Mateusz Salmassi - President
Hi Arts students! My name is Mateusz Salmassi, I’m an international student, 3rd year Psychology major, and I’m running to be your next Faculty of Arts Students’ Association president!
These past few years have been difficult. As students, we already had a worsening recession to deal with and all the financial and mental health hardships that came with it. But the crises have only compounded; we’re facing a pandemic and yearly budget cuts and tuition hikes. We’re paying more for less, and as Arts students, we’ll be particularly hit hard with the implementation of Performance-Based funding.
But even in the face of all these struggles, one thing has been made crystal clear. When we organize and fight back, we win. We won CR/F, flexible exam times, and even mitigated some fee increases when we put pressure on the university. We were even able to defeat the government’s plan for “super boards,” which would have created one gigantic, unelected governing board for all universities in the province.
But we need to win bigger. I see FASA as an organization crucial to building the kind of high participation we need to defeat the budget cuts, tuition hikes, Performance-Based funding, and implement healthier academic regulations. To realize FASA’s potential, I will:
Organize Arts students and build momentum by:
● Building issue-based FASA campaigns designed to go beyond advocacy
○ Our goals can make a significant difference in students’ everyday lives and cannot be dropped after simply being told “no.”
○ Campaigns must have clear and measurable goals, benchmarks, ways for the mass of students to get involved, ways for students to become leaders and take ownership of the campaigns, and ways for the campaigns to build up until our goals are achieved. We must be brave in fighting for our students’ rights.
● Creating a VP Student Organizing position and an accompanying Organizing committee via the Policy Review and Amendment Committee
● Democratizing FASA by creating a process for department clubs to hold a department-wide vote to affiliate with FASA as fully-fledged department associations (DAs)
○ DAs can elect a delegate to FASA council
○ DAs will receive operating grants to carry out their missions
● Collaborating with the Council of Alberta University Students, the provincial advocacy group made up of the province’s students’ unions, to build a provincial coalition with other faculty associations to coordinate actions against the budget cuts. A coalition of thousands of organized students can fight back and win, and our coordination will be crucial.
● Pursuing FASA’s financial independence from the Dean’s office
○ FASA must find ways to become self-funding and fully independent in order to truly organize in Arts students’ interests. We cannot meaningfully challenge the university if we are still dependent on it for money.
Improve the Arts academic experience by:
● Expanding the Arts Undergraduate Research Symposium
● Fighting for academic regulations around course loads - mandatory lectures should only be those agreed to during enrollment
○ It must be policy that international students have time zone accommodations.
● Fighting the privatization of the UofC Bookstore
○ I am already organizing in opposition to this disastrous move which would result in more expensive textbooks and the elimination of services which help low-income, marginalized, and racialized students obtain textbooks and school supplies.
● Collaborating with department clubs and reps to form department Discord channels
○ This increases access to FASA support and free textbooks.
○ Discord channels that remain after classes end allow department members an opportunity to build community over time and share program advice.
Fight for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice by:
● Rallying support for and backing Save African Studies organizers in faculty negotiations
● Expanding FASA’s anti-racism events to include Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour frontline activists working on structural change
● Supporting and amplifying student anti-poverty initiatives
○ I will emphasize our international student and BIPOC membership with these initiatives to expand their resource network.
● Exploring integrating restorative justice into non-academic misconduct procedures
● Requesting a liaison between FASA and the EDI office to ensure up-to-date best practices
Please contact me if you have any questions regarding my platform and campaign! I’m also always accepting volunteers.