Meet Masoud Manzouri, newly-elected President for 2019-2020
By: Sanjana Sharma, Staff Writer
After a period of dedication and hard work put in by everybody to make LUSU’s election a success, it is finally time to celebrate the victories as LUSU revealed the preliminary results on February 6, 2019. All the candidates put their best work into campaigning, while LUSU executives worked hard to facilitate the voting process, and here is the good news: Turnout for this year’s election was 19.8%, an impressive increase compared to last year’s 15.6%.
The 2019-2020 Executive:
- Masoud Manzouri won the Presidential election with 42.2% of votes.
- Farhan Yousaf was re-elected as Vice President Operations and Finance winning 64.1% of votes.
- Josh Pogue was elected Vice President Advocacy, receiving an 88.0% vote of confidence.
- Rachel Murray was elected Vice President Orillia winning 62.7%
The 2019-2020 Board of Directors:
- Yamandeep Malhi (12.6%)
- Prabhjot Singh Ahuja (12.3%)
- Victoria Erickson (12.2%)
- Lahama Naeem (12.1%)
- Lisa Chiarelli (11.7%) *Chiarelli was disqualified pursuant to section 13.7, By-Law #1 of the constitution
- Annah Malik (11.4%)
- Feras Battah (9.9%)
- Mohamed Zeida (6.0%)
- Sukraj Grewal (6.0%)
The 2019-2020 Orillia Board of Directors:
- Fatima Ahmed (47.8% vote of confidence)
- Paula Clark (42.9% vote of confidence)
President Masoud Manzouri is an M.Sc. Environmental Engineering international student who has been involved with student life since he arrived in 2015. From opening a club to becoming the President of LUSU, he continues to be more involved with the student community. He aims to bring student issues to light and create a more inclusive and comfortable space on campus.
The Argus asked the newly-elected President of LUSU how he feels about winning the election. Manzouri said with pride, “I feel excited, humbled, and grateful being supported by students. The fact that I won by a huge number of votes makes me feel that my platform resonates with what students expect from the next year’s president. I feel honored to be the first international graduate student who has become the President of LUSU, and I am stoked to accept and embrace the new challenges that I will face as the President!”
Here is a brief overview of what LUSU’s President hopes to bring to the surface in the new academic year:
- Better support for mental health
- More student jobs
- Greener Lakehead
- Fight government cuts
- More student space and autonomy for Orillia
A more in-depth analysis of Manzouri’s profile and platform was highlighted at the election debate that was held on January 25 at the Outpost, where Manzouri’s campaign manager, Mitch Goldenberg, represented him. Here are some key points from the debate:
On working for the community: Manzouri is a humble, hard-working, and kind person who got involved with Lakehead right when he arrived. Before that, he had worked as a professional with an NGO for 6 years, focusing on a youth empowerment program. He has experience working with administration, and he serves on the Advisory Board of Humans Rights and Equity, and is the Co-Chair of the Student Refugee Program, which welcomes funds and supports students from impoverished nations coming to Lakehead. As the Coordinator of the Multicultural Centre (MCC), he creates events, manages staff, and promotes diversity — which is what is needed to be the President of LUSU.
On engaging with students: Manzouri is a connector — he has a relationship with everyone he meets. He has taken every opportunity to get involved with students. He loves Lakehead, the students, the staff, and the country. Being approachable and concerned, Manzouri wants to make this a better place.
On what makes Manzouri stand out: “Everyone here has seen problems, everyone here has made promises, but Masoud has demonstrated that he has experience dealing with these problems and creating an action plan as the head of one of LUSU’s centres. He knows the inner workings of how student politics work. He knows how to make connections with the city and with the greater community and with different stakeholders on campus…. Masoud believes in LUSU and he has a strong track record of taking action,” said Goldenberg in the debate.
On what distinguishes his platform: advocacy for Orillia student space, cut services and ties, better mental health initiatives, strong partnerships, stronger community within Thunder Bay, stronger connections with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
In a recent post on the Facebook page “Vote Masoud for LUSU President,” Manzouri addressed Lakehead’s ties with CFS: “One of my opponents is campaigning to divest from CFS Ontario // FCÉÉ Ontario to save students the price of a small lunch in ancillary fees.This is a bad idea for Lakehead because it will be a contentious year-long fight with no contingency plan. CFS is an essential advocate for LU students, and recent events show why. CFS is fighting Ontario’s cuts to student clubs, services and media by organizing demonstrations, lobbying the government and waging an online campaign to save student life & extend tuition cuts to International students. If you are unhappy with any aspect / communication of their services, as President I will voice those concerns with them directly and work for change. I will not terminate a relationship based on minor grievances that have attainable solutions.”
Even though his official start date is May 1, Manzouri declared on his social media platform that he has started preparing to “bring our promises to reality,” and he looks forward to connecting with more students to welcome ideas and questions. He elaborated, “The LUSU President serves as the voice of students to Lakehead University, the community, and government. So, in my role as the current LUSU MCC Coordinator and Co-Chair of LU Student Refugee Program, I will keep bringing up students’ expectations and concerns to/with LU administration, the community, and government until I start my role as the head of the student union. The most urgent one is taking serious actions in response to the Ontario government’s recent announcement on post-secondary education and cuts to student services.” You can contact Manzouri and get involved by connecting with him “in the hallways, stopping by the Multicultural Centre, or sending him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Manzouri is an inspiration for students as he does what he loves while also serving the community. As an international student, he feels really grateful for all the opportunities that Lakehead has offered him. He has been able to improve his language skills over time as a language barrier was his biggest obstacle. He also feels that Lakehead gave him the opportunity to apply his creativity, leadership skills, and experiences, while building up his self-confidence and communications skills through indulging in student life.
“We as student bodies should care more about and be more involved in student politics. Student unions speak on behalf of students to government at the local, provincial, and national levels. The more the students engage, the more powerful is the student union,” said Manzouri.
According to Manzouri, joining/starting a club is a good start if a student wants to get involved in student politics. Manzouri started by founding the Iranian club, later became the MCC Assistant, and then the MCC Coordinator and Co-Chair of LU Student Refugee Program, and worked his way up to becoming the President of LUSU. He says: “Make the most out of the opportunities that you get, while working towards what you think is right.”