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By-Elections Timeline April 2018

The by-elections for the positions of Secretary, VP External, and VP Internal will be held in April.

Voting will be open online using SurveyMonkey starting Thursday, April 12th through Friday, April 13th 11:59 pm.

Voting instructions followed by an invitation will be sent to members via the membership mailing list.

Candidate Statements

Secretary Candidate: Aysha Ahmadjan

I am a strong believer in community and I think the MSA has amazing potential to create community for Muslim students on campus. With the tremendous capacity that the MSA has, i think it can do a lot more than it currently does for Muslims. Over the course of this school year, the social advancement team, which  I was a part of, did some really great work creating inclusive spaces for Muslim students. Knowing that the MSA has traditionally catered to a very specific group of Muslims, we worked very hard toward building strong relationships with communities that have traditionally been forgotten or overlooked by the MSA, in particular the Black Muslim community. This work needs to be sustained and broadened next year inshAllah. The role of the secretary is key for supporting the work of our directors and execs and I want to be there to provide that kind of support. The secretary plays a vital role by booking rooms, organizing meetings and doing other administrative and logistical work. I believe I have the skills required for the role of secretary. In my past two jobs I have worked in a secretary type position, making phone calls, organizing meetings, helping with logistical work during events and so on. The work of a secretary for a student organization will surely be different in some respects but I believe I am responsible enough and care enough for the MSA to learn how to do the job well and see it through. I want to end off by emphasizing how much I care for this organization and especially for fellow muslim who are in need of a community. I want to be involved in creating that community for them and playing a supportive role through the position of secretary.

Secretary Candidate: Shahd Tashkandi

These past months, I took part in several MSA events, including the Monday Quran Circle and Islam Awareness Week. Through these events, I felt at home, and I knew that I wanted to be part of the team that was behind the work. I saw the professionalism and organization of the Friday prayers and the dinners. I saw the impressive events that were held, like OSP, Frosh Week, and De-stress week. But of course, there are limitations. These include low attendance rates, ineffective engagement for new MSA members, and the rigid system for event planning that allows little room for spontaneity and novelty.

As an executive, I hope to ensure that these issues are addressed and prioritized by the team. More specifically, as a secretary, I want to ensure two things: Communication between MSA members and the general public, and feedback from members and guests after events. From my experience, these two are crucial ingredients for continuous success and improvements. Overall, I hope to be part of the team that serves the MSA and U of T community during the 2018-2019 year. Thank you so much!

VP External Candidate: Mohammed M’Hiri

Assalamu Alaikum! My name is Mohammed M’Hiri and I am a third year Electrical Engineering student. I haven’t served a role in the MSA in the past; however, I have served on numerous organizational committees across the GTA. I have experience in event organization and have developed a large professional network through my leadership roles with the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) in the GTA, and professionally. I’m running for the position of VP External because I feel that, given my past experiences, it’s my obligation to do my best to serve the community at large, and the MSA is uniquely situated to allow for such service and making a large impact.

My community work has taught me a great deal about community service in Toronto, and how to effectively utilize the power of Muslim youth for the betterment of our society. But perhaps the most important lesson was learning to efficiently manage group dynamics and ensuring that the delegation of work capitalizes on my team members’ individual strengths.

If I am elected, I will work to promote and strengthen the MSA’s public and campus-wide work by looking for ways to ensure that our Outreach events are sustainable efforts that continue to have a practical impact beyond the day they are run. I also hope to revamp the Academic Affairs efforts and reintroduce various mentorship initiatives both within the campus and with the wider Muslim Community. Another important plan of mine is to bring a larger alumni presence to the MSA as it is important to retain our valuable members as they pass through university. I plan to capitalize on my experience in organizing events and community work with MAC to build strong relationships with my directors and aid them in their growth and service in the community.

VP External Candidate: Naima Raza

My name is Naima Raza and I am a Public Policy and Urban Studies major running to be your VP External. As VP External, my goal is to build and strengthen relationships between the MSA and organizations both on- and off-campus in order to foster a welcoming and engaged organization.

In the past three years, I have served on the Students for World Justice Committee, and this year, I was the Community Affairs Director. I organized campaigns, dialogues, panel discussions, a blood and stem cell drive, and documentary screening events that were some of the MSA’s most well-attended events of the year.

My work this year increased the presence of the MSA both on- and off-campus. I have worked with university administration including a Vice Provost and U of T Communications for our Quebec Mosque Shooting panel discussion.

I also built relationships and collaborated with numerous groups, including the Multi-Faith Centre, Canadian Blood Services club, Thaqalayn Students Association and Black Students Association. My events were also highlighted by local organizations such as the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and MuslimLink.

As VP External, I will:

  1. Strengthen relationships with faith and identity-based clubs on campus, local Muslim organizations, local masaajid and high school MSAs. I hope to attract more Muslim commuter students, community members, and high school students to the MSA early on.
  2. Deliver successful Charity Week and Islamic Awareness Week events that reach Muslim and non-Muslim students who do not typically engage with the MSA. I will ensure that the entire MSA is involved in co-creating Islamic Awareness Week goals and programming.
  3. Work with the Alumni Affairs Director to assess and meet the needs of the MSA’s alumni, and foster an active Alumni Advisory.
  4. Work with the Academic Affairs Director to assess and meet the academic needs of our students.

VP Internal Candidate: Sania Siddiqui

Asalamalikum everyone! I’m Sania and I’ll be running for the VP internal position for next year in the MSA.  My main goals in this position will be to firstly fully support and be there for my religious services and religious education directors. As a special events director myself last year, I relied heavily on my execs’ communication, time management and listening skills to steer me in the right direction. I hope, inshallah, that I can use my own such skills to guide and support my directors and build a kind, tight-knit family within ourselves to be able to accomplish any task or overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Secondly, I hope to continue building meaningful and consistent relationships with the members of the community through Jummah prayers, MSA religious events like, “In the Light of Muhammad”, which happened this year and Muslim Chaplaincy events such as CommuniTea and Soulfood. I really believe in working on and improving the mental health of the community on campus, one individual at a time. This is through creating and cultivating such relationships at unique religious events where individuals are able to pause and have good meaningful conversations.

Lastly, I hope to continue to build and grow the relationship the MSA has with the Muslim Chaplaincy and even support it at a larger scale.  This is through collaborative events and fundraisers which have their roots in gaining Islamic knowledge to navigate students through tough university experiences.

I will also make supporting the other execs and directors around me a priority, to inshallah build a strong, tight-knit family in the council that is effectively able to serve the community. I have learned a lot from the mentors around me this past year and I hope they keep teaching me to be my best, inshallah! Jazakallah!

March Election Results:

PresidentHadi El-Shayeb
Secretary Unfulfilled
Vice President FinanceAfrin Khan
Vice President InternalUnfulfilled
Vice President Student LifeAqeel Assan-Lebbe
Vice President Social AdvancementKhalood Kibria
Vice President ExternalUnfulfilled
Vice President CommunicationsJubair Aziz

Position Descriptions:

(Full description of each position is available on the Constitution: here.)

President

The President is responsible for the overall unity and consistency of the organization. S/he provides oversight, advice and assistance to all aspects of the organization – from the executive level to the general volunteer & member level. Matters pertaining to the organization as a whole, collaboration with external groups, or communication with the administration generally involve the president in addition to other individuals.

Secretary

The title “Secretary” refers to a secret-keeper, a store of knowledge. The role is an administrative one, but in order to fulfill it I’ve found myself seeking and accessing information on the activities of various MSA Committees, being constantly informed of the diversity of initiatives happening within the MSA. The information that you seek out in supporting these various initiatives also becomes immensely helpful as you navigate this massive and decentralized institution, as you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly resourceful. Who doesn’t want to spend a year seeking out U of T’s best kept secrets, all in the pursuit of supporting the Muslim community on campus?

Vice President Communications

The Vice President of Communications is responsible for the image of the MSA. This includes supervising the website management and development and managing the various social media outlets of the MSA, including Facebook, Twitter and the email newsletter. S/he coordinates and assists with the activities of the directors within the communications portfolio, which are related to publications, website management, photography and publications. The VP of Communications also approves all press releases and advertisements. S/he is also deals with inquiries to the MSA and forwards these to the appropriate people.
You may want to get in touch when you would like help with getting an event or initiative promoted, or if you have ideas/questions/concerns around the image of the MSA.

Vice President External

The role of the VP External is to implement and strengthen our relationship with other student clubs within University of Toronto, the U of T Administration, and the wider community. The VP External acts as a representative for the MSA in external functions, and portraying the MSA in a positive manner. They facilitate the work of the Academic Affairs and Outreach directorships, two that are expected to benefit the Muslim community within U of T and the broader communities we are a part of. In addition, the VP External oversees and maintains the MSA Alumni Society database. Local activism and advocacy work within the community are initiatives the VP External should be involved in and proactive about.
You may want to get in touch when you have any external collaborations you’d like to see the MSA involved in, any local advocacy campaigns, or a relationship you think the MSA should strengthen.

Vice President Finance

The VP Finance is an important position where the executive has a direct oversight of all the directorships within the MSA. As a result, he/she is responsible for all the financial activity that occurs within the organization. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, budgeting, securing funds, reporting, reimbursements etc. Furthermore, the MSA has to deal with donations from the community, a significant amount of funding from the University and UTSU, and other sponsorships so it is incumbent that all finances are accounted for and optimally priced. Of course, it goes without saying that when dealing with money; honesty, integrity and transparency are essential to the character of this individual. In addition, the executive should possess concrete problem-solving and communication skills to deal with any situation that arises in their term. Moreover, the VP Finance is responsible over three directorships: Accounts, Fundraising, and Orphan Sponsorship Program; thus leadership skills are an absolute must to work and engage with each of the different directorships with their unique individual responsibilities.

Vice President Internal

The Vice-President Internal is essentially in charge of the religious academic and spiritual needs of students on campus. This person facilitates the work of both directors: Religious Education and Religious Services. He/she helps to provide quality religious education programming on campus such as but not limited to, halaqas, lectures, and seminars. This person also handles the facilitation of basic religious services on campus such as organizing Jumuah prayers (Friday prayers) and Khateebs, maintaining prayer spaces, and ensuring that Halal food options are available on campus. Building a sense of community is important, especially for students on such a large campus, and this role provides that very opportunity, to not only join but help form and build a community- where gaining students’ feedback is important for growth. This person will also have the opportunity to work with The Muslim Chaplaincy, along with speakers from other organizations to bring about educational programming and Jumuah Prayers. To help promote unity and inclusivity, building friendships and bonds, increasing spiritual awareness and growth, that is what we strive for. A position such as this requires leadership and social skills, along with organization and time management. All in all, it is a blessed experience. If you feel this speaks to you, then Internal is where you should be!

Vice President Social Advancement

The VP Social Advancement oversees activities and projects that relate to social justice initiatives ranging from the local to the global scale. This person has knowledge on social justice issues and can direct you to resources to learn more. They would connect with other organizations that do social justice or equity work on and off-campus.

Vice President Student Life

The Vice-President Student Life has the unique and blessed role of actively working to sow seeds of friendship, sisterhood and brotherhood among the students at U of T. To be successful in this role, one is required to be an excellent listener; committed to values such as inclusivity, unconditional positive regard, the golden rule and smiling in the face of one’s brother (as per the Prophetic example); and be passionate about creating the social atmospheres that bring people together. Furthermore, one must have excellent organizational skills, and the humility and openness to developing one’s personal skills and to learn from various individuals in the community. If you feel that you have something to offer your community, sign up! Both you and the MSA will be better off, I promise you!