Jack Saddleback first transgender person elected USSU president
Saddleback is the fourth Aboriginal students' union president at the University of Saskatchewan
Jack Saddleback was nominated Thursday as the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union president.
Saddleback, who previously served as the Vice President of Student Affairs, is the fourth Aboriginal and first transgender students' union president at the university. He said the significance of his election isn't lost on him.
"The fact that people don't think of me as just a trans man, don't think of me as just a First Nations man," he said. "They see all the skills that I have, they see the fact that I've put in work for a number of years and have been so invested in our university to make it a better place for all students."
Saddleback ran on a fourpoint platform, which included working towards a mental health strategy on campus.
"I've had a huge passion for mental health for a number of years," he said.
Saddleback has sat on the Mental Health Commission of Canada's Youth Council for five years. He also served as one of the five faces of mental illness with the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in their national anti-stigma campaign.
He sees a need for more services on campus.
"Right now, the University of Saskatchewan does not have a mental health strategy. When we're looking at the mental health of, not only students, but staff and faculty, we have to ensure that we're looking at all our services, noticing, and acknowledging those gaps that are happening right now," he said.
"We need to ensure our campus community is looking after the mental health of individuals."
The other three points of Saddleback's platform included establishing a clear sexual assault policy on campus, student engagement on campus, and community engagement off campus.
Saddleback won the election with 2302 votes, or 47.66 per cent of the votes. He ran against Noah Kelleher who garnered 34.24 per cent of the votes.
Ata Merat was elected with a vote of confidence to serve as the vice president of operations and finance, and Gabe Senecal will serve as the vice president of academic affairs. Kehan Fu will fill Saddleback's former position as the vice president of student affairs.