The VP External is responsible for connecting SSMU’s constituents to the wider Montreal and Quebec community. The portfolio includes communication with other post-secondary institutions and McGill’s labour unions, and lobbying the government on behalf of SSMU. The VP External is also mandated to provide support for student-run social and environmental justice campaigns.
Connor Spencer has been involved in student activism since arriving on this campus four years ago. Born to a labour union family, she is vocal about the importance of anti-austerity protests, demonstrated through her long time involvement with À la rue Montreal – a group which organizes across campuses for free tuition – and McGill Against Austerity. Spencer has also participated in other French and English off-campus campaigns, developing significant experience working with student activists across Greater Montreal.
For the last two years, Spencer has collaborated closely with previous VP Externals in her anti-austerity work. She has a solid understanding of the position’s responsibilities as well as ways in which the portfolio could be exercised effectively. Her campaign platform prioritizes communication and transparency among SSMU offices, between the VP External’s office and relevant community groups on and off campus, and between SSMU and the McGill student body. She identifies this lack of communication among all parties as a major area of concern in her experience working with past VP Externals, and wishes to amend this through increased consultation with student groups, affected communities, and other campuses. By doing so, Spencer hopes to initiate a sustained conversation about financial accessibility and the effects of austerity on students, especially on those who are historically marginalized.
Spencer does not agree with the Administration having a say in student politics. Nevertheless, she stresses the importance of a system in place to hold SSMU executives accountable. To this end, she plans to implement a stand alone sexual violence policy for SSMU, acknowledging the need for multiple avenues of complaint for those who have been harmed by fellow students in positions of power.
Spencer’s experiences working with past VP Externals and in anti-austerity groups have prepared her for this position. Her emphasis on making liaisons with other campuses in the collective fight against rising tuition, combined with her ability to speak fluent French, indicates her awareness of the VP External’s core duties. As such, The Daily endorses Spencer for this position.
Content warning: sexual violence
Editor’s note: The print edition of this endorsement lists Noah Century as a candidate for VP External. However, Century withdrew from the race on March 12, having faced intense criticism after he was publicly censured by Elections SSMU for a rape joke he made in an interview with The Daily. On March 7, asked in a standard candidate interview what his takeaways from the David Aird case were, he laughed and answered “don’t get caught.” Now that Century has withdrawn, Spencer is running unopposed.