU Board should a vacancy arise after the by-election period. Visit utsu.ca/jobs for more information.
Members can vote for individual seats if they belong to the constituency (e.g. members of St. Michael’s College can vote for directors from St. Michael’s College). All members can vote for every executive seat, with the exception of the Vice-President, Professional Faculties. Only members that belong to professional faculties elect the Vice-President, Professional Faculties.
If you did not receive a ballot for the director from your College/Faculty, this is because your College/Faculty has opted to run their own internal elections for their Director seat(s). You will have to contact your College/Faculty Student Association/Union for details on how to vote in their internal elections.
This depends upon whether you are a member of an Academic Constituency or a Professional Faculty. In the case of the Academic Directors, only UTSU members who are part of one or more of the academic constituencies may vote for candidates from those constituencies.
If you are registered in more than one (1) of the academic categories, you may vote in elections for Academic Directors in each category in which you are registered.
STV is a voting system that utilizes ranked balloting, allowing for proportional representation of the membership. If you wish to learn more about STV voting, click on the link provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XOZJkozfI (opens in new window)
On a ranked ballot, a voter indicates their preferences for who is to hold the position in question. As shown in the example below, a voter indicates their first choice with a numeral “1”, their second choice with a numeral “2” and so on for each candidate that they wish to select.
No, you may rank some, none, or all candidates on the ballot. The choice is yours.
How Can I Get Involved?
Obtain a nomination package, mark yourself down as a candidate by following the instructions provided at the top of this page, and attend an all-candidates meeting to learn all the specifics about running in our elections.
If you ever have any questions during the election season, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window) and you should receive a prompt reply. Should you have any questions outside of the election season, please contact email@example.com (opens in new window) or firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window).
Please note that late submissions of nomination packages will not be accepted, as procedures need to be followed carefully to ensure that elections are being conducted freely and fairly.
A full list of open positions can be found at the top of this page.
Positions from your college or faculty may be elected via your local society’s own internal elections, as we allow local societies to conduct elections for UTSU seats if that is their preference. Please visit your college or faculty-student association’s website or social media to learn more about their elections, and how you can get involved in your student community.
All UTSU members are eligible to vote in UTSU elections, with the exception of the UTSU’s General Manager. UTSU members are defined as the following (current to August 2020):
- All individuals who have registered full-time at the University of Toronto St. George campus, in a program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, are taking the equivalent of a full-time course load at the University of Toronto for the current session, and who have paid membership fees to the UTSU.
- Registered students of the Toronto School of Theology.
- Registered students of the Transitional Year Program.
- Registered students of the Professional Employment Year program.
- Members of the Executive Committee during their respective terms in office, including the General Manager of the UTSU.
A referendum is a vote held by an organization to determine its membership’s position on a particular question. The outcome of a referendum is binding, i.e. the organization must take steps to comply with the outcome of the vote.
All referenda questions are phrased as Yes/No/Abstain questions. This means that there will be campaigning in one of two (2) categories: Yes or No. Anyone wishing to campaign on either side must form or join an advocacy committee and register its members with the Chair of the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC) and the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) and declare its position.
You must provide the Chair of the ERC and the CRO the following information:
- The full name of the Advocating Committee.
- The name, address and telephone number of the chief agent of the committee.
- The names, addresses, telephone number and title of each member of the committee.
There can only be one (1) advocacy committee per position, i.e. Yes or No campaign. Therefore, if there is already a registered advocacy committee, all members will have to be registered and work together.
During the Spring Election Period (February-March), please email the Chief Returning Officer at email@example.com (opens in new window) for any questions regarding becoming a candidate, campaigning, or anything else, including election rules and regulations.
If you are seeking election information outside of an election cycle, please contact the Vice-President Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window).
Information on past elections available is available here. Conclusive election results and other information can also be found by visiting utsu.simplyvoting.com (opens in new window) and viewing past ballots.
Spring 2020 Elections
A reliable, fair, energetic student who’ll advance the cause of student justice while making UofT like the Ivy League. Experienced student political candidate who got 381 votes during other campus elections. I’ll launch a tri-campus/faculty inquiry into grade deflation to ensure profs never set limits to your GPA success and have a campus referendum to change academic policy. I’ll require no prior student political experience for UTSU executive assistant positions to encourage students to become further involved with UTSU. I’ll have an annual campus-wide printing cheap printing fee and fare-free tri-campus shuttles.
Hi UofT! I am running to be your next UTSU President. For the last three years, my experience in the Muslim Students’ Association as Vice-President, Finance, has shaped my understanding of running an organization that serves thousands of students at an operational level and my experience at the UTSU as Executive Assistant, Clubs has allowed me to see the far-reaching needs of our community through campus organizations on a first-hand basis. I’ve seen the amazing things that this community can do when it comes together, like the ongoing fight to leave the CFS, reformation of the Student Aid program.
This year, I’ve had the pleasure of being your Vice-President Professional Faculties on the UTSU, where I’ve done everything from arguing at the Governing Council to sleeping at the office to launch ChooseUofT. With my prior experience and the ideas I have for the future, I’m asking that you consider electing me as your Vice-President Operations. If elected, I will work tirelessly to make the UTSU more accessible, meaningful, and people-facing. I can’t lay out my platform in 100 words, so please visit dermotforops.ca (opens in new window) to learn about who I am and why I’m running. Thank you!
My name’s Tyler Riches and I’m running to be Vice-President Public and University Affairs! I’ve served as University College’s UTSU Director for two terms, and this experience would help me advocate for you. As a low-income student, I understand many of the financial barriers that exist for students and would lobby the university and levels of government to reduce or eliminate these barriers. I also would also push for academic forgiveness policies and work to ensure that student voices are reflected in university governance.
My name is Vibhuti and I am excited to be running for VP Equity! I am looking forward to reforming this position into an active role in the UTSU and being present in campus advocacy. I will expand Xpression Against Oppression into diverse, recurring programming, and focus on collaborating with and listening to marginalized communities on campus. I want to push the UTSU to review policy and initiatives to make sure every portfolio and committee is working with an equitable lens. Furthermore, I will create meaningful ways for students to share experiences of accessibility and mental health with faculty and staff.
UofT mental health resources and services need to be transformed to acknowledge the lived realities that students from diverse backgrounds face. We speak about mental health as if it is “neutral,” and in so doing, ignore how identity, race, and ability-based factors significantly impact mental health and well-being. I will dedicate myself to implementing a responsive system that strives to embody and empower initiatives reflective of all students. Identity and identity-based realities must be centred so that the gifts, assets and strengths of students and communities are reflected in university institutions and embrace diverse perspectives and ideas within leadership.
I’m a third-year student running for VP Student Life. Through my experiences as a Director of Special Events and now as the VP Student Life for the Muslim Students Association I have seen the importance of student engagement and recognized various ways to make it more inclusive of different communities on campus. If elected, I aim to create year-long programming and initiatives to help students develop tangible life skills. I will work closely with student clubs and societies to ensure that all events are equitable, accessible and help foster a positive undergraduate experience for students.
For the past year, I have had the honour of serving my constituency, St Michael’s College on the UTSU and worked with the Board of Directors to partake in some of the projects we have accomplished this year. During this time, I have sat on a total of six committees including Campaigns, where I was Vice-Chair, Outreach, Finance, Clubs, Equity, and FYC Hiring. As VPSL, I am looking forward to integrating the need for an open community within Student Life and collaborating with our extensive clubs and societies to develop exciting initiatives that extend student opportunities beyond the classrooms.
Division I Directors
This position will have three (3) elected representatives.
Hey UC! It’s Jeannie running to represent UC on the 2020-2021 UTSU Board of Directors! Having the opportunity to work as a First-Year Representative on UC Lit has opened my eyes to our inclusive community, making me want to give back to your incredible supportive nature. Although UTSU has so much to offer, most of our community members are unaware of the full extent of possible involvement. My goal is to build a bridge for clear, easy and efficient communication between UC and UTSU. I will be dedicated to advocating mental health services and supporting clubs and unions.
Hey UC! I’m Pranay, and I’m running to be one of your UC Directors. This year, I have served on the UTSU’s First Year Council, where, in different positions and committees, I was able to familiarize myself with how the UTSU works, its strengths and how it can do better. As your rep, one of my priorities would be to make the UTSU and its services more accessible and understandable, via updated and simplified governance documents, as well as more interactive and engaging weekly updates. Vote for me to make the UTSU serve you!
I didn’t think I’d be doing this again, but here we go. I won’t make this long because we all have a short attention span. My goals are simple and short. I LOVED being your director the past year and I have so much more to give back to the UC community. As a director, I want to strengthen relations between UTSU and UClit, I want YOU to celebrate multiculturalism at UofT by planning a cultural festival during frosh, and I want YOU to have more UTSU’s Got You because de-stressors events should not only be during exam and midterm
This position will have three (3) elected representatives.
Over the past year, it’s been a privilege to serve the constituents of New college as a division 1 director on the UTSU. As such, I am hoping to have the opportunity to continue my active involvement in student affairs, activities, and advocating for those whom I represent. I greatly value the student experience and strive to improve it as much as possible, for as many students as possible. If re-elected, I promise to serve with both honesty and confidence. Above all else, I cannot wait to have the pleasure to continue engaging with you all. Thank you!
Hi, my name is Kayleigh McCormick, and I’m running for reelection to UTSU’s Board of Directors, representing New College. I am a third-year international student, studying political science and English. I’m seeking reelection to the Board of Directors because I want to continue to work to provide a space for all New College students to feel like they have a voice in UTSU. My specific goals are to advocate for better mental health services, create more resources for international students, and develop a closer-knit community for all New College students. Thank you!
Hi, my name is Karel Peters (she/her) and I am a third-year student double majoring in Canadian Studies and Equity Studies! As a previous member of the New College Student Council and current President of a U-life campus club, I believe that I have the leadership skills and experience to represent the constituents of New College at the University of Toronto Student Union. As a member of the Board of Directors, I would aim to work with my fellow colleagues to create an environment that listens to the students of New College and brings their concerns to UTSU.
Hi! My name is Sarit Radak and I would like to be your voice in the UTSU. I’ve served as Life Sciences Director this year, and I’m eager to get more done next year. Insurance understanding and resource advertising are areas where the UTSU needs to improve. Next year, I will call on executives to widely disseminate information about the UTSU-run insurance so that students can access the care that they pay for. Additionally, many students are unaware of resources that the UTSU offers (like exam-season giveaways). If re-elected, I will work with the UTSU to better advertise these services.
Hello! I’m Helia! I’m a responsible, confident and energetic person who is enthusiastic about participating in UTSU. If elected, I plan to organize various campus events, such as academic study/entrepreneur workshops, exam jams and make sure to provide students with sufficient aids and help towards their requirements. It would also be my priority to make sure that there is mental health support readily available to all students, especially during midterm and exam seasons. If you elect me, I’ll represent Life Sci students to the UTSU in every which way possible.
Hello everyone! My name is Sarina and I’m running to represent life science students on UTSU’s board of directors. I have been part of this stream for 3 years and what I can say for sure is that the voice of the student matters. That is why I’m running for this position to ensure that the departments are better meeting students’ needs by building stronger communications between the student body and the faculty. I believe that student unions are an important part of the university experience and through this unity, we can change the life science experience for the better!
Hi all! I’m Katherine and I’m running for Life Sciences Director. I’m so excited to represent YOU and YOUR needs! I know how difficult planning for the future is; many of us are looking for jobs, research, volunteer and extracurricular opportunities related to our studies. YOUR professional development and university experience are the most important to me. I will create more networking events, information sessions for research opportunities and further studies (medical school, graduate school, etc.) and LifeSci career/volunteer fairs. I also want to create an online lecture recording platform that EVERYBODY can access. VOTE FOR KATHERINE!
This year, I’ve learned lots about our UTSU as President of the First Year Council. I’ve helped write policy, set goals, and advocate the administration on behalf of students. On the Board, I hope to get involved in a similar fashion. My goals? I hope to bring more coordination to academic advocacy, more meaning to executive accountability, more emphasis on outreach, and ensure a smooth transition for the First Year Council. I only have 100 words here… but have an absurdly detailed platform (yes, I know, for the 3 people who care) on my Facebook event page – search for it!
Division II Directors
This position will have three (3) elected representatives.
Andrew Mengjue Chen
Hello everyone! My name is Andrew Chen, EngSci 2T3. I am honoured to run for an Engineering Director position at UTSU! Over the past school year, I have FALLEN IN LOVE with the Skule community. Among other involvements, I served as VP External for Chestnut Residence, engaging 1,200 students. As a Director, I will advocate for YOUR NEEDS AS AN ENGINEER. I am honoured to call Skule my home, and I am inspired to dedicate my skills in making YOUR life as an engineer the BEST THAT IT CAN BE. Vote for me and I will serve YOU wholeheartedly.
I am running to be your UTSU director this year because I really enjoyed the experience I had been the director this year. I had the opportunity to represent KPE at UTSU and build the communication ground between UTSU and KPE. Next year, I aspire to increase UTSU’s attention for KPE and KPE students’ awareness for UTSU and all that we (UTSU) do. I also want to ensure that the UTSU is accessible to all Kin students by being there for you. I am easy to reach, open to comments and suggestions and eager to serve KPE in this capacity.
Katelyn E. MacDonald
Professional Faculty Directors
Two (2) Professional Faculty Directors at-large from any two of the following Professional Faculties:
- Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
- Faculty of Dentistry
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Music
- Faculty of Nursing
- Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
- Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
- Toronto School of Theology
Being on the UTSU Board of Directors would allow me to have a voice to represent the undergraduate students of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture and Visual Studies. As a Daniels student, running for the director position of my faculty would allow me to have a voice to make positive changes in the faculty. This includes pushing for an increase in studio project resources and lowering the cost of material and fabrication processes at the faculty. As a director, I would also love to push for an increase in student residential spaces on campus.
Election Rulings by the Chief Returning Officer
Election Rulings by the Elections and Referenda Committee
Election Rulings by the Appellate Board
Spring 2019 Elections
Election Rulings by the Chief Returning Officer
- RULING 1.1: Bryan Liceralde’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.2: Mary Boyd’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.3: Keenan Krause’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.4: Sandra Nwaogwugwu’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.5: Kashaf Salaheen’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.6: Amy Iman Coulibaly’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.7: Wajahat Naqvi’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
- RULING 1.8: George Kanaan’s nomination form did not pass review due to a lack of sufficient verifiable nominators.
CRO vs Spencer Robertson
It was brought to the attention of the CRO that there is a challenge with a Facebook banner/event created by Spencer Robertson. The colourway used and font in the graphic reading “Spencer Robertson for UTSU Vice-President Student Life” is the same as the one you created for your External Affairs campaign in the Spring 2019 Elections. According to Article VI.1.j.ix (page 19) of the Elections Procedures Code, “Any campaign materials demonstrated to have been used in past UTSU elections are Unauthorized Campaign Materials.
Such materials may include, but are not limited to: physical materials like paper, banners, and clothing; consultation or design fees for materials like logos or websites; photos or video footage, etc.” Spencer Robertson acted quickly to remove the banner from the site when informed and expressed his sincere apologies for the mistake.
No demerit points will be awarded.
It has been brought to the attention of the CRO that Saadia Nusrat Parisha publically endorsed both Muhtasim Faruque and Ameera Karim during this election.
This constitutes Cross Campaigning.
It is known that Saadia Nusrat Parisha, as one of the UTSU’s Assistant Vice-Presidents, has taken a leave of absence to campaign for Ameera Karim, one of the candidates for Vice-President, Student Life.
But Saadia Nusrat Parisha also endorsed Muhtasim Faruque, a candidate for St. Michael’s College Director. The endorsement took place on Facebook in the form of sharing Faruque’s voting event. This endorsement on Facebook took place while Saadia Nusrat Parisha was also present as a profile picture in Ameera Karim’s campaign promotion.
According to the definition of a Non-Arm’s Length Party in the Elections Procedures Code, “Non-Arm’s-Length Party means an individual or group that can be shown to have engaged in one or more of the following: i. publicly campaigned with a Candidate; ii. campaigned using a Candidate’s approved physical materials; iii. performed Campaign-related tasks that are not Campaigning on behalf of the Candidate; iv. had their actions which are deemed in violation of the Code publicly defended by the Candidate; v. in the context of an election, had their online content shared or substantively endorsed by a Candidate or by another Non-arm’s-length Party.
Article VI(1)(c) states: Candidates are responsible for actions and violations of any Non-Arm’s Length Party. The CRO reserves the right to investigate and make rulings in exceptional cases.
Article VI(1)(v)(iii) states: No two (2) or more candidates may have their campaign benefit from the same Non-arm’s-length Party.
Under the Demerit Point Schedule, both “Cross-campaigning with a candidate running in a UTSU-run election” and “Benefitting from a shared Non-Arm’s Length Party as per Article VI -1.v” are violations that can be awarded demerit points.
Both Ameera Karim and Muhtasim Faruque responded expediently and acted quickly to rectify the error. They both removed the related materials from Facebook and sent the CRO quick and sincere apologies.
Saadia Nusrat Parisha also emailed the CRO immediately with a sincere apology and a promise not to violate the regulations related to Non-Arm’s Length Party endorsing again. No demerits will be issued to Ameera Karim and no demerit points will be issued to Muhtasim Faruque
Election Rulings by the Elections and Referenda Committee
Election Rulings by the Appellate Board
Spring 2018 Elections
The UTSU is currently working on recovering archives from the 2018 elections.
Spring 2017 Elections
The UTSU is currently working on recovering archives from the 2017 elections.