Peter Newhook, the newly acclaimed SSMU VP Finance & Operations, is considering resigning before his term even begins, and some on SSMU Council are expecting to start the process for appointing a new VP as early as this Thursday’s Council meeting.
Newhook, a newcomer to SSMU politics, said his decision is personal.
Rumours about Newhook’s resignation have been circulating around SSMU and the Management Faculty for at least a week and a half.
The weekend before candidates began campaigning, Newhook told The Daily that he had changed his mind and was no longer running for the position. However, Newhook participated in the SSMU executive debates two days later and denied ever dropping out.
Although no public announcement has been made, Elections McGill Chief Returning Officer Corey Shefman said several students have contacted him about filling the potential vacancy.
Newhook said that he has tried to keep the situation quiet, fearing the rumours might tarnish his reputation should he decide to stay at SSMU.
“I don’t want it to be perceived the wrong way…. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot before it’s started,” Newhook said, shortly after the election results were announced Friday.
What would happen if Newhook no longer wants the job is unclear. According to SSMU by-laws, a candidate may only withdraw before voting has commenced, and is officially elected the business day after the election – today.
And while the Constitution states SSMU Council shall elect a replacement from within Council upon the resignation of a VP, since SSMU executives only assume office on June 1, Newhook may not be able to “resign” until he actually holds office, as there seems to be no provision for it. Other seemingly missing provisions include whether there would be a by-election, an appointment, or another procedure if a VP resigns after being elected but before assuming office.
This brings intense pressure on Council, some of whose members were told of the possible resignation and the importance of keeping it under wraps.
Yahel Carmon, SSMU Speaker and close friend of Newhook’s, is a likely nominee should Newhook drop out, according to a councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity. Carmon, who worked on Newhook’s campaign, admitted that he had been interested in running for VP Finance & Operations, but ultimately chose not to for family reasons.
Carmon, who presides over Council and only holds his appointed office until May 31 – before the new Executive takes office – was shocked about his association with the controversy when approached by The Daily.
“I felt confidence Peter was a competent candidate. If I’d had doubts, I would’ve run,” Carmon said.
– with files from Jennifer Markowitz and Nicholas Smith