News | The Daily presents: Your guide to the SSMU elections

To help you naviagate the Students’ Society of McGill University maze, we offer for your amusement a breakdown of the exec positions, and some issues to watch out for.

President

The figurehead of the Students’ Society, the President is responsible for maintaining a productive atmosphere among the executive. As the President supports all of the VPs in their respective projects, he or she also oversees the Society’s direction. Some students feel SSMU has become a largely obsolete organization; it’s ultimately up to the President to turn this around.

General Assemblies have attracted much speculation this year, so McGill undergraduates will need a president who will make the process relevant and attractive. Also, Quebec’s tuition de-freeze and accessible education remain at the forefront in the President’s portfolio.

Kay Turner, the only current SSMU executive running and two-time Arts Undergraduate Society President RJ Kelford are vying for the position.

External Affairs

The VP External is responsible for ensuring undergrads are represented at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels and for mobilizing students. He or she is also SSMU’s link to the Montreal community.

After getting out of three student federations in three years, all on bad terms, SSMU is now flying solo. McGill students must elect a VP External who will keep McGill involved in the world of off-campus student politics.

Candidate Trevor Hanna is a former executive of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), which SSMU left last year. His opponent, Devin Alfaro, is currently an Arts rep to SSMU and the co-president of NDP McGill.

Clubs & Services

The VP C&S oversees the well-being of SSMU’s student clubs, services, and publications. He or she monitors their budgets, allocates office space, and helps new initiatives get off the ground.

The VP C&S faced flak this year from student clubs facing deep funding cuts in the wake of SSMU’s acquisition of Haven Books. As well, the University again went on the offence on groups using the McGill name. Both issues are now forefront in the campaign and VP C & S needs to be prepared to address them. Keen organizational skills are also a necessity for this position.

Johnson Fung and Samantha Cook will be on the ballot for C&S this year.

University Affairs

The VP UA is students’ most direct liaison to the Administration, and enjoys interminable meetings with administrators, negotiating student life, and academic programs.

This year, Adrian Angus has highlighted students’ concerns of liability and increasing red tape regulations. Students need a VP UA who will work hard to preserve student life on campus and develop an effective relationship with the admin, while checking its ever-encroaching control over Senate and the Board of Governors.

Nadya Wilkinson, acclaimed for the position, brings a strong interest in sustainability and promises to make the position more transparent to students.

Finance & Operations

The Fops VP is responsible for overseeing SSMU’s finances, and this position’s desk is already piled high. First on the list: the budget, and Haven Books. With an upstart new bookstore struggling with steep losses, and SSMU clubs and services taking the cut with budget slashes, Haven needs a plan, and fast.

But that’s just the start: Shatner’s Caferama lease expires this summer, another first-floor space is still empty, and Gert’s continues to lose money. Undergraduates need a VP who will not only organize these spaces, but who will make them into valuable resources for undergrads.

Rushil Mistry dropped out of the race for Fops after Tuesday’s debate, leaving Peter Newhook the acclaimed candidate.

Internal

SnowAP, 4Floors, Frosh – they’re all part of the VP Internal’s portfolio. While this VP should like to party hardy, he or she must also navigate the University’s tightening alcohol restrictions, and engage a largely apathetic and alienated student body.

In the past, the VP Internal has been consumed with the Society’s social calendar, but McGill students need a dynamic VP with a clear political focus. Accessing McGill’s francophone community is a must for this position, as is a strong grasp of sustainability. McGill students need to elect a VP who will continue Turner’s greening initiatives, while broadening the variety and accessibility of SSMU’s events.

Kevin Chambers, José Diaz, Brad Milech, and Julia Webster are all competing in the year’s most competitive race.


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