After his solid year as SSMU VP Finance and Operations, The Daily endorses Shyam Patel for SSMU President. With a varied experience of positions both within and outside of SSMU, Patel has a diversity of perspectives that translate into an empathetic and informed leadership much-needed when leading a team of executives.
Graduating from Funding Coordinator in 2009-2010 to VP FOPS in 2010-2011, Patel’s successes included focusing on the Financial Ethics Review Committee and working on his initiative of a student-run café in the Shatner building, which included the founding of the Sustainability Case Competition.
During both the MUNACA strike and student actions to protest tuition hikes, Patel has been a quiet but present figure on the scene, signaling that he’s well aware of the political climate on campus, even if he doesn’t take a proactive role in it.
Patel’s platform has a broader structural vision, which is fitting for a portfolio that requires more oversight and administration than small initiatives.
Representation on the Board of Governors was a focus of Patel, who thinks that a more pragmatic approach is needed for a governing body filled with professionals, and The Daily hopes that he will have a strong enough voice to stand as the lone undergraduate on the Board.
Design and Production editor Alyssa Favreau and News editor Henry Gass were not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of presidential candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.
VP UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS
Haley Dinel is The Daily’s choice for SSMU VP University Affairs primarily due to her existing track record of working effectively with the administration in the interests of students. With only one year of experience in SSMU, Dinel has managed to affect significant visible change at the academic level.
Her efforts to get discussion of the Jutras Report livestreamed has already led to a second livestreamed Senate session, and Dinel has committed herself in her platform to making livestreaming a regular feature of Senate next year. This change would have the dynamic effect of making one of McGill’s most obscure representative bodies more accessible and approachable, both for downtown campus students and, more importantly, students who have difficulty physically attending Senate, like students living and studying at Mac Campus. The Daily is encouraged by Dinel’s stated commitment to accessible education and her record of doggedly pursuing student mandates at the Senate level, and we trust she would be similarly accountable as VP University Affairs.
Dinel’s platform is weaker in other areas of the portfolio, however, and we hope she considers some of the concrete proposals laid out in Matt Crawford’s campaign in particular. Crawford’s vision includes expanding group study space in libraries and applying a “universal break” – an hour-long period around noon, from Monday to Wednesday, where no students have class – to the entire school. Currently practiced in the Law Faculty, the break frees up student time for club meetings, participating in student government, and attending office hours.
SHI ZHEN QIN
The role of Vice President Finance and Operations requires planning far into the future. The platform of Zhi Zhen Qin, a Science councillor for SSMU Council, reflects this necessity by planning on furthering the goals of outgoing VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel. The Daily feels that thisforesight, in addition to her unique knowledge of the SSMU bureaucracy, makes her the strongest candidate.
One of Patel’s most ambitious plans was the creation of a student-run cafe in the Shatner building. Qin has expressed her interest in going forward with this plan next year, and, after working closely with Patel over the past semesters, seems to be equipped with the knowledge of the budget necessary to implement the plan.
In addition, Qin is a co-founder of WikiNotes, a public note sharing system at McGill. The Daily (being ardent supporters of open information) feel that this important show of outreach to the McGill community well suits Qin to work well with SSMU clubs and their finances.
Finally, Qin hopes to revamp the SSMU Marketplace, making it easier for students to find accommodation at McGill.
In summary, Qin’s demonstrated knowledge of SSMU’s financial bureaucracy, coupled with her plans to follow up on Patel’s set goals make her the best candidate for this position, overshadowing any lack of experience she may have in terms of financial leadership roles.
VP CLUBS & SERVICES
The Daily endorses Allison Cooper for the position of SSMU VP Clubs & Services. We feel that, not only does Cooper has considerable and varied SSMU work experience, she is well-versed in the every day realities of the Shatner building, which she would be building manager of if elected. The Daily feels Cooper’s background in sustainable practices as VP External of Plate Club, and her work with SSMU’s Five Year Plan for Sustainability make her the strongest candidate. Also, Cooper’s work with the Independent Student Inquiry this year demonstrates her capabilities to take action under a time constraints, a pressured environment, and shows her connection to issues relevant to the student population.
Commentary editor Zach Lewsen was not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of VP Clubs & Services candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.
From the seven VP Internal candidates, The Daily chose to endorse Inna Tarabukhina. Her relevant SSMU experience includes serving as VP Communications and event planner for the Sustainability Case Competition, which is the building block for a student-run café. She’s further advanced her communication experience through her role as VP Events with Journalists for Human Rights and VP Sponsorship for the Ampersand Conference.
The Daily was also pleased to see her platform mentioned altering Frosh to promote some of the non-alcohol centred events while keeping the traditional events. This plan will help include all first years. She also aims to make Frosh holders uphold a mentoring relationship between first year students and their Frosh leaders throughout the whole of the latter’s first semester. She also has a concrete plan to improve event awareness by creating an integrated online calendar of all McGill events, not just SSMU ones. Tarabukhina has a strong record of engaging in constructive dialogue.
Design and Production editor Rebecca Katzman and Health&Education editor Peter Shyba were not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of VP Internal candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.
Although The Daily endorses Robin Reid-Fraser for the position of VP External, we do so with reservations. Although her experience and knowledge of the student movement against tuition hikes is strong, she has remained fairly ambivalent with regards to the issue throughout debates and within her platform. Reid-Fraser has chosen instead to focus on getting McGill students out of the bubble, a priority which is of definite importance, but cannot stand alone. Movements within the student body should be of highest importance in the platform of the elected VP External, something we encourage Reid-Fraser to consider should she be elected.
We are confident that Reid-Fraser’s experience on the SSMU Environment Committee, with NDP campaigns and McGil’s Organic Campus will be helpful should she be elected. So long as Reid-Fraser’s commitment to student’s priorities remains firm, The Daily stands beside her.
Photo editor Victor Tangermann was not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of presidential candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.