After a recent proposal passed by Inter-Resident Council (IRC), a new initiative will be put in place to have all first-year students run for president of SSMU. The program, which was initially brought forth by the MORE Hall Council President, Tristcuit Renododie, aims to have all first-year students experience the crippling judgment and scrutiny that all SSMU presidential candidates are subjected to.
“We just really want to have students take a good look at themselves and ask ‘What am I doing wrong? Why am I so much more unfit for a leadership position than anybody else?’” Renododie explained. “But, of course, we understand that self-reflection can be difficult. This way, 20,000 of their peers can make those judgments for them.”
A working group is currently in place to oversee the implementation of the project for the incoming class of 2015-2016, and is being headed by IRC VP Communications, Annie Heiney, and IRC VP External, Laurie-Ann Perrier.
“We’ve been working very closely with Floor Fellows as well as engaging with Idina [Hair-Barrette, SSMU VP External],” Perrier said. “By working with SSMU, we hope to be able to heavily enforce all the electoral bylaws in the residences, to make sure students know when they’ve really messed up, and go on to publicly shame them in their own place of living.”
When developing the project with Renondin, IRC President Hollister Pottz noted that while Rez Project has done a lot of good in terms of making students aware of social and cultural differences and teaching them how to respect others, it has really been lacking in terms of making students completely vulnerable and available for baseless judgment.
“We’ve made great strides in Rez Project,” Pottz said. “We’ve really succeeded in making a noticeably more inclusive and accepting campus atmosphere. But there are still some students who aren’t really getting it. I think setting up a platform in which both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to rip apart first years’ flaws and hypocrisies will really help with that.”
Some former presidential candidates have expressed issues with the project, claiming that the emotional toll may prove too intense for some students. One former presidential candidate, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that some students wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure.
“Someone broke into my home, they harassed me with Facebook screen shots and threatened me with a Supreme Court case,” the student said. “I had only been campaigning for a day, my platform wasn’t even solidified at that point. It was so awful.”
Despite these fears, after consultation with first-year students, the project coordinators decided that the benefits far outweighed the risks.
“This is more than a networking opportunity for first years,” Heiney said. “It will teach them transparency, how to properly use social media, and how to take constructive criticism. Even better, they’ll be able to interact with their community and learn crucial public relations skills as they’re lambasted for a simple mistake on a public platform that can be viewed by anyone, even future employers.”
Former SSMU VP Internal Ryan Nearnan echoed Heiney, and added his support to the project, claiming how his time being scrutinized for a minor political gaffe at McGill has helped him become a better, more introspective person.
“I will admit there are times I wish I could Google my name and not have a thousand links with the word ‘humiliating’ in the headline come up,” Nearnan explained. “But now when I go into interviews and they ask me that question about how I overcame adversary, I’m always prepared, and honestly that’s what really matters.”
This story is a work of satire and appeared as part of our April Fools Issue 2015.