Team ForYe announced their candidacy as the first slate in the 2019 University Students' Council elections.
Science Students’ Council president Frank Ye and Social Science Students’ Council president Jared Forman are running for president and vice-president, respectively. The pair have been significantly involved in student leadership during their time at Western.
Ye and Forman served as USC councillors in their third year. Ye, an interdisciplinary medical sciences student, also served as vice-chair of the Advocacy Standing Committee and executive training facilitator at Ally Western during his third year. Forman, an international relations student, has been the vice-president of academics for the Association of International Relations since his second year.
As USC councillors, they worked closely together to pass a number of motions, including motions to mandate sexual violence prevention training for councillors, establish a mature student issues committee and an LGBTQ2+ committee, leading to the installation of gender-neutral washrooms.
Ye and Forman have a long-standing friendship, as they attended middle school, high school and university together. When they first arrived at Western University, they had no intention of getting involved in student politics.
Ye started out as a residence soph at Ontario Hall in his second year, where he gradually grew an interest in student affairs.
“That's where my desire to advocate for students and get involved in the USC really came forward, because I noticed there were a lot of issues for a lot of communities that weren't being addressed by the [University] Students’ Council or by the school administration in general,” he said.
For Forman, an interest in student governance was motivated by personal experience.
“It was only after seeing some troubling instances in residence in first year; particularly, some people I'm very close with who dealt with instances of sexual violence on this campus. That was really the impetus for me to get involved in student politics,” said Forman.
Ye and Forman’s platform highlights six pillars: mental health and wellness, sexual violence prevention, campus sustainability, improved academics, improving the Western experience and increasing campus diversity. Overall, they intend to prioritize mental health and student safety on campus.
With their action plan, they would push to hire more mental health professionals, particularly from more diverse backgrounds. They also intend to expand the currently offered self-defence program to increase campus safety, as well as engage with bars on Richmond Row to provide adequate bystander training for intervening in situations involving harassment, assault or otherwise.
Ye and Forman explained they consulted with over 80 student leaders and community partners to inform their vision and understanding of student experience.
“This platform is a students' platform; it's built with the input of a variety of communities, and we want to be a microphone, particularly for communities who have been ignored in the past on this campus,” said Forman.
Correction (12:36 p.m., Jan. 16): Ye was a residence soph in second-year, not first-year.