ASSU By-Election Candidate Statements

ASSU will be holding a by-election during the ASSU Council Meeting on November 20th.  Course Unions will be able to send two representatives to this election. Here are the statements from the candidates.

Charles Dalrymple-Fraser

The academic components of student life have been widely downplayed: we slave over textbooks, our assignments are due at the same time, and the groupwork’s a pain.  Yet, it has been my great fortune at UofT to be able to study what I love, and it’s been my passion to help others love what they study.  As a third-term executive and former president of the PCU, I’ve had a number of amazing opportunities to help improve the quality of the academic experience of students; but, these opportunities and the growth of our CU would not have manifested without the assistance of everyone at ASSU, and the resources they provide.

My name is Charles, and I’m a fourth-year student running for an executive seat on ASSU, so I can continue to work to improve the academic aspects of student life (and not just those of students in my home department).  Through my years at UofT, I’ve become intimate with the ASSU team, its procedures, and the many invaluable resources they provide, as well as its constituents and members, and I’ve naught but benefited from everything about those experiences.  It is my hope that you will allow me to bring these experiences – as a student and as a CU executive – to the ASSU team, to help continue its ever-upward momentum, to help enrich your own pursuits, and to bring back to mind the value of the academic experience.  If you have any questions at all, please do feel free to contact me.


Ben Coleman

Hello Course Unions!  My name is Ben Coleman, and I’m running as a Candidate for the ASSU Executive.

Before I explain why I can do a good job serving course unions and arts and science students, I should introduce myself.  I’m an Arts and Science student, from New College, in my third year of studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  I have an odd, mixed accent, and I’m shockingly tall.  In my spare time, I’m Arts and Science director for the UTSU.

I’m interested in Arts & Science issues.  This summer, I made an ad-hoc twitter contest to see if anyone could make the course evaluations more pleasant to look through (shout-out to CSSU for joining in).

I take my responsibility seriously.  The only time I’ve missed a UTSU meeting was when I was doing fieldwork in middle-of-nowhere Saskatchewan and didn’t have internet.

I think an ASSU exec needs good communication skills.  Earlier in the year, I researched how much interest U of T was charging on late tuition payments, and landed on the radio being pitted against the University Registrar.  I made sure to diplomatically follow up with him to put us on good terms.  It worked.

I’ve met friends in class at an EEBU social, learned about banking from an ESA guest speaker, and have absorbed the history of Santa Claus parades from a HSA guest lecture.  I really appreciate how course unions improve students’ academic and social lives, and would love the chance to serve all of you.

Celine Liu

Hi everyone, I am Celine Liu and I am a first year Economics student.  In the past two months, I have seen many first –year students like me, who were experiencing academic stress and facing social activities anxiety.

After recognizing these common problems, I want to firstly, become a speaker who expresses our ongoing difficulties.  Secondly, becoming a negotiator who tries to arrive corresponding solutions with relevant departments at UofT.  Lastly, I want to be an advisor, letting more students know their concerns has been discussed, which they can now solve their problems with the support from UofT.

The desires of volunteering and helping other students in the UofT family have motivated me to run for the Arts and Science Student Union executive member.  I believe my fluency in different languages and active involvement in diverse clubs will help me to hear and represent the voices from everyone.  My skills of problem solving, which were developed from constant practices for debate and Model UN are also helpful when playing a role as a logical negotiator.  Moreover, my previous facilitation experience is helpful for organizing campaigns and events that aim at providing students with more useful suggestions and new assistance as a product of negotiation.

As a passionate learner, I will become a better listener, a negotiator and a speaker.  With your support, a sense of family will be achieved here at UofT.



ASSU Executive 2013-2014

Congratulations to the incoming 2013-2014 ASSU Executive

On Wednesday, ASSU council met and elected their Executive Committee for the 2013-2014 year.


Shawn Tian


Abdullah Shihipar
Dylan Chauvin-Smith
Leena Halees
Mohammed Ali Saeed

As per the ASSU constitution, two more Executive members will be elected in the Fall. Check back in the Fall for opportunities to get involved with ASSU.


ASSU Executive Elections

ASSU Council will be meeting to elect their new Executive Council for the 2013-2014 year on Wednesday March 13th. The meeting will take place in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2135 beginning at 5:00 pm.

The ASSU Executive is responsible for implementing policy initiated by Council, as well as working with Course Unions, the administration, and other campus groups to improve the academic life of students in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

The Executive is made of up of seven members: one President, and six Executive members. Four of these Executive members are elected at this meetings, and two will be elected at the first ASSU council meeting in the next fall term.

Each Course Union will get two votes, one for their President or delegate, and one for their second council member. Current ASSU Executive members can also vote for candidates.

Here are the official statements from the candidates running for Executive:


Christopher Balette

My name is Christopher Balette.  I am a third year student in the economics specialist and mathematics minor program.  It would be an honour to be considered as your Arts and Science Students’ Union President.

As a course union executive, member of the ASSU Council, and member of the ASSU budget review committee, I have gained valuable experience and insights regarding academic issues faced by the student body.

If elected president I intend to address academic issues that matter to students.  First, I will push to improve upon the Credit/No Credit system by advocating for a penalty-free course retake policy.  Secondly, I will lobby to eliminate textbook purchases for courses where only small fractions of textbooks are used.

Furthermore, I will work to improve upon the great services ASSU offers to course unions and students.  I will streamline the course union budget process by posting budget guidelines on the ASSU website, clarifying budget category constraints, and creating a FAQ section.  In addition, I will also integrate the ASSU website with other social media to maximize communications reach regarding ASSU services, course union announcements and union transparency.

Finally, I intend to increase communications between ASSU council, Arts and Science Governing Council, and other university organizations.  I will bring issues addressed by ASSU Council and students to these organizations, and report back regularly to ASSU members through electronic means and council meetings.

On March 13th, I encourage you to consider me for ASSU President.  Thank you for your consideration.  Cheers.

Shawn Tian

Reflecting on the past 2 years serving as an Executive member on ASSU has helped me appreciate the unique role that ASSU and course unions serve. Working on the Budget Review Committee has shown me the creativity of Course Union’s initiative in engaging students. Deliberating with the Scholarship Review Committee has shown me the outstanding merit of undergraduate students.

Looking forward I hope to establish a presence on Faculty Council. I am adamant about maintaining the constructive nature of discussion with the Deans’ office and offering students a relatable perspective in being informed. ASSU’s mandate remains to focus on the academic concerns facing undergraduate students in the faculty and I want to stay true to our roots.

Flat fee schedule or not, Anti-calendar printed or online, Meric Gertler president or dean, my intent to do ASSU’s best to serve students will persist. Experience with ASSU gave me the insight to understand what makes us unique and what scope of influence we have in advocacy. Genuine concern gave me the perspective to see what truly troubles students the most. Your support will give me the means to make this happen, one small step at a time, one constructive discourse at a time and one successful course union event at a time.

Stay positive, stay true, stay ASSU.



Dylan Chauvin-Smith

My name is Dylan Chauvin-Smith and I am a third year student in English and Cinema Studies.  I am interested in running for ASSU so that I can expand my volunteer work for students. The academic focus of ASSU will be a fresh experience for me.  My commitment to students began when I joined the executive of LGBTOUT last year and continued when I worked for the UTSU as associate Vice President Campus Life responsible for events.  As an avid and ever-curious student, I relish the opportunity to work on academic issues.  Please consider me for the executive of the Arts and Science Student Union.


Leena Halees

Hello.  My name is Leena Halees and I am running for the Arts and Science Student Union executive member.  I am a first year student studying Peace & Conflict studies.  I have had largely active and essential roles working with a diverse number of student leadership societies and community involvement organizations ranging from the athletics, the arts, and the academics.  My passion is to volunteer and help others in hopes to make a positive difference.  My goal is to contribute and express my ideas on behalf of the majority of students here at the University of Toronto making sure any concerns or issues are voiced and taken care of to the best of my ability.  With your support, I will do whatever it takes to make it happen and I assure you I am exactly what this community needs to ensure success and prosperity.  Thank you for your consideration.


Mohammed Ali Saeed

As your executive for ASSU in the coming academic year, I will be able to continue my work in a better way on projects I have already been working on.  I was working as an associate with VP University Affairs at UTSU and have strong background on advocacy related work, part of ASSU’s job on campus.

I was working on a research paper extensively which will be submitted to the university administration soon regarding ‘drop credit’.

I have worked on credit/no credit option for courses earlier and plan on continuing my lobbying and advocacy with the university administration.  So if you’re looking for a candidate with strong past experiences of working, negotiating and lobbying with university administration, please vote for me and I can assure you will not disappointed with me serving you in ASSU as your executive next term.


Abdullah Shihipar

Hey everybody!  My name is Abdullah Shihipar and I’m running to be reelected to the position of executive for next year at ASSU.  This year, working with the rest of the executive and course unions, we were able to achieve a lot.  This year, working with you, I was able to run a successful inter course union food drive and made sure your events were promoted on our new facebook page

We also together created a course union facebook page to facilitate dialogue between the course unions.  I was also close to signing Justin Timeberlake but alas, the deal fell apart at the last minute.  The communist newspaper people scared him away.  Next year, I plan to continue the good relationship we have with course unions, by continuing to promote your events, host more socials to facilitate course union cooperation and include you in our broader campaigns.

In our quest for a better quality education, we face a lot of roadblocks; flat fees, large class sizes and things like Access Copyright stand in our way.  Working together, we can make ASSU stronger and overcome those obstacles to achieve the standard of education we deserve.