Candidate Profiles: Rector election sees six candidates running

Candidates talk equity, student engagement

Voting to take place Mar. 20 and 21.

Six candidates are running to be Queen’s 38th Rector—Caitlin Sankaran-Wee, ArtSci ’24, Leo Yang, ArtSci ‘25, Sahiba Gulati, ArtSci ’23, William Bruce-Robertson, ArtSci ’25, Emils Matiss, MA ’22, and Owen Crawford-Lem, ArtSci ’23.

In an interview with The Journal, all six students spoke to their platform, vision, and goals.

Zeroing in on platforms

Sankaran-Wee’s platform pillars are communications, sustainability, and wellness.

Gulati’s platform centres on transparency of information, holistic student wellness, and student engagement—with a focus on Student Wellness Services (SWS).

“I think a big issue was the hiring of more BIPOC counsellors,” she said. “A higher amount of BIPOC counsellors will allow students to feel more represented and actually seek help.”

Crawford-Lem said he’d “put students first.” His platform looks at student relationships with the University, the Office of the Rector, and the community.

Yang’s platform is inspired by the ancient Chinese Classic Art of War—his pillars are wind, force, fire, and mountain. They represent immediate and long-term action.

Matiss’ platform centres on justice and empowerment. He hopes to repeal academic measures that diminish the quality of education. He’s also “passionate about equity.”

​​“I hope to explore and advocate for more enrolment routes for historically excluded groups,” he said.

Bruce-Robertson’s platform is built around hard work, communication, and change. If elected, he intends to address “whatever students think needs to be changed.”

Committing to the role

To reduce her workload, Gulati hopes to implement student representatives to “voice student problems within their own faculties.”

Both Crawford-Lem and Matiss spoke to past Rectors to assess what the role entails and were confident they understood the reality of the position.

Sankaran-Wee and Bruce-Robertson pointed to their past academic and extracurricular experience as evidence of their time-management skills.

Addressing the needs of all students

Sankaran-Wee’s communication pillar includes an advisory board that will “represent intersectional values.” If elected, she would also conduct monthly consultations with student groups.

Similarly, Gulati and Bruce-Robertson said they’d host consultations and Crawford-Lem would hold open office hours.

Yang proposed a website for students to confidentially submit concerns.

Student engagement

Sankaran-Wee has been using social media to instil trust and promote election turnout, while Gulati proposed a cultural showcase to increase student engagement.

Bruce-Robertson and Crawford-Lem both agreed a “lack of information” was a barrier to engagement. Bruce-Robertson would bring student initiatives together while Crawford-Lem would partner with clubs.

Yang would “find somebody that is good at marketing” to combat low student engagement.

What I’m going to do is going to create an advisor report with different marketing people, and also some people from Commerce,” he said.

Student wellness and mental health

Sankaran-Wee would focus on streamlining requests for Academic Consideration.

Gulati would implement a support texting line to combat long SWS wait times. She said students would volunteer and undergo the appropriate training. Crawford-Lem echoed SWS inefficiencies and said he would advocate for higher pay and benefits for SWS staff to attract higher quality counsellors.

Yang targeted the Peer Support Centre, where he’d advocate to hire upper-year Psychology students rather than “psychological therapists.”

Matiss drew on insights gained from a recent meeting with Cynthia Gibney, SWS Director.

[Gibney] is doing her best to operate based on student needs—rather than just policy,” he said. “While our health insurance benefits for mental health might seem paltry, they are in fact the most generous in Ontario andmany non-traditional benefits for mental health exist and should be shared more broadly.”

Voting for the Rector position will take place Mar. 20 and 21 for all SGPS and AMS members via a ranked-choice email ballot.

With files from Asbah Ahmad and Anne Fu.


This piece has been updated to more accurately reflect the views of a candidate. A previous version of this piece stated a canidate opposed certain health measures rather than certain academic measures.

The Journal regrets the error

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

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