Cullen new SA president at Durham, UOIT

Jesse Cullen is the new president of the Student Association at Durham College and UOIT, but despite this encouraging message, voter turnout was down considerably in this election compared to last year. Photo by Andrew Brennan



The unofficial results for the 2015 Student Association (SA) general election are in.


Jesse Cullen is the new SA president after receiving almost half of the total votes (606). Harrison Hutcheon of Your Voice finished in second (408), and Sri Thiyagarajah was third (223).


The Students Unite slate, led by Cullen, saw four other members elected for their respective positions. All five elected members are students at UOIT.


Cullen and his team hope to make UOIT and Durham College a more affordable experience, to increase diversity with the help of new VP of equity Reina Rexhmataj, and to develop sustainable options in both travel and food on campus.


Mike Guerard was narrowly elected as the new vice-president of college affairs, after running on a platform promoting campus unity. Vianney Nengue will represent the Whitby campus as the associate vice-president of college affairs. The two represent Durham College on the SA executive branch.


Siraj Syed is the new vice-president of university affairs. Syed is a third-year biological science and concurrent education student at UOIT, and a member of the Students Unite slate.


About 1,200 students voted for president, a drop of almost 800 votes from last year’s election.


Current SA president Ryan LePage says the average voter turnout is close to 10 per cent, while this election managed to draw around seven per cent of Durham College and UOIT students to polling stations.


LePage says the low number may be the result of fewer candidates, as well as many Durham College students being away on placement. He adds that the nature of this campaign season could have played a role.


“It’s sad to say that [collaborative efforts] could have had an effect as well because bash politics actually do tend to raise awareness,” says LePage.


Cullen will take over on April 30. LePage says he hopes his work in providing greater bursaries for students and developing an expanded version of the current health plan will continue next year.


LePage will return to UOIT in the fall to complete his criminology degree.

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Andrew Brennan is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. When it comes to writing and reporting, he enjoys covering popular culture, with specific interests in music and sports. He likes to spend his spare time playing sports and watching movies with his family and friends. Andrew hopes to work in radio or for a music/sports publication following graduation.