URSU General Election to be held March 17 and 18
Hannah Tait versus Amir Said
After what can only be described as a tumultuous year, the University of Regina’s Student Union, or URSU, is preparing for another general election. Only two presidential candidates have been nominated this year: current URSU Vice-President of External Affairs, Amir Said, and former chair of URSU’s HR committee, Hannah Tait. Both candidates agreed to be interviewed by the Carillon regarding their platforms and the elections. What follows is a breakdown of each platform in their own words during their respective interviews.
Said, who has been the URSU’s Vice-President External Affairs since October 2020, whose interview was conducted via text, stated that his platform, “[I]s centered around continued advocacy for students on important issues, increase financial and academic support for students, stronger diversity and student representation within the organization, more student employment opportunities, and improved transparency and communication within the organization and with student members.”
When asked to comment regarding changes or planned changes for the internal culture at the URSU, Said stated, “URSU has taken several steps internally to help improve our culture, and as President I will continue facilitating these steps. Lots of progress has been made in the past couple [of] weeks and I’m very proud of that fact.”
Regarding his experience with student leadership, Said added, “I’ve done a significant amount of work on equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization, and taken steps to promote the ideas of reconciliation and decolonization in URSU […] I’ve also done plenty of work towards increasing student representation and transparency […] Big topics that I want to discuss with municipal/provincial government officials include sustainability, improved student services such as transit, and a tuition freeze.” Regarding the latter, Said told the Carillon he had been involved with efforts as VP External Affairs and added that he looks forward to taking the lead on these issues.
When asked about what ultimately made him decide to run for the URSU presidency, Said wrote, “I’ve had a fantastic time serving as URSU’s Vice-President External Affairs, and I hope to serve another term with more of a focus on student advocacy and the organization’s long-term strategic goals.”
Tait, a fourth-year political science student, personally reached out to the Carillon to offer an interview. Tait’s platform, which is posted online, is built on four main components: “First, revised strategies to better serve students; second: equity, diversity, and inclusion; third, empowerment of students; and fourth: a renewed focus on advocacy regarding on a number of issues, including public funding and addiction support. Consistent and compassionate HR practices [are] also a priority.”
When asked to elaborate on her resignation from the HR committee, she stated, “I resigned [in February] because I felt there were misconceptions about what HR should be doing. I felt it wasn’t being valued.” She went on to explain what she felt were the greatest issues facing the URSU during her 8-month tenure, which she characterized as, “A series of small conflicts, mostly communication issues, that built up and led to greater difficulties, and [during that time] I felt that HR was not a strategic priority for the URSU administration.”
In regards to leadership development, she added, “I feel it’s important since developing future leadership would provide a solid framework to get more students to run for candidacies within the URSU. Specifically, I think my policy would get more people involved at board meetings, help them understand university culture, and get interested students into the office to understand the positions before they decide to run.” She also emphasized the need for adequate communications training regarding emails and use of digital resources.
In addition to her experience in the URSU’s HR committee, Tait added “[I’ve] worked on strategic planning and workplace community programs during my time working for the Government of Saskatchewan, and I have plenty of experience in interacting with people within the context of administration.” Tait also reiterated her involvement in a number of youth delegations and congresses, some international, and emphasized her past experience with digital work and communication.
Commenting on what she considered to be the biggest issue currently facing students, Tait stated “Our role as students is only a small part of our lives. Many of us have jobs, are parents, and continue to struggle with mental health. At the end of the day, we are people, not just students, and I think we need to continue to recognize that.”
Finally, when asked what ultimately made her decide to run for the URSU presidency, Tait said “I wanted to run because [the URSU] can do better and run much better. The role [of president] is strategic and important for planning, and I believe I would fit the role well. My platform will also allow me to speak on issues which I have been advocating for years, and I hope to encourage more people to run [in future elections] and increase general participation in student government.” If elected, Tait would be the first woman elected as President of URSU since Haanim Nur in 2012.
Voting will take place March 17 and 18. Students can vote by going to https://ursu.simplyvoting.com or via UR Self Service.