President : Chris Bangs
The Daily endorses Chris Bangs for SSMU President 2013-14. While Larson has a strong background of experience on SSMU and faculty councils, she hasn’t used these positions to effectively advocate for students. Bangs, in a myriad of ways, has used channels on campus to promote and fight for initiatives to better campus and student life. Bangs is familiar with both SSMU Council and executive portfolios, and his frequent attendance at both SSMU and faculty councils shows a deep commitment to student issues. Bangs’ platform also has more concrete steps and original ideas for his presidency.
SSMU President is the only undergraduate representative to the Board of Governors (BoG); Bangs has shown familiarity with the role and history of BoG’s decisions, and wouldn’t be afraid to extend his advocacy to the highest levels of decisionmaking.
The last few years have revealed a frightening attitude on the part of the McGill administration regarding SSMU. The loss of the use of the McGill name for student clubs and groups, the failure to listen to student (and alumni) voices, and the incredibly drawn-out lease negotiations – which will undoubtedly involve an increase in the rent that SSMU pays to McGill – are blows that recent SSMU executives have suffered at the hands of the University. Larson’s conciliatory approach and failure to take strong stances against these types of administrative decisions will translate into a dangerously weak executive and further loss of SSMU and student autonomy in years to come.
VP Clubs & Services : No
The Daily endorses a ‘No’ vote for Stefan Fong as VP Clubs & Services. The Clubs & Services portfolio has the most direct impact on students and student life, so an intimate familiarity with the wide array of clubs and services funded by SSMU is essential. Unlike his three predecessors – Allison Cooper, Carol Fraser, and Anushay Khan – Fong has a distinct lack of experience within the Clubs & Services portfolio. His somewhat conciliatory approach to the administration is also cause for concern – we need a representative who will stand up to administrators during lease negotiations and safeguard our use and shared ownersship hip of the McGill name.
VP External : Samuel Harris
The Daily endorses Samuel Harris for VP External. Harris’ commitment to connecting students with the greater Montreal community, with other universities, and with Quebec culture is something we’d like to see followed through – his plan of action leads us to believe it actually will be. Furthermore, Harris has spoken out against plans for tuition increases or indexation, a position that is in line with SSMU’s mandate to fight for accessible education.
Our only caveat concerns his desire to increase the visibility of TaCEQ, a largely ineffectual student federation on campus. Harris, a native Montrealer with a good grasp of the world of Quebec post-secondary education, should be advised to get McGill students a voice where they may actually be heard.
VP Finance and Operations : Tyler Hofmeister
SSMU has repeatedly spoken about its tight finances, rendered even more shaky by the potential fallout following the lease negotiations and higher rent with the University. The Daily endorses Tyler Hofmeister due to his experience managing money and leading a team. VP Finance is not a position that requires intense political involvement or extensive communication with the administration, offsetting Hofmeister’s disappointingly conciliatory approach to lease negotiations. Rather, the position requires financial competence and trustworthiness. For all of his suggestions, Kim does not inspire confidence in his ability to ensure the viability of SSMU’s financial status.
VP Internal : Brian Farnan
The Daily endorses Brian Farnan for VP Internal, with a few caveats. While both Farnan and Kryluk pay lip service to sustainability and equity, Farnan’s more concrete suggestions lead us to believe he is better prepared to take serious action next year. The VP Internal portfolio has had many problems in the last few years, concerning itself more with promoting a binge drinking culture than creating safe, diverse, and inclusive events that respect principles of equity.
The Daily issues its endorsement with a request that Farnan make good on his word, take equity and accountability seriously, and engage with the fact that dismissing rape culture and oppression in campus space is unacceptable. Farnan’s wish to maintain relations with the Milton-Parc community must bind him to proving that SSMU events are not synonymous with offensive themes and embarrassment.
VP University Affairs : Joey Shea
Sam Gregory and Joey Shea have very similar platforms. They both show a concern for equity, a desire to introduce cross-faculty grading standards, and initiatives to extend the course evaluation period. Both candidates also express some support for the principles behind Divest McGill and are critical of the campus protest protocol.
However, neither candidate was eager to outline the tangible political steps they will take to fight for divestment and against the protocol; we wonder whether they will back their words up with actions. We are concerned, also, with the conciliatory approach both candidates plan to take with the McGill administration; over the past five years, the administration has consistently shown a lack of concern for student opinion, and we worry that these candidates are too optimistic about what they can achieve using a conciliatory approach.
With that in mind, and against the backdrop of the upcoming cuts to the University budget, The Daily endorses Joey Shea for SSMU VP University Affairs. Shea wants to liaise with the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) to help mobilize McGill students against the cuts, and shows a greater willingness to work outside of formal channels should negotiations with the University breakdown. Despite Shea’s lack of experience in Senate, of the two candidates, she understands what the portfolio entails, and engages more with the political nature of the position.