Alexei Simakov failed to win the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) VP Internal by-election, Elections SSMU announced on November 15. Overall, 16.7 per cent of eligible voters turned out to vote in the by-election and the Fall Referendum.
VP Internal by-elections
Simakov, the sole candidate left running for the VP Internal position after his opponent Céleste Pagniello withdrew, was not elected, with 51.7 per cent of voters voting “no.”
Pagniello withdrew from the electoral race on November 11. In a statement made public by Elections SSMU, Pagniello said, “Due to personal attacks and threats directed towards my family, and myself, I have decided not to continue with my campaign to be VP Internal of SSMU. These messages have escalated far beyond the appropriate level of a student government campaign, and I have decided to end this campaign in order to protect myself and all parties involved.”
The nomination period for another VP Internal by-election began on November 16. Students who wish to run for the VP Internal position are expected to submit their nomination packages by 5 p.m. on November 20.
The question to increase the opt-outable CKUT fee by $1.50 per student per semester failed, with 54.7 per cent of the voters voting “no.”
A similar question was put to referendum among Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) members in October. Although it was initially announced that the question had failed, the question passed with 51 per cent support after ineligible votes were discounted.
The referendum question regarding the creation of a Safety Network Fee passed, with 75.3 per cent of the voters voting “yes.” Accordingly, SSMU will create a single non-opt outable fee of $3.97 per undergraduate student, which will be collected starting in the Winter 2016 semester. A fee renewal motion will be brought back to the SSMU membership in Winter 2021.
Two plebiscite questions were asked during the voting period. A plebiscite question is not binding in nature, but serves to gauge the interest of the student body toward a particular topic.
The first question asked, “Do you support the SSMU focusing more of its energy on developing projects to increase the financial accessibility of commodities, such as student housing and food cooperatives, for students?”
This question received a “yes” vote from 79 per cent of all voters.
The second question was in two parts. The first part asked if students would be willing to pay a small per-semester fee for the Old McGill Yearbook if all students would be eligible to receive a copy upon graduation with no additional fee.
The second part of the question asked whether students would want to make that fee opt-outable, with the understanding that those who opted out of the fee would not be able to receive a yearbook.
The first part of the question received a “yes” vote from 56.9 per cent of students, while 76.6 per cent voted “yes” for the second part.