Meet the candidates for undergraduate student body president and vice president

In an unprecedented year, only one pair of candidates announced their campaign for president and vice president.

Courtesy+of+Abdulaziz+Mohamed+and+Samiat+Ajibola

Courtesy of Abdulaziz Mohamed and Samiat Ajibola

Ava Thompson

Aspiring to emphasize the needs of students on campus, Abdulaziz Mohamed and Samiat Ajibola announced their candidacy for student body president and vice president in the upcoming undergraduate student government elections.

Mohamed, a second-year student and presidential candidate, is currently the federal government coordinator for the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) Government and Legislative Affairs Committee. Ajibola, a third-year student and vice presidential candidate, is the president of the Black Student Union and the MSA forum liaison of the African Student Association.

Mohamed and Ajibola are the only candidates running for the two positions. Last year, four pairs of candidates ran campaigns for the leadership roles. Students can vote in the undergraduate student government elections between March 22 and March 26.

As a central part of their campaign, Mohamed and Ajibola said they will focus on addressing student food and housing insecurity, mental health and police accountability within their first semester.

“Ultimately we decided to run because we believe that the University, and MSA in particular, can do better and be better for students,” Mohamed said. “Our University quite frankly has fallen short in meeting the basic needs of students.”

Mohamed and Ajibola said that they will hold the University accountable for meeting these needs.

“We don’t want to end with just having a conversation, but to provide concrete steps to put an action plan in place and ensure that the voices of students are not only heard but that it’s taken into account to change a lot of the systems that this University has been living in for the past hundreds of years,” Ajibola said.

Police accountability is another important component to Mohamed and Ajibola’s campaign. They plan to create equitable campus safety infrastructure to address campus safety concerns while holding the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) accountable.

Their platform includes advocating for a full demilitarization of UMPD and the implementation of a Civilian Police Accountability Council, composed of University community members with oversight over University police.

“I think when it comes to UMPD in particular, understanding and finding solutions to the current [policing] structure of UMPD requires recognizing systemic failures embedded within the institution of policing,” Mohamed said.

When asked why students should vote for them, Mohamed and Ajibola cited their previous leadership experience and willingness to step up to the role of president and vice president during challenging times.

“We believe that [students’] voices are essential to the change on this campus and in order to create that change,” Ajibola said. “We would like to collaborate with [students] to ensure that this is a campus that is equitable for each and every one of you.”