Emily Boytinck, U3 Science, was elected the Vice-President (VP) External of the Student’s Society of McGill University (SSMU) last Friday with 56.3 per cent of the vote. The opposing candidate, Joanna Schacter, U3 Arts, earned 43.7 per cent of the vote. 2185 students in total voted in the election, with 369 abstentions.
Following the announcement of the results, Boytinck expressed her excitement and gratitude.
“I just feel very relieved, and happy for all the support that I received during the campaign,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to connecting with the Montreal community more and really getting involved and connecting with other student associations across Montreal and in Quebec. I think that’ll be a really exciting part of the portfolio this [upcoming] year.”
The by-election for SSMU’s VP External position was held because no candidates were nominated during the initial SSMU elections campaign period. A nomination period for the by-election followed, and ended on March 20, with Boytinck and Schacter being announced as the two candidates.
2185 students voted in the VP-External by-election compared to the 5465 students who voted in the SSMU elections. Boytinck underscored the issues of student engagement in elections at McGill.
“It’s a little disappointing that the turnout was lower for [the by-election],” she said. “I think that has not only to do with the fact that there is a lot of misinformation about what the VP External actually does, but also just apathy about politics in Quebec.”
Schacter expressed gratitude towards the students who had voted in the by-election.
“I’m grateful to each and every voter, not just to those who voted in my favour, but to everyone who did vote, even the abstentions,” she said. “I wish [Boytinck] the best of luck.”
Schacter also echoed Boytinck’s concerns of student engagement with SSMU elections.
“We are a university filled with opinionated people,” she said. “There is no way that students have nothing to say, or that any existing apathy is innate. If participation is low numbers-wise, which it is, that is a symptom of a larger problem—one in which I believe that SSMU has a hand [in]. What SSMU does is by no means easy, but there needs to be a greater effort at outreach and accessible information, and, in particular, at representing a greater variety of students more equitably.”
Going forward, Schacter hopes that all issues and suggestions brought forward by both candidates during the campaign process will taken under consideration for the coming year.
“We both brought a lot of great ideas to the table, and I hope that this election has [allowed Boytinck] to look at multiple perspectives and student issues that she will take into consideration going forward,” Schacter said.