Published on April 8, 2016 | by Jessica Smith Photography by Humber Student Federation0
Humber College presidential candidate disqualified from race
The Humber Student Federation (HSF) presidential elections happen every year at Humber College and can be a close race, but there has been debate over the disqualification of one candidate.
Fourth year family and community social services student Mikki Decker had been campaigning to be HSF’s president before she received a notice of her elimination from the race. She said she was told that last semester she didn’t meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) of 70 per cent laid out in HSF’s constitution, so she no longer qualified to run.
Decker, who has been struggling with issues like anxiety and depression since September, says she feels her 65 per cent is the greatest accomplishment. “Any student that is struggling from mental health issues and who has managed to get a mark in the 60s should celebrate,” she said.
Decker said that HSF lacks support for students with mental health issues, despite her transparency and honesty with them about her struggles. She said if she was voted in as president she would have taken funds from another well funded department. “We have no one that is specialized in mental health at HSF,” she said, and suggested re-allocating student fees from the athletics department to developing a strong mental health department.
She was also fired from her position as vice president of student affairs due to her GPA, and has since been replaced by second year early childhood studies student Lance Constantine.
Recently re-elected HSF president, Ahmed Tahir, said he is now in the process of changing the current minimum 70 per cent requirement under the constitution. He wanted to eliminate the GPA requirement altogether. “I think the process in the past has been that they want to make sure that candidates are students first, however this rule was made years ago. We’re making a bunch of changes in the constitution, the GPA change being one of them,” he said.
In a recent Humber News press release, Tahir was quoted as saying that this disqualification “sucks” because of Decker’s hard work in her campaign. “We always want to keep improving HSF, and it’s our job to offer different kinds of support to students.”
Tahir was optimistic about the potential changes to the constitutional issue. “For me, what’s most important is that the support you put in place is meaningful,” he said. “Ultimately though, at the time we were bound by the current constitution and I think it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t follow it since students voted for it.”
Decker began to get frustrated with HSF near the end of the fall 2015 semester, when she was still vice president of student affairs. She said she frequently found she was the “misfit,” because she was new to the executive panel. Decker mentioned it was tough to fit in to a tight knit community of candidates who have been working together for many years.
Second year business student, Muntaha Alyas, said that considering the amount of time and effort put into her campaign, Decker shouldn’t have been withdrawn. “They should be more flexible with students and I don’t think her GPA is the only thing that should be taken into account.”
Contrary to Alyas, second year media studies student Sarah Zarnett-Klein said she feels the GPA requirement should be kept as it is, and that special treatment can’t be shown to any student. “I think that you need both people who are interested in extra-curriculars and who are serious about school and their personal grades,” she said.
However, a person’s GPA doesn’t always reflect potential strength in leadership, said second year media studies student Kate Sloman. “I think they shouldn’t have cut her, but it’s definitely a difficult situation.”