Yellow and green dynasty

“Vote [insert name], vote UTM [insert keyword],” reads the campaign material that pollutes my Facebook newsfeed. I smile.

Before you and I were students on this campus, there was Yellow, and Yellow decided it liked the then newly built Student Centre way too much to ever let go. Yellow was clever, to say the least: it built a team of students with strong political interest. If this was Greek mythology, then these early student leaders were gods.

To be fair, they worked tirelessly and hard and the efforts showed. The turnout to most events was consistent—this was before the days of social media—and strong. Yellow prided itself on having built this from nothing. However, as with all things, change happened. Yellow, however, only liked the change that it brought about, so it sought to resist the rest.

It was easy in the beginning, really. The only opposition would come from students who had no track record in student politics and were comfortably walked over by Yellow and its team. However, Yellow anticipated competition in the future, so it sought to squash it prematurely. This gave birth to the caucus.

The caucus was an informal group consisting of student group leaders with the most outreach to the student body. The caucus decided to screen their candidates and put them through an interview before the nomination period to achieve two things: it ensured the strongest candidates made it through and let the losing candidates know that they would face a monumental task in gathering votes. Before the nomination period had even begun, teams were decided, campaign materials were published, and the race was effectively over. There was some discontent, but it was always kept internal. Yellow preached family and ties and any problems were nipped in the bud. Yellow also sought to befriend the loudest frosh leaders, the first-year students with aims of changing the world, and the previous executives.

However, gradually, there was a decline in the quality of the executives and Yellow thrived on exercising control. It was Yellow’s master plan and it was proud of it.

In 2009, two things happened that upset Yellow: a former executive joined The Medium, and a group of students on the union’s board of directors showed their intentions by coordinating a failure to approve the agenda for a board meeting because agendas had been sent out the night before at 4 a.m. Yellow had been around long enough to know this would be an ugly year. It did not foresee how dirty it would get.

Hacked emails, malicious slander, threatening phone calls, and tense faceoffs ensued. The campus bled. There was Yellow and there was Blue. Students were legitimately confused. Blue was made up of the same people that had worked with Yellow. However, Yellow’s experience shone. It manoeuvered Yellow to a strong victory. The meeting to ratify the results was the highest-attended meeting of possibly all time—hell, it was even videotaped. Words flew and the board voted in favour of ratifying the results. Yellow had successfully managed to ridicule and alienate Blue.

In the grander scheme of things, it squashed any competition for the foreseeable future. Yellow had won just like it did many years ago and has enjoyed a peaceful term since. Any time talk of a competition is brought up, people talk about Blue and think twice. Yellow, in all likelihood, will still be there when you are done with this campus.

“Why?” I hear you ask. I don’t know for sure, but I can certainly refer to select past events to shed some light on potential reasons.

The arrest of a UTSU executive for the Gardiner protest in 2009. UTMSU introduced a motion to successfully donate our student money towards the legal fund to fight the case for the said executive. It would not have happened under a different regime.

The donations UTMSU made to the Canadian Arab Foundation “in solidarity”. The chair for the board in 2009 was closely involved with CAF.

The presence of Canadian Federation of Students campaigners at UTM to campaign against Blue. It’s like me coming to your house and telling you whether to side with your mom or dad in case of a disagreement.

The caucus, a group of individuals deciding a team before the nomination period and making every effort to keep this off the record. Any time anyone is comfortable taking an action that affects the public but would like to keep it off the record sets warning bells ringing in my mind.

That’s just a few that jump to mind. I would say I’ll let you decide for yourselves in this upcoming election period, but only 5% of you can think for yourselves anyways.

Till next time.


Nabeel Jafri

UTM alumnus


  1. Mr. Jafri, you sir, are a ninja. Really enjoyed reading this wonderfully not-subtle piece of writing.
    Glad to have an alumnus like you still engaged in his alma mater.

  2. Mr. Jaffri is a bitter Alumni who has sought office and lost. So is your current editor in Chief. This is rubbish. The facts are clear. Those that have sought to be elected and lost are bitter and can’t just get over the facts that a majority of students did not support them. I hope Jafri found a job as a fiction writer.

    • Haha yes! I was so bitter I spent the entire third and fourth year complaining about it. It was hardly a surprise that I was unable to find time for other activities on campus afterwards- Undergraduate Commerce Society, Coach/Captain for UTM Extramural Cricket Team, Sports Producer for UTM/TV, Board Member for LKC FLC (p.s nominated by faculty, not voted in blindly), Top 3 finish at RITC (beating out grad students from Dartmouth, MIT, Chicago, Rotman, Western), winning the stock challenge, creating an orientation program for first year students, Dept. of Economics Honor Roll, etc).

      Wish I could just have stayed with the union for the rest of my life! Like many others before me…

      • That’s your comeback to Mr. Jafri’s ninga skills? Calling him a “loser.” Damn, you should’ve spoken with the Elections Committee beforehand to come up with a “smart” response — follow the rules now.

    • Yes, the facts are clear, but you’ve got who sees ’em and who ignores ’em the wrong way around. For all the other things UTMSU has done, there’s one thing I probably won’t get over for a while, and that’s sending two executives to the Medium to confirm that there was no inaccuracy in an article and yet saying to volunteers and in lectures that the Medium was spreading misinformation and lies. Inarguably documented, and highly unprofessional

    • Mr. Jafri is an inspiration and a role model to students in UTM especially in the Commerce and Finance program he has graduated from. The fact that he continues to be interested in campus affairs even after his graduation says much about where his interests and incentives lie.

      In the end, actions speak louder than words and at this point I think Nabeel has done more for this campus than any student I have met here ever has.

  3. UTM,

    Don’t be duped. The student paper that you have to contribute $8 to
    has been taken over by Admin hacks called Team renew. The current editor
    in chief is a bitter loser. Her former team are talking smack because
    their resume admin kissing ass didn’t get them elected.

    This story started back in 2010, when team Renew was delivered the
    smack down by Vickita and her team. That campaign was dirty. Team renew
    complained about everything to get vickita and her team disqualified,
    because they knew if the votes were counted, they were going to lose.

    So who are members of Team Renew:

    Henry Ssali- President – Still around.

    Marc Bressler- VP Internal – Still around.

    Stefanie Marotta- VP External – Current Editor in Chief

    Amreet Kaur- VP Equity – She moved on, that’s nice.

    Nabeel Jafri- VP University Affairs – Alumni, but still hates on by writing editorials.

    Ali Karim- VP Part Time Student Affairs – Graduated, but hates alot on facebook.

    So the Medium this year has been so biased. They don’t want to report
    the real news. The work students or clubs are doing, all we hear is
    UTMSU this, UTMSU that. Why? Well coz stefanie and her team renew crew
    has a grudge against the winner of the day – the yellow & green
    dynasty. Players gonna play, haters gonna hate. The student union does
    so much good and sometimes not so good, but what really bothers many of
    us is why is Stefanie not reporting on the real news, like the actions
    of the university, the ones calling the shots and using our tuition to
    build useless statutes of UTM.

    Seriously is that where our tuition should be going. I also heard
    from utmsu reps that they ave administrators that govern them. And wait
    for it…. they have no damn elections. WTF? Why are you talking shit
    about UTMSU when you can’t have an election? Don’t preach democracy,
    practice it hun. Finally i would like to leave you with a nice picture
    of Stefanie and team renew… They are laughing at us, coz they are
    using the medium to trash-talk after they have lost their elections.

    • I laughed.

      We should all drop fees and worship the union. Also, this was my second editorial and first one in three years. Can you tell me where the rest are? I also have every single issue of the Medium ever published in my time at UTM. Not because I enrolled and started hating the union from my first day but because I’m nerdy and involved like that. See earlier detailed reply below.

      I have never read the Medium point fingers at the UTMSU- all that has been done is fact reporting.You can scroll back through the years and realize that the likes of Ali Kasim, Andrew Hamilton, Saaliha Malik all reported the facts. You claim there is democracy? How about Saaliha’s 2010 article where two major club presidents admitted to being part of a secret caucus? Or Ali Kasim who realized the proxy scandal the UTMSU Annual AGM (which I have seen internal email’s corroborate to each other but vehemently deny to the public)? Or Andrew’s continuous efforts to make peace with the union but being repelled everytime because Andrew likes to ask questions and genuinely cares? You will not find a more honest politician than Andrew. So no, player’s don’t gotta play if the game is rigged. I dared, and so did Stef. I am glad I did and much more glad I lost because I still made a difference to the student body on this campus.

      You want the Medium to cover the University expenditures? My friend, open your eyes and actually pick up the Medium on your own once in a while. The Medium covers every thing that happens on this campus because you know, independent media source and all that. It is not going to leave the UTMSU unaccounted for ‘in solidarity’.

      Also, what would you rather have your tuition go to then? To pay for a union which increases it’s dues to fund a U-Pass that 10% of the student body uses? You’re real smart. Please never take a logic class.

      Practicing democracy is backing arguments with facts. Again, read my earlier reply below and tell me if you still think I did not do enough for the campus. Your reply is based on rhetoric- the only concrete fact you mention is me laughing at you. I do that everyday because the only people that could see through the union bullshit have moved on with life. It’s pure entertainment for me now :)

      Also, you can post under your name. Don’t worry- we don’t use Yellow tactics of attacking students in public claiming they are recording us, pulling them into offices to dissuade their nominations or calling them in the middle of the night for weeks on end.

      We’re nice people! :)

      • bit of a hypocrite with this remark:

        “Don’t worry- we don’t use Yellow tactics of attacking students in public claiming they are recording us, pulling them into offices to dissuade their nominations or calling them in the middle of the night for weeks on end.”

    • [Sure, let’s have two of the exact same discussion on two articles :p]

      Just to let you know, to anyone reading with a critical eye, your comment comes across as desperate—incorrect facts, random allegations of bias, and of course the usual petty character attacks. Also, the comment about the administration comes across as paranoia. Honestly, it’s not helping you. :p

      For future reference, it helps to say things you can support, and it’s especially good if they’re true, unlike “They have no damn elections.” Candidate speeches and debates were Friday, voting was Sunday. There was some pretty heated and interesting discussion at the candidate speeches (for some parts, of course, not all), and the turnout easily surpassed that of the UTMSU all-candidates debate. It helped that one position had five candidates. And yes, unfortunately some other positions were unopposed, but that didn’t mean they automatically got in; one unopposed candidate was voted out.

      I wonder if the reason you don’t see the “real” (i.e. other) news is that you don’t bother to actually read the paper except when your names come up. And I hope this being posted here doesn’t stem from the same confusion the Connect candidates showed at the debate about the difference between a news and an opinion section.

    • P.S. Why does the union never bother to reply when faced with actual proof of its misdemeanours? Total silence about the issue mentioned above.

    • Could you please state your sources before making grand claims? Here are the corrections to your many errors regarding The Medium.


      1. The Medium is not governed by admin. The only members of the board with votes are elected students.

      2. The Medium does have elections and they’ve been advertised in The Medium for the past month. Consistent contributors are eligible to vote in editorial elections and elections for the Board of Directors are posted online for all UTM students to cast their vote.

      3. The Medium has spent all year reporting on a variety of student topics, including clubs, the university, and arts. Here are some examples from this week alone:

      Blackwood Gallery:

      UTM Environment Field Course:

      UTM Dance Team:

      Wealthy Barber comes to UTM:

      UTM Arts Festival:

      Health Seminar at the RAWC:

      UTM International Centre:

      Not to mention the full page spread we reserved for Style and Profile’s annual show (Page 7):

      As for reporting about university affairs and governance, here’s the article we ran after the town hall on the new Campus Council:

    • Those $8 I gave to the Medium is still money better spent than the God knows how much I paid to a student union that continues to campaign to make life even worse for me with useless and sometimes outright harmful programs, failed campaigns (Student Centre expansion, but let’s not talk about that, shall we?), and inflated salaries for piss-poor jobs.

      We can agree that statue is useless, but why didn’t UTMSU sound a peep to protest this? Where were the disgruntled campaigns and sit-downs and crap at the pure waste of our tuition dollars? You people only talk, talk, talk. It might do you well to do.

      • didn’t people just find out it’s cost yesterday at ECC? it was definitely brought up and approved in RPPC. perhaps passed through the minutes? i saw a UTMSU pic being shared of the rocks and its cost. pretty popular

        • Please. If UTMSU wanted to talk about it they would have talked about it. Problem is, they just love to pander and put themselves in a good light by playing politics.

          You want me to believe that Christopher Thompson had no idea about this statue and no clue what it cost us? If he did, he’s just playing us. If he didn’t, he is being disturbingly apathetic of his job representing the students of UTM. Either way he fucked up.

          Admitting mistakes is the first step towards fixing them.

    • I agree the campaign was dirty, and Bhatia and her slate were covered in mud. I guess when you come from countries where dictatorship is rife and corruption is everywhere, you have nothing but disdain for Canadian democracy.

      When it’s your people that count the votes, it doesn’t matter how many vote for the other people. Tell me, is it going to take an armed insurrection to get our Canadian democracy back? Damn you for bringing dictatorship to Canada and polluting our institutions with corruption. GTFO

    • I’d love nothing more than to sit down and reflect on the verity of your claims; however, your lack of professionalism disgusts me. If you’re at a loss as to what I’m referring to, allow me to enlighten you:

      1) “talking smack”
      2) “smack down”
      3) “hates on”
      4) “A lot” is two words, not one
      5) “coz”
      6) “Players gonna plan, haters gonna hate”
      7) “Seriously is that where our tuition should be going.” It’s a question! You need a question mark at the end, not a period!
      8) “WTF”
      9) “talking shit”

      And this is not considering punctuation. Do yourself a favour – smarten up and, more importantly, grow up. Writing this dismally isn’t going to get you anywhere.

      On a more colloquial note, man-the-fuck-up and use your real name.

  4. The numbers of things that Mr Jafri has hilighted are problematic in nature.

    Coming from a guy who lost an election and peddled his way through the students’ union brokering deals with 2 VPs who planned to run in the students union and a guy who was responsible for ridicule, chastisement and alienation of others, and who also brought (with his team) outside campaigners to campaign for his own team (“blue”) at UTM in 2010.

    The supposed UTSU executive who was arrested in 2009, not true. It was in fact a staff person who was part of a rally and was a targeted arrest. It is questionable of why she was arrested and what motivated her arrest and subsequent support. However the UTMSU board, which Mr Jafri was apart of, was on that board and disagreed with said decision, approved the motion and was done so legally.

    I think the issue here at UTM is that it is not a dynasty per say, but that its a group of hard working and comfortable people. Same ideas, new faces. People on campus have become comfortable with how the student union is working.

    Perhaps too comfortable. Is the students union upto anything corrupt? Nothing has been shown or proven.

    Has the students union not been reaching out to students? Nothing has been shown to prove they aren’t working.

    Are new people getting involved? Yes, but not in large numbers.

    Has there been progress on old ideas? Yes there has (UPASS available for ALL students [Part TIme or Full time alike]).

    Are people running the UTMSU elections? Yes, but no other teams running?

    Issues rouse up people to run. Turnouts will increase based on the issues that come up.

    I would love to see 2 full teams running. Or even better, CONTESTED DIRECTOR POSITIONS! There is a place where ANYONE CAN WIN and can strongly influence the students union if enough people win on the board! And also ensure that executives are actually upto working and not slacking (which does happen often).

    Id also evaluate who gets hired in the coordinator positions and their personal relationships with the executive.

    Of the UTM Renew or “Blue”team. The only people who were passionate to run about actual student issues were Stefanie, Amreet, Mark and Ali Karim. (all of whom are actually going somewhere in life and I wish them all the best)

    Henry was very self interested and wanted glory and power. Nabeel ran because he needed money.

    Mr Jafri, get your facts straight and learn to take a loss with dignity, not like a baby.

    • Here are some links to answer your allegations.

      UTMSU board meeting minutes June 2009 about the UTSU Executive Director’s donation motion
      I am on record as stating my opposition to the donation. also on record with the medium opposing the donation. yes, I was part of the board but I also had my own voice.

      Most of what you mention is the same thing I talk about in my letter. Except I maintain our campus is apathetic because of what they have seen over the past few years. My class was relatively involved and I attribute that to the Frosh we went to. it was loud, boisterous and wonderful. When was the last time we had a strong frosh?

      I’d also like to evaluate who get’s hired by the union- did you know that associates to the executives are nominated and then hired? there is no formal application process required by the UTMSU policy manual? Nice.

      Yes, I ran and I lost but I realize that nothing in life is personal. I have never carried grudges. If I did, I would have resorted to attacking personnel’s just like you resorted to attacking me.

      • is 33% voter turnout in your elections run apathy? In the UPASS referendum, is 52% voter turnout show apathy?

        I see any kind of decline of turnout as a loss of engagement that has yet to be ignited.

    • Thank you for resorting to a personal attack.

      I think both you and I agree that the issues the student union faces are problematic- however there is nothing that says we should look at the same solution. For example: What if I were to say that the Union should forget issues like student’s against israeli apartheid and focus on something related directly to our campus? I would be ridiculed. Where would my freedom of speech go then?

      I disagree with you on that we now have new faces and same old ideas. I think we have old faces that don’t like new ideas. There has always been a couple of identifiable faces with the union and some of them have been here forever. I have not made any accusations of corruption or financial wrongdoings- simply stated facts that have been covered and reported in years prior.

      I’ll take an example you cite- I don’t think U-Pass for part time students is a good idea. A U-Pass is supposed to help students commute to and from school. A part time student by definition is part-time because of other commitments- family/work/etc. It is safe to say there priority is not school. Why should they get subsidized for external transport which is not related to school? I disagree with that subsidy. Doesn’t make sense to me. That’s my point of view and a few other people. I doubt the union would entertain it for more than a second before labeling me as a ‘bitter candidate who lost’.

      The fact that we have candidates running in teams is symptomatic of our issues- how are teams being formed before the nomination period? Isn’t that pre-campaigning?

      You talk about evaluating co-ordinator hires- I would ask you to look into associate hiring. Did you know the UTMSU policy manaul only requires nomination from an executive to be an associate? Interesting.

      So writing an article and defending my point of view with reason and humor while being personally attacked makes me a bitter candidate? Then I guess using a fake id and resorting to personal attacks makes you an open and informed student. Just the type our student union likes too!

      • Now that’s great you’re entitled to your personal opinion about a UPASS for Part Time students. Perhaps letting actual part time students speak up about the issue. Many part time students have taken advantage of the UPASS to goto school, work and home. Aren’t the burdens of Part Time students any less than Full time students? Yes in course load, but pressures are the same for any individual in a university education. It’s about equitable access rather than uptake. and Part Time students now are not being subsidized by full time students. Go check out the city budgets or the financials behind the UPASS agreement and progression.

        The union would be open to all concerns, but it seems your arguments didn’t hold weight or popularity. Perhaps you and your friends agreed on the same things, but it didn’t translate into reaching more people.

        I think its easy to be a critic, but not easy to peddle your issue to seek popularity. Try it for once.

        As for associates, there have recently been job postings and formal interview processes for these positions. Maybe not in the year you were a board member, as you were also an associate. That year was fucked as it was.

        there is a growing trend of people who show a form of “dissent” to be granted sainthood, where people in a union are corrupt oligarchs who are all inhuman and robotic in nature.

        Sure you have differing opinions, but its always about how your argument and principles on the issue at hand can get others to agree and support you. Elections should be issues driven. People win cuz of the issues on their platform.

        yes, you lost an election. you still had a good amount of votes in your favour which is an accomplishment. But don’t think its fair for you to chastise people who won and say it was the system favouring them. They run in an election the same as you. They win cuz of their pull on campus based on their work, their circle of networks and the ISSUES they present.

        UTMRENEW had more elected representatives and popularity on their team (VP External of UTMSU, 2 Board members (who were also associates to the executive), President of the Residence Council, Assistant News Editor of the Medium, President of the UTM Women’s Center). Strong team eh?

        Students United had (VP Equity of UTMSU, 1 EPUS Class Rep who didn’t do shit, 1 Associate to VP Equity, 1 board member (also an associate), 2 club presidents) see strong differences?

        Both teams were responsible for a record elections turnout at their campus.

        But again, when you write articles about individuals involved in unions. Your allegations are although supposedly directed at the organization they are apart of, but the organization is run by people who are flogged, attacked and thrown out like yesterdays trash.

        Is it okay for you to attack individuals but not be attacked yourself?

        Answer for anyone.

        • You talk about equitable access but I’m more of an efficiency person myself. For the said UPASS referendum, I changed my display picture on facebook where I crossed out the U-Pass and replaced it with money to read “Save your money”.

          Less than an hour later, my President for UCS as well as VP External for UCS contacted me because they had been approached by a UTMSU executive (who is still involved with the union!) who voiced his concern over “UCS” not supporting the U-Pass referendum. I was instructed to take the picture down because UCS did not want undue friction with the Union. Tell me, is that a freedom of speech that was infringed upon? I did not agree with the issue but because I did not want to compromise my society, I was forced to take the picture down. I have the conversation (with names) archived because it reminds me of the many reasons I am glad I lost the elections.

          When I criticize the union, I am criticizing an environment. I am not criticizing the individuals involved. I remember in the Frosh of 2009 when a Froshie questioned the Drop Fees campaign and was ridiculed by the executives. I laughed along with everyone else but took me two years to realize that the culture I was so proud to be a part of was wrong.

          The slates that win used to do so because of the caucus as has been well documented in the Medium. To give you an example- the University Cricket Club stayed neutral in the 2010 elections. Next year they received little to no funding and no club office for staying neutral. They had no change in personnel, excellent relations with the union and a very involved club. It’s a pity that union politics affected them. I still enjoy excellent personal relations with many of the club presidents I asked for endorsement- they confirmed that they supported the incumbents because they did not want funding/booking issues.

          You’re right- maybe we did not campaign about the issues- I mean a heated bus shelter? I wonder who thought of that.

          I regret to say that in retrospect, I would have done things differently. I would have participated more as a director and approached issues more critically. However, I changed my ways and learnt from the mistakes I made in the election to give back to the campus in a different from over my last two years.

          Your attacks do not carry meaning. I don’t understand why you bring out the fact that my personal campaign is the be all, end all reason I wrote this piece? You might find it hard to believe but I moved on a couple of months after I lost. Sure it was hard but it didn’t happen so I got on with life. My continued involvement on campus and subsequent recognition is a testament to that.

    • I suspect you’re the same guy posting under three different names. If so, that’s sad. If not, UTMSU’s sad. A couple of things in your comment:

      “However the UTMSU board, which Mr Jafri was apart of, was on that board and disagreed with said decision, approved the motion and was done so legally.”

      Yes: I believe this is part of Mr Jafri’s complaints. While such an action might have been “legal”, it’s not “right.” He believes we should NOT pay for these expenses.

      “Same ideas, new faces.”

      That’s more of his criticism. The ideas are in his opinion not working. All these new faces are doing diddly-squat.

      “UPASS available for ALL students [Part TIme or Full time alike])”

      That must be nice for part-time students, but it’s the full-time students that are primarily paying for it. I have been in this university for three years. Is this all you can cite for me as proof of progress? If so, three years of executive teams have been woefully unproductive.

      Keep up the classy act.

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