Presidential breakdown: Ehima Osazuwa

William Lou
January 22, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

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With Ehima Osazuwa’s key points including interfaith accessibility, gender-neutral washrooms, and women in governance, it’s clear that he is looking to advocate for the rights of those he believes are under represented.

“I think it’s important to remember that McMaster is a very diverse population, and everyone has different needs,” said Osazuwa. “It [would be] my job as MSU president to cater to the needs of the diverse people here.”

Accessibility is a recurring theme that Osazuwa is tackling through a number of viewpoints.

On one level, Osazuwa is looking to lobby Student Accessibility Services to better accommodate students with specialized needs, whether it’s with greater access and maintenance for elevators and lifts, or with mandatory training for teaching assistants in accommodating students with disabilities.

However, TAs that already receive Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act training are likely to be reluctant for more training; in addition, MSU VP (Education) Rodrigo Narro-Perez has had resistance in implementing mental health-specific training for TAs, so it’s arguable whether further training can actually be mandated for the entire university.

Osazuwa is also pushing for interfaith accessibility by creating an open space for various religious practices, as well as ensuring that religious dietary options are always available on campus. Osazuwa wants extended late-night food options on campus like Union Market and My Mini Mac, as well as putting more kitchenware on campus.

Q: Opponent you would vote for?

A: John

Q: Opponent's platform point you would vote for?

A: Tristan Paul – Clubs Opportunities Portal

“I feel like you need to immerse yourself in a club before you can be an executive.”

Q: Most ambitious goal?

A: Talk Tuition and affordable tuition

But Osazuwa believes that the most important issue for students is their tuition. Based on his own experience with the SRA, his plan is to form committees that will look to both educate and learn about how to relieve the burden of tuition.

“Tuition affects everyone; you pay tuition, I pay tuition, every student in the MSU pays tuition,” he said. “With conversations, with discussions, we can plant a seed for future generations that come into McMaster.”

“Any amount of money we can save for students is something I’m always proud to fight for.”

However, Osazuwa’s most important student issue also comes with his most unclear solution. It’s evident that Osazuwa believes in the power of playing a stronger advocacy role, but it’s doubtful as to whether any real impact can be made on McMaster’s tuition. His stance on effecting change with tuition and with women in governance is primarily through committees and mentorship programs, so their tangible success will be difficult to evaluate.

Gender-neutral washrooms are also a part of Osazuwa’s campaign to make McMaster a more accessible and safe space for all people. Rather than overhauling the entire washroom infrastructure on campus, Osazuwa is looking to change signs of single-stall washrooms into gender-neutral washrooms.

“For me, it’s just about breaking the stereotype that somebody must identify as male or female,” said Osazuwa.

One potential incongruity in his plan is the close overlap and association of single-stall washrooms with accessibility washrooms, though. Osazuwa was unsure of the total number of single-stall washrooms on campus, but noted that incorporating the washrooms will require “an education process [...] so everyone can get accustomed to this.”

Osazuwa certainly has a unique take on what it means to be MSU President, and is uniquely positioned as the champion for advocacy. His campaign for universal accessibility is based on both discussion and action, but whether his discussions will be effective are still up for debate.

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