On June 13, 2012 – about a month into her position at the University of Regina's Students' Union (URSU) – Haanim Nur stepped down as president for personal reasons. While no one really knew or understood why Nur had resigned, her resignation opened up a vacant seat on the URSU executive for another candidate to run.
On Sept. 25 and 26, students cast their votes to elect a new president for the union. Nur's involvement with the Students' Union began in 2011 when she ran as the VP of Operations and Finances under the "Voice of Students" slate, and was elected. A year later, Nur ran for President in the 2012 elections with the "Students First" slate and was elected with 32.9% of the votes, beating the other two candidates – Nathan Sgrazzutti and Nick Faye.
Despite her win, Nur stepped down from what would have been a promising and exciting opportunity in student politics. But, things were more complicated – and politics got messy.
Around the same time that Nur got involved with URSU, she also became involved with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) as the provincial chairperson. Past URSU president, Kent Peterson, also joined Nur as the national executive representative for Saskatchewan in the CFS.
The CFS was formed in 1981 to provide students with a united voice in advocating to the government on issues affecting students across the country. They represent over 500,000 students and more than 80 university and college students' unions across Canada.
URSU rekindled its relationship with CFS in 2011 after a much heated referendum in October of that year, which saw 51.6% of students vote to remain members of the CFS while 48.4% voted to leave. Currently, full-time students at the U of R pay $4.20 per year to CFS National and $1.40 per year to CFS Saskatchewan, while part-time students pay $2.10 and $0.70 respectively. In 2011 alone, students paid a collective $98,245.05 to the CFS chapters.
"You hear rumours of other student union people being able to – I shouldn't say the term loosely – but getting away with stealing funds. I know it was a stupid thing to do, and it was the dumbest thing I've ever done." – Haanim Nur
Four months after her resignation, Nur sat down with the Carillon to talk about student politics, CFS, and her decision to resign.
The Carillon: Tell the readers – what happened that led you to resign?
Nur: So, what happened is that I was the Chairperson for the [CFS], and Kent was the National Exec Rep. Just the both of us, we had control of the finances [for the CFS] in terms of that. We had [access] just for the provincial component, not the national fees. You hear rumours of other student union people being able to – I shouldn't say the term loosely – but getting away with stealing funds. I know it was a stupid thing to do, and it was the dumbest thing I've ever done. It's totally beneath me. I shouldn't have done it. I know that – but I did…When you look at it in reality…it should of never happened.
The Carillon: Who all knew about this?
Nur: I spoke to the people from the Federation [about this first], so we spoke about the matter, and figured out a solution. They just said, mistakes can happen, people move on, never do it again. And so, I continued to work with them during my term as president. Nobody from URSU knew at this point. It was just me and them. They [CFS] were like, you know, you continue doing your job as president and just make sure it just doesn't happen again. Ok – sounds good. So I continued on until Paige [Kezima - former VP External Affairs] decided to let the URSU board of directors know. [That's when] the board asked for my resignation.
The Carillon: How do you feel about the time you spent with URSU?
Nur: It was good. It was the best-slash-worst time of [my] life. You learn a lot. I gained all this experience in areas that I was interested in – like lobbying for students' needs, campaign work was really great, welcome week’s always fun, I had a great time. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of that.
The Carillon: Is there anything you want to let students know?
Nur: Mistakes can be made. Stupid mistakes are made as well, but at the same time, people learn from them and move on, and continue their lives. But, it's also important to never make that mistake again.