Fishman takes a different approach, arguing that grade deflation is the chief difficulty, and one that the administration is already aware of. “I plan to put further pressure on U of T officials to increase the pace of mark-raising, and specifically to make our incoming president aware of how much harm our current grading policies do to this university.”Fees are another major problem pointed out by prospective governors. DiCenzo explains that many students are concerned with “ever increasing ancillary fees.” Gowani similarly notes that her goal is to “make the opt-out process easier than it currently is for students.” Candidate Areesha Jacob emphasizes, bluntly, that the problem is “tuition fees,” providing no further detail.
Apathy towards the Governing Council has itself become a concern for several candidates. Fishman noted that during his tenure, “I did my best to keep in touch with students via my Governing Council Facebook page.” He hopes to expand his program of informing students, stating, “I’m considering hosting an informal ‘office hour’ once a week.” Gowani also cited Internet presence as important, saying, “Social media is a strong way of reaching people in our day and age. Because of this, I will keep an active Facebook page where I will update all followers.” Jacob hoped similarly to improve student involvement: “I plan to create an online survey or questionnaire for my fellow students to fill out.” Racine said of her plans to improve engagement, “It could be as simple as going door to door in the clubhouse building, speaking to students in different fields of study from my own.”
If engaging with students is one problem candidates face, having an impact as one of only eight students of the 50 members on the Governing Council is another. “The most important role of a Student Governor is to be a skilled negotiator, since making progress on any of the issues relevant to students rests largely on convincing other figures that a certain policy is beneficial for U of T and can practically be implemented,” says Fishman.Most candidates agree with a strategy of persistent engagement with other members of the council. Racine notes that from her time on the Arts & Science Council, she learned that “students’ issues can be put on the agenda, it just takes a persistent person.”Just days after students endorsed a motion calling for expanded prayer space on campus, two new spaces at Emmanuel College and Robarts Library have won praise from student groups and administrators.