PRESIDENT SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
hyam Patel has spent the last seven months in the SSMU office, but the year hasn’t scared him from running for a second term as SSMU exec – though this time, Patel hopes to move into the President’s chair. Patel’s platform focuses on the bureaucracy of SSMU, and a series of internal initiatives to make the office – and the executive team – run smoothly and transition easily. Human resources are also a major component of Patel’s platform, an unusual move for a candidate, but an important one for an executive who spends so much time working with staff. Empowerment of the SSMU office staff, student staff, and general student population are important to Patel, who also stressed the importance of
osh Redel, in his fifth year at McGill, has been involved with an eclectic mix of projects and initiatives. In his third year, he organized Korean Culture Night (he’s read Korean since he was 14); he co-founded the group Queer Engineer; he’s a dedicated member of the fledgling Fight Band (he plays bass drum); and for the last two years has been on the executive of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). SSMU President sits on McGill’s Board of Governors, the highest governing body at the University, as well as Senate. Redel said that over the course of this year, he has had many experiences working with administrators. “I’ve sat at meetings where it’s just me and eight or nine administrators – and that can be intimidating,” he said. But this year, Redel explained, he got over it. “I think what I’ve developed is respect with administrators, which is different than me being a yes man,” he said. Redel drew attention to his battle with administration regarding EUS’ use of the McGill name in their logo. Redel was adamant in his opposition to the University’s decision, and criticized the outgoing SSMU executive for signing the Shatner building’s lease in exchange for 132 clubs and services losing the McGill name from their names. Redel feels SSMU must engage more actively and publicly with students, pointing to the expansion of SSMU’s presence across campus as a priority.
institutional memory within SSMU. Rather than buying into the argument that SSMU participation is low because of student apathy, Patel thinks that a large portion of students are “misinformed” rather than apathetic. Advertisement for General Assemblies is key. “You need a President who is able to engage everyone,” explained Patel, who also thinks that his accessibility will help facilitate student feedback. Patel sees the role of President as an advisory role for the rest of the executive, which he says will be aided by his experience and knowledge of ongoing SSMU projects. “That’s what I think good leaders do: listen first, then provide feedback, then have a plan of action,” Patel said.
said it has helped with scheduling club meetings and increased participation in student government. A VP University Affairs candidate in 2010, this year was Crawford’s first experience in SSMU, serving as a student senator, SSMU councillor, and member of SSMU’s Board of Directors. He said he believes the student Senate caucus was not always as efficient as it could be, and that SSMU needs to foster a better campus culture on equity issues. Crawford occupied administrator offices twice this year: Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s office on November 10, and Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s office as part of #6party in February. “While I won’t necessarily be occupying in the future, I will be pushing for that kind of accountability in my position,” he said.
of equity, and continue lobbying against tuition hikes set to begin in September. “We are attending a University right now that is lobbying for tuition hikes,” he said. “We cannot stand for that as a student body.” Due to this year being so “difficult,” he doesn’t think student senators have addressed many academic issues, and it is something he would like to focus on next year. Ultimately, he points to his experience as his principal quality as a candidate. At MUSA, Briones said, “we work with what we have.” “I think I’ve been really good at being resourceful and making sure that I constantly consult with my faculty and my constituents,” he said.
ayley Dinel only has one year of SSMU experience, but in one year she has served as a student senator, SSMU councilor, and member of the SSMU Board of Directors. She is especially proud of her work on Senate this year, including sitting on the Academic Policy Committee, advising on McGill’s Open Forum on Free Expression and Peaceful Assembly – a response to November 10 – and getting Senate to livestream discussion of the Jutras Report on November 10. Getting all Senate meetings livestreamed would be a long-term priority for her. “Not a lot of people even know that it exists,” she said. “To be able to bring that in and have that right on your computer screen is really something that I think would add a lot of understanding about what we do.” She is also advocating for reform to SSMU’s General Assembly, namely putting the final vote on motions online. “When it comes to the actual decision making,
it shouldn’t be left up to 100 people who don’t even show up” for the whole meeting, she said. She is also calling for more safe space in campus life. However, besides voicing a need for “more plugs,” she hasn’t described much of a platform with regard to McGill libraries. As a U2 Theology student, Dinel has also been active within the Religious Studies faculty, helping reinstate the formerly-defunct faculty association. Ultimately, she believes she would be able to reflect more diverse student opinions while being able to work productively with the administration, including ensuring that student senators are able to voice their own personal opinions more often than they have this year. Dinelasserted that she is “not afraid” of the administration. “They really listen to me. They’ve actually taken my advice and actually turned it into something concrete, which you don’t always get, in Senate especially,” she said.
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
VP UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS
he two pillars of Matt Crawford’s platform are accessible education and improving student services. The concrete proposals behind his platform include ensuring fair and adequate access to financial aid for students, in part through SSMU fundraising to increase its current contribution to McGill financial aid. With tuition increases slated to start this September, Crawford said he thinks that “we all want to make sure those who are not capable of paying for their University education have the opportunity to do so.” For libraries, Crawford said he wants to expand library study space, particularly group study space. Another proposal of his is extending the “universal break” – a one-hour break around noon for all students from Monday to Wednesday – to the whole school. The system is currently used in the Faculty of Law, and Crawford
mil Briones, a U3 Music student in clarinet performance, has the most experience in student government of the VP University Affairs candidates. After three years in the Music Undergraduate Student’s Association (MUSA), Briones was a student senator this year, and with his platform focusing on lobbying students’ interests, academic advocacy, and outreach, he says he wants “to build on the momentum that the Senate caucus has built this year.” As VP University Affairs, Briones said he would want Senate to “be in the moment” more, and that the current number of undergraduate Senate representatives “is not a fair number.” He would also like to make McGill more accountable in terms
VP FINANCE AND OPERATIONS SSMU ELECTIONS 2012 4
ZHI ZHEN QIN
member of the Orientation Working Group since 2010, JP Briggs thinks he has all the experience necessary for VP Finance and Operations. A U3 Finance and Operations Management student in the Faculty of Management, Briggs considers his experience vital for overseeing the unique elements of the portfolio he may face next year. Elements of Briggs’ platform include increasing the transparency of the portfolio, something he believes current VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel has struggled with. He said Patel has “done a very good job at everything he’s done, but he’s been behind the scenes the entire time.” The central theme of his plat-
hi Zhen Qin is a U2 science student and a Science councillor on the SSMU Legislative Council. Qin feels that she is experienced in SSMU bureaucracy due to her role in the Operations Committee and the student run cafe working group. Qin is also a sitting member of the Financial Ethics Review Committee, a role she feels has given her experience in understanding the inherent ethical considerations in the VP Finance and Operations position. “SSMU is not supposed to invest in unethical and socially irresponsible investments, like oil sands,” said Qin. She emphasized the need for investments in companies with a strong environmental and human rights track record.
form is promoting student life, and most of his experience is derived from organizing events like Frosh and Carnival for the Management Undergraduate Society (MUS). He was MUS Frosh Chair the year many McGill students complained about its initial “Tribal Frosh” theme. Briggs said the theme “was a huge mistake on our part,” he said it was a “great learning experience.” Besides changing the Frosh theme and materials in a day, he added that the experience has “grounded me and taught me a lot of things about equity and how important it is to really consider everything that you might not firstly perceive as a problem.”
Outside of SSMU, Qin was a founding member of WikiNotes, a public note-sharing website. “I’m really proud of to be a part of WikiNotes… by providing free notes to students, we are helping them to succeed in their academic career, competing with profitable note sharing websites.” Her experience with WikiNotes has translated to her campaign platform: increasing financial support for smaller clubs and services by increasing SSMU assistance in completing their club audits; a measure of a given clubs financial solubility. In addition, Qin hopes to revamp the SSMU Marketplace system to make goods and services like apartments easier to find.
ince January 2011, Claire Michela has served as VP Finance for the Gender, Sexual Diversity and Feminist Studies Student Association (GSDFSSA), where she managed the budget and reported to the AUS VP Finance. Apart from her finance experience with GSDFFSA, she is well-versed with SSMU policies and procedures as a result of her position as Recording Secretary of the SSMU Legislative Council and Executive Committee this year. Some policies in her campaign platform include making SSMU Mini Courses pay-as-you-go,
developing open communication between SSMU and various clubs, creating sustainable ethical purchasing and investment policies, and remaining committed to assisting student initiatives like the student run cafe, voted on in the last SSMU GA. Michela also pledges to uphold SSMU’s policies towards environmental sustainability and accessible education. Additionally, she has also promised to change the terms of reference regarding the Charity Fund so students running charity initiatives can apply for the Charity Fund.
building, and increasing the sustainability of the building. Next year, she hopes to create more transparent, solid policies that dictate how funding is allocated to various clubs and services across McGill. President of the Indian Students’ Association, Chaini explained that she understands from personal experience the difficulties that can be experienced by clubs in accessing resources from SSMU. Chaini explained that the position of VP Clubs & Services is important, because “clubs and services are one of the most integral parts of student life on campus,” helpings students to feel empowered, learn leadership skills, and meet new people.
ooper worked at front desk of SSMU throughout the year which, she said, has given her first-hand exposure to how clubs and services interact with SSMU on a daily basis. She hopes to re-invigorate the existing Clubs & Services Representatives to SSMU through the creation of Clubs Council, a new idea that Cooper has been consulting on. She hopes to implement her idea which would see SSMU’s clubs being divided into “caucuses” based on the type of club. Cooper views the caucuses as a way to facilitate collaborations between different clubs and assist the clubs in identifying similar needs. “I think it’s also really important from my work with green groups on campus, making sure that you’re not doing the same work that other groups are already doing and finding new ways to collaborate,” she said. As the VP External of Plate Club, Cooper spends a significant amount of time in the cafeteria facing the reality of food and waste in the Shatner building. She is U3 Arts student in honours anthropology with a minor in environment. Cooper has also been involved with the SSMU Environment Committee along with working extensively with Plate Club. She points to SSMU’s Five Year Plan for Sustainability, formulated in 2008, which was decided this year to be “out-of-date,” according to Cooper. However, despite a long-term revisioning, Cooper maintains there are many “real, tangible” changes that can be implemented, in consultation with green groups. “I’m excited because I have a knowledge of the different networks that exist within SSMU, campus, and even Montreal that we should really be bring together to work on these things,” she said.
VP CLUBS & SERVICES SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
ahil Chaini is a U2 Environment student with a minor in Economics. This year, she served as the Clubs & Services Representative to Council, and explained that she has worked a lot with the portfolio of VP Clubs & Services. “I’ve seen what’s really good about it, and what needs to be improved,” she said. She has spent a lot of time this year getting feedback from different clubs, and explained “that made me really want to run, because I learned so much about what they want improved.” For Chaini, these improvements include making Clubs & Services more prominent, easing the application and allocation system for office space on the fourth floor of the Shatner
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
VP EXTERNAL 6
RAPHAEL URIBE ARANGO
P External candidate Raphael Uribe Arango is a U1 History student from London, England. He is currently the Inter-Residence Council (IRC)’s VP External, as well as the Residence Representative on SSMU Council. Additionally, Uribe Arango sits on the Steering Committee as well as the External Affairs Committee. His campaign has three major points of focus, including greater communication between SSMU and students, building relationships with international universities, and fostering cooperation between McGill and its surrounding community. Uribe Arango’s main objective is to push for greater student consultation, and he hopes to create an environment in which “students can come and propose to the executive what initiatives SSMU should take up.” Other proposed initiatives include facilitating relation-
hile the prototypical VP External candidate’s platform in recent years has focused on mobilizing against tuition increases and extending the olive branch to the Milton-Parc community, Robin Reid-Fraser wants to prioritize enhancing SSMU’s connections to communities across Montreal. Reid-Fraser, a U2 Environment and Development student from the Yukon, thinks “it’s very easy to get insulated in the McGill community.” Her proposed solutions include an “activities night” for Montreal community groups, where they could table in the SSMU building for the day to inform students about their activities and how they can get involved. That isn’t to say tuition mobilization is not one of her priorities. Reid-Fraser has been involved in the Quebec student movement for two years, and says she would work towards accessible education for out-of-province and international students in particular. “It is still a lot of the same people who are showing up” for demonstrations, she said, and she would like to reach out to the larger McGill student population. Reid-Fraser was one of the 23 students who occupied Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s office for six days in February, however she said she “would like [McGill] to be able to take a step back” from direct action next year. “We can go to as many meetings as we want, but you do get kind of tired of it when you feel like it’s not actually having an impact,” she said. “I don’t want to be at a university where students continuously feel like this kind of direct action is necessary to get the administration’s attention.”
ships between McGill and other universities, and encouraging exchanges by lobbying for more accessible student visas. Uribe Arango also wants to build a strong relationship with the Milton-Parc community by launching initiatives “such as tutoring or recycling, which is part of the McGill mandate.” Concerning tuition hikes and the resulting student movement, Uribe Arango has attended meetings with both TaCEQ and CLASSE with the External Affairs Committee. “I’ve seen to some extent how student unions function and how the debates are going on,” he says, and, though he is strongly against tuition hikes, Uribe Arango questions the feasibility and effectiveness of an unlimited student strike. “At the end of the day … if there are individuals who do not wish to strike, they should be able to attend class freely,” he said.
s someone who doesn’t have formal SSMU experience, Robert Bell believes he can bring a desired change to the SSMU. Bell’s campus experience includes mobilizing students for the various General Assemblies, and his off-campus event planning experience includes planning nightlife events at locations like The Plant. He is also a big believer in accessible education. If elected, Bell would change SSMU Frosh to make events more diverse and engaging with the broader McGill community. In, addition, Bell hopes to use Frosh as a catalyst that would help first years become more oriented with Montreal as a whole. He has also pledged to use numerous multimedia resources to promote SSMU events and make more students involved with SSMU. Bell also plans to reach out to other universities in the Montreal area.
the campus community works, and to better communicate with the campus community.” A U2 Music student with a major in Classical Voice, Larson explained that being a part of a small faculty has been helpful in terms of communication and accomplishing more “ground level stuff.” She hopes to see more collaborative work and information sharing between similar sized faculties in the future. Larson’s priorities for next year include increasing communication between students and the administration, streamlining internal documentation within the SSMU, bringing back equity into the position, and being transparent about the limitations of the executive.
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
atie Larson, president of the Music Undergraduate Student Association (MUSA), has been involved in student representation for the past two years. Having been the VP External of MUSA last year, she has sat on SSMU Council, explaining that she “feels personally that I have a really good grasp of community and what goes on here.” According to Larson, VP Internal is a great position that has been lacking in breadth the last few years. She plans on focusing on the first mandate of the position, which is to create rapport with students. With all the turmoil that has occurred on campus this year, she explained that this is the “opportune time for the SSMU to investigate ways in which
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
alar Nasehi’s platform focuses on fixing the lack of coordination and communication between student groups on campus. Furthermore, as VP Internal, he hopes to create a greater continuity between this year’s current SSMU executive and the prospective year’s executive. Working closely with this year’s current VP External Joël Pedneault, Nasehi said that he was inspired to work for SSMU, and felt he would be a strong candidate for a job that requires mobilization and engagement with students. A U3 student, Nasehi has been active in student activism and
environmentally-oriented student groups and organizations. This year, Nasehi has been working with Organic Campus, and has been a loyal volunteer for Midnight Kitchen for all four of his years at McGill. Furthermore, he has worked with Greenpeace McGill, as well as Greenpeace’s larger branches in Montreal and Toronto. Although Nasehi shows clear dedication to student rights and democracy, his lack of formal organizational experience is worrisome. Nasehi acknowledges this lack, hoping that his job as VP Internal will allow him access to more formal means of creating coordination on campus.
ollowing a defeat in the VP Internal race last year, Sfeir says that she’s back with “way more experience” than last year, and with a “fresh mind and fresh start.” One of Sfeir’s top priorities is communication, specifically through the SSMU weekly listserv, which she wants to be “more informative” than what she saw this year. She also stressed the importance of diversifying SSMU events, and ensuring environmental sustainability of the Internal portfolio. Chairing Faculty Olympics for the second year in a row – she helped found the event under 2009-10 VP Internal Tom Fabian – along with her experience in SSMU and other McGill organizations,
Sfeir says she has the skills and knowledge of the Internal portfolio to pull off SSMU’s annual events. A unique offering Sfeir made was greater collaboration between the Internal and the External VPs, to raise awareness about events like campus protests against tuition hikes and campaigns against opt-outs, as well as supporting the groups under the Clubs & Services portfolio through promoting their events. Following a revamp of Frosh last year and proposals for further changes at the AUS and SSMU General Assemblies, Sfeir’s suggestion is to add events that cater to both the drinking and nondrinking student population.
P Internal Candidate Samuel Sigere has served as VP External of the Biology Undergraduate Student Society, VP Finance for the Stem Cell Society, and Junior Editor for Le Délit. Sigere’s event planning experience includes being Director of the 2011 Inter-University Biochemistry games, which included a couple hundred bio-chemistry students from across the province playing competitive sports events at McGill. Sigere’s platform includes improved communication between students and the SSMU, properly informing students about events like the General Assembly, running non-alcohol centred events as well as 4Floors and Faculty Olympics, so that all students feel included in SSMU events, and strengthening ties between Faculty Societies and Departmental Associations. While Sigere is opposed to the upcoming tuition hikes, he aims to be politically neutral so that all students feel represented by him.
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
nna Tarabukhina wants the VP Internal position to be about community. One of her top priorities is to create an integrated event calendar for the wider McGill community, so that groups are aware of each other’s activities and can collaborate on projects that serve a common purpose. Her current involvement in SSMU is as VP communications and event planner for the Sustainability Case Competition, a first step in the student-run cafe project. In this position she has helped to create the contest, and has reached out to business leaders for professional input. She admitted that the competition and the cafe project in general is a new step for SSMU, but that she is excited to see how “flexible” the Society can be. “Collaborative projects like the case competition help people from different backgrounds come together on common ground,” she explained. A U1 Science students in cognitive neuroscience and philosophy, Tarabukhina has two jobs, takes five courses, and has various leadership roles, including VP events for Journalists for Human Rights and VP sponsorship for Arts and Science’s Ampersand Conference. “I know what it’s like to be busy,” she said. Tarabukhina still wants to deliver traditional events like 4Floors and Faculty Olympics, but with slight “tweaking.” She wants Frosh to be an event that helps students feel “oriented” by facilitating a mentoring relationship between frosh leaders and first-year students throughout first semester. “We can do more than just party,” she said.
ichael Szpejda, a U3 student in Neuroscience, is running for VP Internal with the intent of renewing commitment to student life, making better use of allocated budget to fund events and speakers, and increasing communication between SSMU and the administration. Szpejda is new to SSMU, but has volunteered as a coordinator for Science Frosh and Carnival, a coordinator for Faculty Olympics, and has held the position of VP Internal for the Science Undergraduate Society this year. Next year, he hopes to increase the quality and visibility of events, using more of SSMU’s allocated budget to “give people more bang for their buck.” These resources could be used to support faculty associations, and in turn pay for more all-ages events during frosh. He also wants to see more interest and buzz surrounding homecoming, in order to help build school spirit. Szpejda explained that he wants to find out what kind of speakers students want brought in, and use the allocated budget to make it happen. He also hopes to expand the end-of-year concert, making it a one to two day event on lower field, bringing in Montreal and student talent rather than a big name. Szpejda said that he hopes to see more communication next year between faculty associations to “create a more bonded community,” as well as to increase transparency and interaction between SSMU executives and the administration.
ENDORSEMENTS SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
fter 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
PRESIDENT 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.
HALEY DINEL VP UA
aley 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 hourlong 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.
ZHI ZHEN QIN VP FOPS
he 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 C&S ALLISON COOPER T
he 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.
thing 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 ReidFraser’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.
rom 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 studentrun 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.
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
VP INTERNAL INNA TARABUKHINA
VP EXTERNAL ROBIN REID-FRASER lthough 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, some-
SSMU ELECTIONS 2012
Elections to be held from March 8 to 14 ' by Juan Camilo Velasquez
andidates for the 2012-13 SSMU executive positions debated one another and answered questions from students on Tuesday. The debate had a larger than usual attendance, with students gathering in both the Lev Bukman and breakout rooms in the Shatner building.
VP External The debate began with the candidates for VP External, Robin ReidFraser and Raphael Uribe Arango, addressing tuition fees for nonQuebec students and the potential student strike at McGill. Students in the audience asked the candidates if they would support students’ right to go to class in the case of a general strike. Uribe Arango answered that he would respect the students in their decision, allowing students to attend classes in the event of a strike. Reid proposed using a General Assembly for students to talk about the strike and make a decision following these discussions.
VP Clubs and Services
Sahil Chaini and Allison Cooper took the floor next and discussed issues pertaining to the Clubs and Services (C&S) portfolio, including sustainability in the SSMU building and club office allocation. Chaini, current C&S representative on SSMU Council, stated that her biggest concern is the current
system of office allocation to clubs in the SSMU building, which many students find to be unfair, and promised to “revamp” it. Cooper stated that she would prioritize working with sustainable initiatives and overhauling the winter activities night. “I really think [activities night] needs more publicity and having activities that people would come for,” she said. Both candidates expressed their support for QPIRG and CKUT following a question about the organizations from current VP C&S Carol Fraser.
VP University Affairs Emil Briones, Matt Crawford, and Haley Dinel, the candidates for VP University Affairs (UA), debated issues of equity and SSMU’s relationship with the administration. Briones expressed that McGill needs a “collective mandate to a commitment for equity,” adding that the University could work with SSMU’s equity policy. Following a question from current VP UA Emily Yee Clare Crawford said his biggest asset was being “one of the most vocal critics in senate and active members of council.” “I think that [students] can have really great ideas and all the knowledge to enact those ideas, but it really takes someone to stand up,” said Crawford. Dinel cited her “good working relations with the administration”
as a quality that would distinguish her from the other candidates.
VP Internal There are seven candidates for VP Internal, making it the most contested position. The candidates are Robert Bell, Katie Larson, Salar Nasehi, Christina Sfeir, Samuel Sigere, Michael Szpejda, and Inna Tarabukhina. Larson expressed that the VP Internal could have a more supportive and collaborative role when it comes to the other executive portfolios in SSMU. Frosh reform was recurring topic throughout the debate. Szpejda stated that he felt “SSMU frosh is irrelevant,” and that SSMU should give its Frosh resources to the different faculties to improve their quality. In terms of the SSMU listserv, Sfeir proposed making it more interactive and using it as an opportunity to help students become more informed about political issues on campus.
VP Finance and Operations The candidates running for VP Finance and Operations (FOPS) – JP Briggs, Zhi Zhen Qin, and Clare Michela – focused on Gerts, the project for a student-run cafe, and SSMU Mini Courses. Michela expressed interest in exploring the option of having “pay as you go” Mini Courses. Shyam Patel, current VP FOPS,
asked the candidates what they believed to be the most important thing under the portfolio. Briggs said that he believed everything was equally important, adding that there is “an overlying theme of what you can give back to students.” Qin stated that her biggest priority would moving forward with the student-run cafe plans, while Michela said that the VP FOPS needs to have “great working relations with the clubs and services at SSMU.”
President The event closed with the presidential candidates – Shyam Patel and Josh Redel – discussing their vision for the SSMU. Redel cited that one of his main priorities would be to improve student space outside of the Shatner building. Patel said that he was not running on a campaign of change, but that his campaign instead focuses on his accomplishments and in making students care about SSMU. “There are students on campus that find the SSMU completely irrelevant and some don’t even know what the SSMU is,” said Patel. When asked how relevant was their current experience to the SSMU President position, Redel referred to his work as EUS president. “One of the things a president does is working with a wide variety of people and I have that experience,” he said.
ALL ELECTIONS PHOTOS BY VICTOR TANGERMANN | THE MCGILL DAILY
Candidates for the SSMU Executive debate tuition in creases, Frosh, equity
The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
any sentimentality were to emerge from this night, this would be key moment. And then, with a crackle of the radio and an artful deployment of anaphora, Akon stole it away: Smack that all on the floor Smack that give me some more Smack that ‘til you get sore Smack that oh-oh! Upfront style ready to attack now Pull in the parking lot slow with the lac down Konvict’s got the whole thing packed now Step in the club now and wardrobe intact now! He turned off the radio and we slipped our clothes back on in silence. He tapped my butt, intending it as a joke, and I mustered a laugh from the deepest pit of my stomach. I really wanted to go home. First, though, we had to get a morningafter pill. We held hands as we walked through the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood. He said, “So I guess we’re boyfriend and girlfriend now?” I said, “I guess so.” The Planned Parenthood was closed, which felt like a grotesque social injustice at the time. We drove past the Johnson & Johnson again to a late-night pharmacy. The morning after pill was forty dollars, and I felt compelled to pay half. The pharmacist initially hesitated; my checkered Vans were hardly indicative of a mature, sexually active adult. My nose started to sting
with tears and the lab coat phony forked over the Plan B. Back in the car, I swallowed back the new hormones, as if my own weren’t enough to kill whatever little egg was sprouting its first cell membranes in my womb.
Smack that til you get sore Fast-forward to later that night, and the sweaty basement discomfort of some high school party. I wasn’t driving, but I didn’t drink for fear that I might be pregnant, which made me feel wholesome at the time. Everything smelled like his car. Even me. Even my hair. The Cosmo equation, “GREAT SEX = GREAT HAIR,” was a bullshit lie. Mine was still frizzy, no less shiny, and sticky at the edges (yes, with that). I clawed through it nervously, searching for the old Christina, hoping my new post-coital aura hadn’t yet reached my split ends. I spotted a friend: “We have to pee. Upstairs.” “He and I did it. Can you sleep over tonight?” I can’t remember if I even kissed him goodbye or how she and I got home. My friend was a year older, and was in a serious, wehavealotofsex, long-distance relationship with a college guy. She told me that they did it in the back of her boyfriend’s jeep wrangler without condoms all the time and she had been “totally fine.” I was ashamed of his Honda next to a Wrangler, like a girl who has to wear a hand-me-down dress to church on Easter Sunday. We made microwave pizza and stole some beers from the kitchen (Coronas, I
think), my maternal instincts on hold.
frogs before you find a prince.”
Konvict’s got the whole thing packed now
The Princess and the Plan B
My mom whispered “goodnight girls” from her bedroom. Her voice was calm and consistent, like cream spreading through coffee – my dark secret exposed in one quick stir. (Two weeks later my mom would find a pack of Marlboros in my underwear drawer, and leap into a “healthy decisions” monologue. She never mentioned him, but she didn’t need to. Marlboros were like men. They made you look cool. They were hardly worth it.) After The Truman Show ended, we chucked our empties over the backyard fence, cringing as the bottles clanked on the cold grass, afraid of being caught in this barely venal sin after a night full of the mortal kind. We tiptoed up to bed, deliberating for nearly ten minutes as to where to put the second pill of the Plan B Teenage Starter Kit. Under the bed, we decided: yep, she’ll never check there. It had all felt like a shitty episode of Degrassi, so poorly performed I felt detached enough to mock it. And surprisingly, I didn’t feel all that guilty. No dramatic self-analysis, no excitement, no meaning to be extracted. The act itself hadn’t even hurt. I felt cheated out of an experience I had never bothered to idealize. I couldn’t fall asleep. My friend’s voice in the dark room: “Don’t worry girl, you gotta kiss a lot of
For those who have never had the misfortune of swallowing it, Plan B isn’t as quick and easy as it sounds. There are, in fact, two pills, which no one ever talks about. Nor is it recommended to wait until “the morning after.” The first pill should be taken immediately, as if it’s starting the race miles behind the sperm, like the tortoise after the hare. I could feel the pill’s presence coiling up through my mattress springs. My bed felt too small, like my body had grown out of my Tommy Hilfiger butterfly sheets. I knew the prescribed twelve-hour mark would arrive soon, and I would swallow that little white circle and all would be right as rain. Everything would be fine, if only I could fall asleep. If only I could stop staring at the half-finished sun on my ceiling that I started painting one summer. If only he would stop texting me. If only I couldn’t feel that small pill digging between my shoulder blades. I wished the pill was a small pea instead, and I, a Danish folklore princess, gracefully sensitive to the simplest change, and deserving of the royal treatment. But there are no princesses in America, let alone New Jersey. Turning over, I glanced at the clock. It was 4:32 a.m. I had to get to sleep. I was taking the SATs the next morning and I really wanted to get into NYU. Tentative major: Women’s Studies.