(Remi Lu / McGill Tribune)

Khan wins SSMU presidency by 78 votes

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A mere 78 votes decided the winner of the presidency for the 2014-15 Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) executive in results released Friday at Gerts.

Tariq Khan, U3 Engineering, was elected as SSMU president with 29.8 per cent of the vote, beating out runner-up Courtney Ayukawa.

Other members of the 2014-2015 SSMU executive team will include Claire Stewart-Kanigan, Stefan Fong, Kathleen Bradley, Amina Moustaqim-Barrette, and J. Daniel Chaim.

Tariq Khan elected as new president

As SSMU president, Khan said he is determined to build strong connections in the coming months.

“Winning these elections is a very small part of [gaining respect],” he said. “[The important thing is] winning the representation, and winning the heart—I know I have to earn a lot of trust. I need to work with you all and I look forward to that.”

Khan explained that his upcoming goals as SSMU president would include increasing a sense of cohesion among SSMU members.

“The first step is uniting the team and that will be a big challenge,” he said. “The long-term goal will be earning the trust back from students [….] We will advocate for accountability, and I will start off [with] myself.”

SSMU Clubs Representative Billy Liu said he was looking forward to see what next year’s executives, including Khan, would bring forward.

“I’m interested in seeing how sustainability will be incorporated into [Khan’s] portfolio,” Liu said. “For example, what steps he has planned in sustainability, like specific events, forums, etc., or whether he will hold consultations with other campus groups.”

Elections SSMU issued a public censure on Khan the morning of the last day of voting, which stated that Khan had disregarded the bylaws by asking a non-campaign committee member to send unsolicited text messages to the public.

Khan denied the accusation.

“I was not informed before the censure happened,” Khan said. “I think I should have been consulted and given a chance to represent myself [….] I consulted my campaign manager and he assured me that something from our campaign team did not happen [.…] We will be investigating the entire thing.”

Elections SSMU Chief Electoral Officer Ben Fung said a censure would not affect a candidate after they have won unless there is definitive evidence that the elections were skewed in their favour.

 Other candidates

In the race for vice-president clubs and services, incumbent Stefan Fong received 56.1 per cent of the vote, while his opponent Sandhya Sabapathy received 43.9 per cent. Amina Moustaqim-Barrette defeated opponent Enbal Singer for the position of vice-president external with 60.2 per cent of the votes.

Three uncontested candidates were also elected—Claire Stewart-Kanigan as vice-president university affairs, Kathleen Bradley as vice-president finances and operations, and J. Daniel Chaim as vice-president internal.

 Increase in voter turnout

According to Fung, voter turnout this elections period was impressive in comparison with last year—29.1 per cent in 2013 versus 31.4 per cent this year.

“That’s almost 500 more people,” he said. “Our job as Elections SSMU is to make sure that it’s a fair and equal election, and [to] get as many people to vote as possible [.…] I think we did our best to ensure that both of those things happened.”

Fung also described Elections SSMU’s goals to improve future elections.

“We’re looking into expanding the number of events that are going to happen,” he said. “We’re also going to try to rearrange the voting period and polling period in a way that gives the candidates more time to campaign before the polling period starts.”

 Referendum questions

Students voted in favour of all referendum questions except for the implementation of the University Centre Building Fee.

Questions that passed included those regarding the SSMU First-Year Council Fee, the Organic Campus Fee, disaffiliation from TaCEQ, the Legal Information Clinic at McGill Fee, the Athletics and Recreation Facilities Improvement Fee, the SSMU Access Bursary Fund, the SSMU Ambassador Fund, the SSMU Campus Life Fund, and the SSMU Library Improvement Fund.

 

  • illuminate

    Josh Redel is not very bright for passing a law in SSMU that forbids graduates or students in internships from supporting a candidate. Laws in SSMU reign over full time Undergraduates, so how the hell can you write a law to rule over people that are not in your control? These people do NOT have to check with SSMU before saying anything they want since they are in no relation to SSMU. Freedom of speech in Canada is protected as a “fundamental freedom” by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Anyone is allowed to endorse who ever they want, undergradute or not. You can decide who can vote but you can’t controle what people say. This is just insane. Now I understand that this might not fit in your agenda or your logic because it might seem unfair to you for whatever reason, but understand that it is unconstitutional to EVEN think that you have the slightest power to tell non SSMU members what to say. And sanctioning candidates because a graduate student joined their facebook event is just NUTS!!! how can the candidate control that? how the hell is it her/his fault? Stop thinking that you can control everything in the world because you CAN’T. I hope the new SSMU council will repeal this sickening law that is against the basic human rights and conduct an investigation on how this law was put in place and hold the people who put it accountable for this atrocity of a law.

    • Jen

      I completely agree. Especially at the accountability part. Whoever put this law in place must be held accountable. This is something all candidates faced, not like one over the other. They were all being punished for the free actions of people they couldn’t control. “OMG A GRADUATE STUDENT ATTENDED THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK!! NOT FAIR !!! SANCTIONS NOW!!!!” some people sat on their high horse for too long..

    • Ben

      wrong, josh’s law modification was an amazing thing because it made sure that no organization can back a candidate up, imagine if political parties backed up candidates we would be fucked lol, if you are not at mcgill you simply should not care about the elections and instead you should go #GettaLife 🙂