Following the majority “no” vote in the recent VP Internal by-election, a second by-election is taking place until November 27, with five candidates in the running. Due to the time constraints of the short campaign period, The Daily’s candidate interviews were conducted by email.
The VP Internal manages communications between SSMU and its members, oversees the planning and management of campus events, and coordinates relations with faculty associations. The VP Internal also manages the staff in the Internal portfolio.
Lou Bernardi does not appear to be running on a serious platform, and claims that he will resign immediately if elected. His goal is “to allow people to show their dissatisfaction” in a way other than abstaining.
Kahli Douglas is a U2 Psychology student with little experience with SSMU; she has been previously involved in WalkSafe as the Internal Affairs Coordinator, and has been a Frosh leader twice. Douglas emphasized communication as the most important aspect of the VP Internal portfolio. She plans to improve this by doing regular tabling to inform and engage students, as well as by building closer relationships with faculty associations. In event planning, Douglas plans to increase the provision of harm reduction services.
Omar El-Sharawy, an Economics student in his third year, has sat on SSMU Council for two years, first as VP External of the Inter-Residence Council and then as Science representative. El-Sharawy’s experience in event planning includes being a Frosh coordinator over the past summer. His platform focuses on new mediums of disseminating SSMU-related information, consulting students on event planning, and eliminating the yearbook’s yearly financial loss. He plans to create a variety of events that are more accessible, as well as focus the role on student engagement and holding SSMU councillors accountable for their actions. El-Sharawy told The Daily that SSMU should remain apolitical “on issues that don’t directly affect student life.”
Tim Mapley, a fourth-year English Literature and Anthropology student, is running on a platform of engagement, so as to end the “growing rift” between the student body and its representation. He aims to achieve this through improved communication and more enjoyable events. Mapley’s platform also includes an element of equity, though his definition of the concept is broad, namely “making sure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone is doing what they want to do.” Mapley did not respond to The Daily’s request for an interview.
Like Bernardi, Jason Rutman appears to be running a joke campaign. He cites having “watched all five seasons of Game of Thrones and read all five books” as his qualifications for participation in the three main components of SSMU, which, according to him, are “political intrigue, backstabbing, and monologues.”
ENDORSEMENT: Omar El-Sharawy, with reservations
The Daily endorses Omar El-Sharawy for SSMU VP Internal with reservations. Considering the difficulty of joining the executive team mid-year, it is vital that the incoming VP Internal understand the extent of the commitment they are making and the workload they are shouldering. El-Sharawy, as the most experienced candidate, is best positioned to fulfill the requirements of the position. El-Sharawy’s platform is also the most detailed, promising concrete steps toward improved consultation and communication, as well as inclusive and accessible events.
However, The Daily expresses reservations regarding El-Sharawy’s hesitation to acknowledge SSMU’s position as a political actor, ostensibly in order to prevent divisiveness within the student body. As the executive in charge of communication and events, the VP Internal can play an important role in the promotion and implementation of SSMU’s political mandates. It is essential that, if elected, El-Sharawy recognize the political aspect of this role and collaborate with other executives in this regard. Additionally, El-Sharawy’s lack of fluency in French could hinder his ability to fulfill the francophone affairs aspect of his portfolio. His failure to submit his pensketch to Elections SSMU in French indicates a potential disregard for bilingualism that we urge him to correct.