CSU by-election: A rundown of who’s running for council

Everything you need to know about the councillors running in the Nov. 17 to 19 by-election

Here’s the sequel to your CSU by-election handbook. File Photo Ireland Compton

In preparation for this month’s Concordia Student Union by-election, The Link spoke with those running to learn more about their background and their positions on CSU policy. Here is a brief overview of who each councillor is, and what they stand for.

Read more: CSU by-election: A rundown of referendum questions

As there are enough seats available for representatives from arts & science, fine arts, and the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, this year’s candidates from those departments will not need to compete for a spot on council. For representatives from the John Molson School of Business, only two seats are available. 

Arts & Science

Debra Irabor

Debra Irabor is a fourth-year political science and law and society student. Her goal is to make the CSU more representative and to advocate for the rights of racial minorities. Irabor hopes to increase inclusivity both within the CSU and the student body, as well as find new ways to address familiar issues in council.

Nicole Nashen

Nicole Nashen is a second-year community, public affairs, and policy studies student. Nashen has a background in English language rights advocacy, and her desire to combat discrimination was what led her to run. Nashen prioritizes social and economic justice for students, pushing for sustainability, and emphasizing mental health during the digital semester.

Brandon Grimaldi

Brandon Grimaldi is a second-year community, public affairs and policy studies and political science student. His interest in politics as well as his desire to represent his fellow students led him to pursue a spot on council. Grimaldi is interested in ending proctored exams and increasing student involvement in school politics.

Fine Arts

Phineas Ambrose Savchenko

Phineas Savchenko is a second-year animation student. Based in Toronto, Savchenko acts as chairperson for the Fine Arts Student Alliance and general coordinator for the Animation Student Association. They began their campaign due to their desire to foster a greater sense of community between faculties at the school. Savchenko is interested in amplifying student voices by allowing student-run groups to better voice their needs.

John Molson School of Business

Wyatt Niblett-Wilson

Wyatt Niblett-Wilson is a fourth-year marketing and international business student. Wilson was the deputy returning officer for the CASA-JMSB elections last year. He was also the financial analyst for the John Molson Investment Society. His platform includes supporting student programs (both student-funded and fee-levy groups), mental health advocacy, encouraging discussions around the pass/fail grading option, ensuring that professors clarify and improve their digital curriculums, and pushing for diversity within council and in the student body.

Gurjot Gill

Gurjot Gill is a third-year accounting student. Gill wants to join the council to help bridge the gap between student-led services and students themselves. If elected, Gill would push for a return of the pass/fail grading option, an end to proctored exams, and an emphasis on bolstering mental health services. She also thinks there should be more of a discussion surrounding student workload while classes remain online.

Shlomo Tanny

Shlomo Tanny is a fourth-year business technology management and finance student. Tanny believes there is more the CSU could be doing to combat the strain placed on students by the pandemic, including the implementation of pass/fail and emphasizing free peer-to-peer tutoring. In addition, Tanny is interested in making the council more representative of faculties.

Matthew Basmadjian

Matthew Basmadjian is a first-year finance student. Basmadjian was an executive for a number of software-based startup companies, including Basilisk and Neverguess, and is currently a digital strategy intern at Bombardier.

Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science

Sean Howard

Sean Howard is a software engineering student. Howard previously served as a councillor, beginning in November 2019. Back in January, he voted in favour of a motion to redistribute council seats, replacing proportional representation by faculty. According to the motion, each faculty would instead be allotted the same number of seats. The motion passed in council and passed again in referendum. Currently, Howard has voiced dissatisfaction with how the current CSU administration has handled online opt-out, and wishes to address it.

Alexander Stojda

Alexander Stojda is a fifth-year software engineering student. He was an executive for the Engineering and Computer Science Association for three years, and served as its president last year. The position allowed him to work closely with the Union, and inspired him to get involved. If elected, Stojda would push for motions to be researched more thoroughly before they are tabled, and wants to instill a sense of community and pride within the student body.