Candidate profile: Dante Agosti-Moro, Senate

Third-year commerce student Dante Agosti-Moro is running for senator-at-large on a platform of championing systemic change, reforming appeals processes and improving support for student learning.

Agosti-Moro said experience sets his platform apart from the opposition — he’s been on Senate for two years and is co-chair of the Student Senate Caucus.

“I have the knowledge and understanding to make my platform points become a reality,” Agosti-Moro said. “These positions have allowed me to foster connections and gain the institutional knowledge needed to … continue my work in the Senate.”

In his two years of experience, Agosti-Moro has narrowed down his priorities to what he believes the Senate really needs.

“The Senate, for a body that’s made up of mostly elected persons, is deeply untransparent,” Agosti-Moro said. “The vast majority of the work is done in its committees, which are not open to the public … You don’t get to see the discussions, the reasoning why. I believe that that is deeply untransparent and unfair and that needs to change.”

Agosti-Moro believes that term limits are necessary to get fresh perspectives in the Senate, for both students and faculty.

“It's wonderful to want people to get involved,” he said, “but when you have faculty who have been serving quite literally for decades in the Senate … you lose the ability to bring in those fresh viewpoints.”

However, Agosti-Moro noted that systemic change can be an obstacle as much of it can be done during the triennial review periods.

“Any large-scale change that’s not a simple change of the role is going to be lofty. It’s going to need dedicated students to back it up.”

In the first debate, Agosti-Moro pressed new candidates on specifics and demanded accountability from incumbents.

Hoping to continue his work on the appeals committees, Agosti-Moro called the process where the Senate hears appeals on academic decisions or discipline for academic or nonacademic misconduct “deeply flawed and unfair to students,” especially for international students or those whose first language may not be English. He believes these procedures tend to favour the university.

“Quite often the university is there with lawyers and students are there with themselves, trying their best to make their case heard,” he said.

In discussing challenges facing this position, Agosti-Moro says that there’s clear evidence of unequal treatment for faculty and students in the Senate, stating that “students need to work twice as hard to be heard.”

“We come with the same knowledge, experience and expertise,” he said. “We are not students who happen to be senators, we are senators who happen to be students with the same rights and voices as every other member of the Senate.”

Voting is open online from March 1 until March 5. This article is part of our 2021 AMS elections coverage.