With January over, the McMaster Students Union has its unofficial president-elect: Ikram Farah, a level IV political science and labour studies student.
At the time of this article’s publication, the results are unofficial. Candidate Rabeena Obaidullah was disqualified but may appeal this decision to the MSU elections committee.
Of the first-choice votes, Farah received 38.6 per cent of the total vote, while every other candidate received under 20 per cent. With that said, due to the ranked voting system, it is unclear how Obaidullah’s potential reinstatement will affect the results as the results would be tabulated again and votes redistributed to her.
Despite the uncertainty of her victory, Farah remains excited to hold the title of president-elect, claiming the morning of Jan. 26 to be one of stress and hope.
“I knew that I was always going to be perceived differently because I have different [intersecting identities] and they have different intersects. I’m hoping there’s influence in seeing me in the role.”
McMaster Students Union
Farah received the traditional call from the current MSU president at around 3:40 a.m. while spending time with her friends in the Hedden Hall common room, where she is a community advisor.
“[MSU president Chukky Ibe] called and we put it on speaker. When we heard his voice, we knew but we needed him to say it. When he said congratulations, we all started screaming,” Farah said.
Following the news, Farah immediately called her mother, who had called a little earlier asking why she had not received the results yet.
“She had just woken up for prayer and I didn’t want her to fall too deep of a sleep. So I called her twice and that’s when I started crying. … It took her so long to realize how big this was,” Farah said. “It’s a cultural thing, I think; in her head, I should just be going to grad school. She didn’t understand until the Christmas break that this was a job, that this was something I was invested in,” she added.
Farah is excited to use her various experiences in her role as president.
“I know how to talk to people, I understand in different lenses, I’ve been involved with different groups. I’ve seen how different experiences can manifest and where people go wrong, where people go right with respect for change. I’ve seen it from an MSU perspective, I’ve seen it from a residence life perspective, I’ve seen it from the McMaster perspective,” Farah said.
Farah will begin working on the extended Go bus hours and the international shuttle bus so that they are up and running by Welcome Week to ensure both commuter and international students may attend.
Farah also hopes to begin working on making improvements to the McMaster Student Absence Form and introducing tax-free Tuesdays, and is optimistic that these projects will be achieved by September.
Farah will also be the fifth female MSU president. She hopes her position will only encourage others.
“I knew that I was always going to be perceived differently because I have different [intersecting identities] and they have different intersects. I’m hoping there’s influence in seeing me in the role,” Farah said.
While her victory remains up in the air, Farah remains hopeful that she will get to be the next MSU president and has her eyes set on what she wants achieved.