Greetings Members of College, it’s that time of year again. No, I’m not referring to the anniversary of classes being move online and the world plunged into a nightmare of texts, emails, and zoom classes, nor to the inevitable hell which is midterms during a pandemic. I am in fact referring to Trinity College’s very own elections.
Your lovely and highly dedicate Trin News writer went to the NRAC forum so you don’t have to make sense of the two candidates, Ceylen Borgers, and Ron (Re-Open Nominations, an electoral practice that gives an opportunity for less-eager qualified candidates to run for the position).
Since the de-gendering of all heads positions, there is simply a free-for all-race this year for all positions; of course with one candidate this change is not the most impactful change. The NRAC forum was held online on the 25th, from five (UofT time) to six p.m. although it went about fifteen minutes over.
The forum began with some general introductions from the candidate, Ceylen, a third-and-final year student (for next year), and a major in Trinity’s own International Relations program, with minors in Political science and Cinema studies — a topic she would make much of for the rest of the forum, including when asked what movie she would show at an NRAC event (she insisted on naming five). While seeming to have prepared and to have a solid grasp of her key positions, throughout the forum the candidate repeatedly became flustered by and stumbled through several questions “what is your favourite quote”.
One highly relevant piece of background the candidate chose to highlight was her work in a club advocating for the rights of Uyghers in China (and other muslim minorities). Otherwise, the candidate talked about the isolation felt by commuters during the pandemic (and how much better it would be to return to in-person events), but also discussed what she felt were the upsides of commuting based on her first year in residence and her experience commuting in high-school (having spent this year in an online COVID “commute” of course), namely the ability to hang-out around Toronto, and to use commute time as alone-time with one’s own thoughts. She was also asked to name subway stations, and listed eight, which many will no doubt consider a vital electoral qualification.
Many of the forum’s questions hinged on the current theme of conversion in Trin governance circles — equity, accessibility, and the anti-racism task force, and what she would do as NRAC head on those issues. On the flip side of this there were some questions raised about preserving Trinity traditions and undergraduate culture. Ceylen positioned herself very strongly on the side of the former, going so far to say that she would advocate for an official policy to have the college sanction students for online activity that constituted “discriminatory messages”, when asked about the issue and suggested that saying that she prefered creating new “traditions” in the style of the pre-TCM dinner to preserving traditions that might be “privilege certain students”.
The candidate also repeatedly talked about students holding her accountable, and offered as options confronting her directly, or raising concerns about her performance using an upper-year proxy, or by talking to a member of administration to look into it.
Her plans for planning events next year revolved around cooperation with clubs, using their bases to “build community” and trying to supervise and expand club activities more, and changes to orientation and vague plans to try to engage first year commuters after orientation.
Naturally, the conversation repeatedly touched on COVID and its impact on policy, in response to which. the candidate described herself as very excited to return to in-person events as far as public health guidelines allow, and for pandemic safe events suggested continuing with online movie nights, trivia events, game groups and collective dinners “since we can’t eat at Strachan anymore.”
In response to a question about alcohol policy, the candidate expressed support for the policy and a desire to educate people that “Bad things can happen when you drink alcohol” and said that she was not affected by the implementation of the policy.
Overall the candidate showed a deep commitment to social justice ideals and rhetoric, with a large emphasis placed on invisible violence and “cultural” reforms, as well as a sharp determination to challenge Trin admin to enforce her agenda, and did her best to answer most of the questions (particularly those about issues similar to those highlighted on her policy paper) thoroughly.
You can find the candidate’s full position paper here:
You can access the minutes and watch the full recording this year online on the NRAC drive through this link: https://cutt.ly/AlPRPtB
(but please do note that the minutes contain errors).
Ron did not participate in the discussions, maining a laconic attitude throughout, preferring to let others decide his merits instead, this despite the candidate’s allegation he was part of Hogwarts and not a real part of Trin.