DSU VP Academic and External Candidate: Masuma Khan

Running for re-election, helping students navigate university life

written by Chelsea McMillen
March 11, 2018 12:00 pm
Editor’ Note: This interview has been edited and formatted for style and clarity.

Name: Masuma Khan

Major, Year: Fifth year, International Development Studies

What position are you running for, and what responsibilities correspond with it?

I am currently re-running for Vice President Academic and External (VPAE).

The VPAE is the only executive position with two portfolios.

The Academic portfolio includes sitting on the Dalhousie Senate and all of its subcommittees. Senate is extremely important as policies like Dal’s Sexual Violence policy get approved through it as well as faculty programs and policies.  The VPAE chairs all senate caucus meetings as well as sit on any academic committee that the DSU appoints them to. Senate is one of the major responsibilities of the VPAE and this year we were able to increase student senator seat by 4, while also mandating equity seats and restructuring senate caucus so that it includes positions from all faculties and community groups mirroring DSU’s council membership.

The VPAE is also an Academic integrity officer for the university. The VPAE is in charge of supporting students through their academic issues. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping the student get in contact with the right people while other times effective advocacy and action from the VPAE to help support the student navigate issues of procedural fairness within academia. The VPAE is responsible for all student issues, from tuition fees, international students support, grad issues, 2SLGBTQ+ issues, Indigenous, Black and racialized issues,  student worker issues, survivor issues, etc.

Basically, the VPAE is there to help all student navigate university life.The second part of the portfolio is external and includes all of the union campaigns. In the past, the Union focused on campaigns that were not specific to DSU; however this year we have been solely focusing on Dal student issues. The VPAE also chairs the External Action Committee. The VPAE is commonly known as the VP Activism as it is the position that mobilizes students surrounding student issues. The VPAE also partakes in Lobbying government through the provincial government student roundtables.

The office the VPAE manages is the Dalhousie Student Advocacy Service.  While representing the union to all external organizations, the VPAE is also in charge of connecting with other student unions to examine student issues, looking at trends and ways to bridge advocacy efforts.

What are your goals if you are elected?

My campaign is separated into eight platform points:

1. Advocacy

DSAS support

Continuing Translation Project

Advocacy Service specific to survivors through Survivor Support Centre.

International Students: Creating Lobby Doc specific to Dalhousie international students with a focus on MSI, Differential fees, tenancy issues and academic integrity issues.

International Students Issues policy

Dal Specific lobby doc on NS provincial budget and Dalhousie Budget

Grad Students needs at Dal survey and Issues policy

Tuition fee issues policy

Survivors Issues policy

2SLGBTQ+ issues policy

Sexton Students Issues Policy

2. Experience (What I did this year)



Increased student representation on Dalhousie Senate by 4 seats

Mandated Equity Seats

Restructured Senate Caucus

Sat on all Senate sub-committees (SPGC, SPGC, SAPRC)

Student panelists on Senate Discipline Committee

Senate nonacademic conduct workgroup

Senate Nominating Committee

SLTC Action Task Force

Academic Integrity Officer for students

Ratification Of Academic Offences

Senate Caucus Chair (Biweekly meetings)

Sexualized Harassment and Resource Group (SHARG)

Work to create Academic Integrity Online Module of International Students

Post Secondary Education Coalition

Government Round Tables with Provincial Government

Met with Provincial Government on the strategy for Sexual Violence in Post Secondary institutions

DFA Solidarity



Vote About It Campaign

It Happens at Dal

Decolonize Education

Support The Report (With DASSS and DSS)

Hijab Kits (With NSPIRG)

Periods Are Bloody Expensive. Period.


Campaign meetings

External Action committee


3. Accountability

Creating infrastructure for the feedback system.

Surveys, Town Halls, World Cafes with societies and meetings with community groups to guide advocacy.

Town Halls: two in Fall semester, Two in Winter (Sexton, Carlton, Truro, Studley)

Publish Response rate to student emails.

Feed Back option on DSU webpage.

4. Engagement

Mobile office hours for Sexton, Truro, Studley, and Carlton (2 different campuses/week)

Hire students for specific to each campus to do tabling every week with DSU swag, event info and I am DSU swag

CKDU show with VPAE

Create Monthly Videos “VPAE VLOGS”

5. Accessibility

Create Campus Wide accessibility map made available on DSU app and in brail for printed copies.

Address access to the front doors of SUB.

Campaign “Address Access” designed to mandate Dal to make all campuses physically accessible

Menstrual products in every bathroom.

Create Tuition Fee Bursary Program

Tuition Fee Campaign “Budgets Are About Priorities”

Lobby university on having gender neutral bathrooms in every building and campus

Work with Equity and Accessibility office

Work with Students to create a society for students identifying with a disability

6. Equity


I am DSU

Budgets Are About Priorities!

Address Access

Voices of DSU

My pronoun

You are: Affirmations campaign


Women in STEM

It Happens at Dal 2.0

Graduates Advocate


7. Action

Take back the night at DAL

Tuition fee issues policy

Survivors Issues policy

2SLGBTQ+ issues policy

Lobby week with Dal Student Leaders

International student Academic integrity Workshops with DISA

Tenant rights workshops, one per semester.

Develop Dalhousie University Budget by students and present to BOG

Develop strong infrastructure for DSU Advocacy


8. Efficiency

Timeline of the full year

Will be producing quarterly reports on progress on DSU website and DSU app

No transition needed

Can start plan ASAP!


What is something interesting about you?

My rapper name is Khan The Don.

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