Rector Nick Francis takes office

Mike Cannon, Asad Chishti and Robyn Laing tie for second place in preferential voting

Nick Francis, ArtSci ’13, celebrates Wednesday night after being elected Queen’s 33rd rector. Francis won 52 per cent of the vote in the third round of preferential voting. See page 2 for full story.
Nick Francis, ArtSci ’13, celebrates Wednesday night after being elected Queen’s 33rd rector. Francis won 52 per cent of the vote in the third round of preferential voting. See page 2 for full story.

Nick Francis won the title of Queen’s rector with 52 per cent of the vote in the third round of preferential voting.

The six-candidate race for rector ended Wednesday night when the the elections team from the AMS and Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) visited Francis’ campaign party.

Francis, ArtSci ’13, said he’s ready to start work immediately.

“One of the things I’m excited to do is to start working on the Queen’s experience, in terms of revitalizing the spirit and the traditions,” Francis said after learning of his victory.

He said budget cuts are a pressing issue that he plans to address. “First thing to do is to set up a meeting with the Provost and start looking at the plans he has this year,” he said.

This was Francis’ second time running for rector. In January 2010 he ran as a first-year student and lost to Nick Day. He said he felt more confident this time around. “This year I felt more in control because I put in a lot of work,” Francis said, adding that his campaign team gave him strong support. “I got a lot of positive feedback about my campaign.”

He said the flash mob, held at the corner of University and Union Streets on Oct. 20, had a strong impact on students.

His competitors ran strong campaigns, Francis said.

“I know how hard it is to stand in front of all your peers, 22,000 students, and I commend them for coming out,” Francis said. “I hope it doesn’t discourage them from getting involved and running for anything else.”

Under the preferential voting system, candidates Mike Cannon, Asad Chishti and Robyn Laing tied for second place.

After learning about his loss, Cannon, ArtSci ’12, said he would fully support the winner.

“I do wish that the winner will come back and talk to the other candidates because I know we all have great ideas,” Cannon said. “I think implementing or at least asking for help from some of us would go very far.”

He said he doesn’t know what’s next for him but he was inspired by the support he received during the 10-day campaign period.

“The emails from random people who I’d never met before telling me they had heard me speak ... that encouraged me along the way,” Cannon said.

Asad Chishti was at Common Ground on election night; taking calls, using Facebook and talking with his core group of supporters.

Upon hearing the results Chishti, Sci ’14, said he felt relieved because he was worried about the responsibility of representing so many students at a high level. He said he’s happy to remain a member-at-large.

“I hope that Nick Francis puts students first,” Chishti said.

Chishti said he regrets that he didn’t create a strong base of supporters.

“I didn’t feel like I consolidated my own group among engineers and second-years,” he said.

Chishti took a leave of absence from his position as an assistant photo editor at the Journal until the end of the campaign period.

Robyn Laing said she was frustrated that her experience at Queen’s, as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society, didn’t result in a win.

“I found that some platforms were more substantial than others and it didn’t seem to really matter in this,” Laing, ArtSci ’11 and MES ’13, said.

“It’s frustrating that the campaign matters more.”

She said the large size of Francis’ team allowed him to be more visible on campus.

“My campaign team was three people large and Nick had a giant campaign team because he’s been gearing up for this for three years,” Laing said. “Essentially, it was just me running around and doing my posters and class talks.”

David Myers came in third place. He said he has has high hopes for the winner.

“I hope that the rector position will be more closely watched from now on,” Myers, ArtSci ’08 and JD ’13, said. “Hopefully the new rector will be the one Queen’s deserves.”

Even without the title of rector, Laura Stairs said she’ll continue to advocate for her platform points. She finished in fourth-place.

Stairs, ArtSci ’12, said as director of the AMS Food Centre she’ll work to increase sustainability and will promote discussions on equity through the Social Issues Commission.

Stairs was eliminated in the first round of preferential voting.

“I would’ve been able to do a lot more had I been elected rector but I know that despite losing like I’m still committed to every single one of those things,” Stairs said.

— With files from Terra-Ann Arnone, Cole Davison, Mike Green,Vincent Matak, Jordan Ray, Savoula Stylianou and Meaghan Wray

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