Regeneration group claims all five commissioner positions, three of them unopposed
The Regeneration slate claimed all commissioner positions in this year’s Graduate Students’ Association (GSAÉD) election, now the second of two University of Ottawa student federations to be headed by a single slate.
Last month, undergraduate students elected all five Student Action candidates to the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) executive, leaving only one position held by an independent candidate. Now, five like-minded commissioners will lead the GSAÉD next year.
Only two of five commissioners — the external and internal posts — ran against opposing candidates.
In a close race with a difference of only 20 votes, Louise Chartrand was elected as internal commissioner. Patricia Barra de la Tremblay, the current student life commissioner, ran independently and lost to Regeneration.
Chartrand’s platform included accessibility and removing “barriers to education.” She said most graduate students are more than just students; they can also be parents, and the administration should help out.
“The childcare service that’s on campus is an amazing one, but the waiting list is more than seven years,” she said. “If you think that a graduate student is putting their name in, well they’re going to be gone.”
In the only other contested position, Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, who was elected to GSAÉD’s board last November, was voted in as the external commissioner over independent candidate Hamdi Souissi.
Ross-Marquette said accountability, transparency, and student representation advocacy are her three main goals. Along with bringing further attention to student issues and action committees, she said “eliminating rape culture on campus” and investigating unpaid internships are her main initiatives.
“I really want to reinvigorate the student issues and actions committee that works with the external position,” she said. “I feel that’s a very important committee because it gives you the pulse of campus and the needs of different populations with students because I don’t represent all students.”
Brenna Quigley reclaimed her position as the university affairs commissioner. She said the group will work “very well together” and that all of their different skills and interests are compatible.
Quigley said her goal for next year is to “build a research community and culture with and for graduate students” by developing new and existing programs and services.
“I aim to create opportunities for graduate students to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences, which can help us to try to understand and appreciate the complexities of education and research at the graduate level,” she said.
Current GSAÉD board member Matthew Lafrenière was elected finance commissioner. He listed engagement and bringing life back to the semi-annual general meetings as his slate’s main goals.
“For far too long we have not communicated well with graduate students. That needs to change,” he said. “These meetings are incredibly important because they give the executive and council a mandate moving forward for the next six months.”
Angela Plant was elected as student life commissioner, but was unavailable for comment.