Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer
Newly elected Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) President Osob Mohamed may have started her term in the midst of a pandemic, but that has not dampened her excitement for the upcoming year.
The previous Health Sciences Representative spoke with The Peak about why she decided to run for president and what she hopes to see the Board achieve during her term. From advocacy endeavours to accommodations for all SFU students, Mohamed has big plans for the coming year.
“I served on the Board this past year as the Health Sciences rep, and it was a good experience. It was very much my introduction into the student society and into student unions in general,” began Mohamed. This experience introduced her to the capabilities and responsibilities of the Board, including membership engagement and establishing solidarity with student groups.
“But, on the flip side, I also as a Board member started to see a lot of the gaps in our governance practices [ . . . ] when you’re on the Board, you quickly realize that one year is not a lot of time. And it’s not easy to get much done in one year.” She hopes to push initiatives forward and focus on organizational restructuring during her term.
“During my time as president, I want students to feel seen and supported by the SFSS. I want to ensure that we are consulting with students on a regular basis before making decisions that impact them,” said Mohamed.
Mohamed also noted that the Board is in the process of developing a student advocacy office.
“I anticipate that students are going to need help now more than ever, as we are not sure what’s going to be going on with grade appeals in the coming semester and course delivery.”
The incoming president hopes the Board will “ensure that the quality of the services we offer are intact, and that we’re addressing important student concerns such as finances, housing, food security, academic accommodations, and more. It will take work, but we will do everything we can to make it happen.”
So far, the Board has moved the food bank service online and continues to lobby for the inclusion of international students in the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
Furthermore, Mohamed wants to ensure that course delivery for the Summer, Intersession, and potentially Fall semesters run smoothly.
“We learned a lot over the last couple of weeks about what to do and what not to do over the coming semesters — so for Summer and Fall — and that’s going to be us making sure that we’re pushing the university to make the right decisions.”
The issue of tuition prices for an exclusively online semester is also being discussed by the Board and staff at the university, according to Mohamed.
Mohamed explained some goals she has for the SFU community in the months to come. From both a university and government level, Mohamed wants the SFSS to be more active in supporting student movements; this includes supporting Tuition Freeze Now and pushing for a freeze on tuition increases for the 2020/21 year. Additionally, Mohamed wants to ensure that the SFSS is fighting for students’ rights and well-being with every initiative pushed forward.
She also noted that she hopes to work on smaller projects such as Open Educational Resources and free menstrual products on campus.
“The students have elected a strong Board, and I anticipate that the SFSS will be going through some big changes this year. Student advocacy and activism should be at the forefront of any student society or student union, and we are no different. I want to help foster this spirit into the SFSS for the upcoming year and years ahead. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”