Hillel Montreal President and former EUS and SSMU Speaker of Council Zach Newburgh was elected SSMU president on Thursday evening, narrowly edging out his competitors with 28.6 per cent of the vote. Newburgh’s margin of victory was only 1.5 per cent of the vote over AUS Senator Sarah Woolf.
“It was an extremely close race,” said Newburgh. “All of the candidates ran a tremendous campaign.”
In the other contested elections, Myriam Zaidi earned 46.7 per cent of the vote to win the position of vice-president external. Josh Abaki pulled out a victory in the VP university affairs race with 49.3 per cent of the vote-winning on a platform of a “student-centered university.” Abaki, who claimed that he was the underdog, was overjoyed with his victory.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “I’m really, really glad. I didn’t think it would happen, especially after not getting the endorsements and so many things happening, but I am really glad. I think I was able to get through to students and the hard work that I’ve put in through the year has finally paid off.”
In another contested race, Tom Fabian was elected VP internal with 54.9 per cent of the vote, the highest percentage of all the races for SSMU executive positions. Fabian credited the victory to his platform of promoting athletics and expanding university social affairs, although he felt the race was hotly contested until the last minute.
“I’m speechless,” said Fabian. “Five minutes before this I was stressing out so much, I just had it in my head all day. I’m very relieved.”
In the acclaimed elections, Nicholas Drew and Anushay Kahn were approved for the positions of VP finance and VP clubs and services, with 67.8 per cent and 66.4 per cent of the vote, respectively.
Among the referenda questions, The McGill Tribune won its independence with 49.9 per cent of the vote, ensuring that the Tribune will become an independent organization funded by a non-opt-outable $3 student fee. A referendum to insert the words “bodily sovereignty” into the SSMU Constitution was also approved, with a 64.2 per cent “yes” vote. TVMcGill also secured a 50-cent per semester opt-outable fee with 50 per cent approval.
“At the bottom of our souls, we thought we weren’t going to get it, but we’re so happy we did, and we can’t wait to really make a big impact on campus next year and really make our presence felt,” said Alex Seltzer, features and series producer for TVMcGill.
“We know TVMcGill isn’t a huge organization, but this is the next step,” said Executive Producer Arthur Cormon. “It’s what we want to do to keep going and become more legitimate. This was definitely the year for this to happen, and we’re super excited. We’re not the Daily or the Tribune yet, but we’re getting there.”
In the senatorial elections, Matt Reid was elected management senator, securing 34.9 per cent of the vote in the six-candidate race.
“I feel spectacular,” said Reid. “I’m in first year now, but I’m ready to make changes. It’s a really great opportunity for me.”
Claudette van Zyl, Amara Possian and Tyler Lawson were elected as arts senators, earning 28.5 per cent, 25.3 per cent and 16.2 per cent of the vote respectively. All of the new senators were excited by their victories.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” said Lawson. “I’m so excited. … It’s going to be fantastic and I’m pumped. I’m just so taken aback right now.”
Andrew Doyle and Simon Liu were both elected as engineering senators. Hui Long Li and Annie Ma won 25.6 per cent and 33.6 per cent of the vote, and will serve as science senators next year. In the race for law senator, Randall Blom captured 53.6 per cent of the vote. Catherine Ready was also approved as music senator, with an 81.3 per cent approval rate in the uncontested race.