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CKUT Fee Question “Yes” Committee

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CKUT has been proud to be your campus radio station since 1987. 365
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access to internships, training, ticket deals, and top-notch
campus-community programming at one of Montreal?s most popular radio
stations. (For real. Just ask the Montreal Mirror.) Whether you?re a
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Vote YES!!!
lots of luv.

Katie Larson

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Katie Larson has a background both at SSMU as well as at the Faculty Association level, from which she brings an eclectic knowledge of the McGill Community as a whole. Larson is the President of the Music Undergraduate Students’ Association, and was a SSMU Legislative Councilor (2010-2011) where she worked with the VP Clubs&Services on the Interest Group Committee as well as the VP Finance&Operations on the Finance Committee. As VP Internal she is eager to implement proactive improvements in communication, encourage collaboration between Student Associations, and commit to diverse programming to engage all SSMU members.

Claire Michela

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As Recording Secretary of the SSMU Legislative Council, and Vice-President Finance of my departmental association, I have over a year of experience with SSMU and financial organizing. Next year, I will make underused funds (like the green fund) more accessible to students by reaching out to faculties and schools, and consulting SSMU clubs and services directly. Regarding operations, I will implement pay-as-you-go mini courses at Gerts. Also, the new student-run café will be developed through negotiations with McGill. I have watched SSMU in negotiations, and my understanding will make the process efficient. You can count on me! www.countonclaire.wordpress.com

SSMU Council discusses co-signing letter with MUNACA

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Sam Reynolds / McGill Tribune

Councillor resignation

The session began with an announcement that Fenimore Love, the representative to SSMU Council from the faculty of religious studies, was resigning from his position. He did so without any explanation; the council expects a replacement.

Libraries

Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries, was invited to council as a guest speaker. She was appointed to the position last year, following a move from Texas A&M University. She answered questions about current plans for McGill’s library system.

Asked to compare Canadian university libraries to American university libraries, Cook said that the latter had nicer spaces. In terms of collections, Cook said that McGill is “just right at adequate,” due to the availability of electronic access, but in the physical book world, there’s much room for improvement.

Potential plans include a larger eating area in Redpath and the renovation of one of the floors on McLennan.  

Question period

During council, councillors discussed the events of Nov.  10. Some wondered what SSMU was doing to support students, and whether it could do more. SSMU President Maggie Knight discussed an independent student inquiry, in conjunction with Dean Jutras’ investigation, into what took place on Nov. 10.

“We don’t have a completely unbiased, everything co-ordinated, version of what happened, although McGill security might, we’re not [entirely] sure at this point,” she said. “There [are] also students doing an independent student inquiry into what happened … because we don’t know exactly what’s going to come out of the dean of law’s investigation.”

VP External Joël Pedneault mentioned another concern for many groups on campus: the increasingly securitized atmosphere at McGill. He expressed trepidation that Dean Jutras’ inquiry would lead to a further increase in security presence.  Knight addressed that concern, saying it would be  interesting to include in feedback for   Dean Jutras’ investigation. 

“Certainly in the conversations that VP Clare I had with univeristy saftey and university services in advance of Monday’s event, we were very concerned that they would have a really beefy security presence there, that it  would sort of further escalate things,” said Knight. “They seem to have an awareness of the fact that that would be inappropriate.”

General Assembly reform

SSMU councillors discussed a notice of motion on General Assembly (GA) reform. As Speaker Nida Nizam reminded Council, this motion was intended to address some quick questions about the process of GA reform. Nevertheless, Knight was faced with big picture questions regarding concerns with the reform’s structural process. 

“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the level of involvement in this process that I would have liked,” Knight responded. “Please do your job … and I’m not implying that that people haven’t been so far, but please take the next two weeks to do your job and really bring forward what you want to see for Dec. 1. [Otherwise], we’ll yet again fail to reform the GA.”

SSMU Council time limits

Engineering Councillor Alexander Kunev presented a motion to limit council sessions to seven hours in an attempt to standardize time allocation for the meeting. Concerns were raised regarding council’s ability to deal with time-sensitive issues, as well as travel time for students who live far away from downtown Montreal.

“Council always has the ability to vote to table a motion … and perhaps it should simply be a right that council utilizes more effectively,” said President Knight.

Annual budget approved

VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel presented his plan for SSMU’s 2011-12 budget. Major changes included allocating funding to the Sustainability Case Competition and an increase in the Ambassador Fund to $34,000. The budget was passed unanimously. 

 Letter to education minister

VP External Joël Pedneault introduced a letter written by MUNACA to the Minister of Education, Leisure, and Sport. The letter called for the Minister to take action “to ensure a respectful learning environment for all members of the McGill community,” and cited tumultuous events such as the MUNACA strike and the deployment of riot police on campus. MUNACA would not entertain any changes to the letter, stylistic or otherwise, so council debated three available choices: signing the letter in conjunction with MUNACA, not signing any letters, or sending a revised version.

Many councillors cite concerns over the letter’s allegations regarding the events of Thursday, Nov. 10. Ultimately, a vote of 2-6-17-1, with an abstention and six councillors opposed to sending any letter at all, mandated council to send its own version of the letter, to be drafted by Pedneault.

JoÃl Pedneault – VP External Affairs

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What are the main issues you’ll be focusing on this year?

As people know, the government announced that there will be a massive tuition increase starting September 2012. So my immeditate priority is to inform as many students as possible of that fact, what the effects of that might be, and hopefully to get as many people as possible out to marches and demonstrations. There will be a General Assembly at the end of September where people will be able to take a position on the most recent increase and decide where to move forward. There will be a big demonstration on Nov. 10, for which we hope to organize a McGill contingent. The overall goal for the year is to make McGill students’ participation in what will be a student mobilization against tuition increases as big as possible. More immediately, as well trying to inform as many students a possible about the MUNACA strike, what it means, why they’re on strike and to get them out on picket lines, and to make the strike as short and as successful as possible.

What are your expectations for this year?

I get the feeling that mobilization and involvement in student activism at McGill has been picking up; the ball got rolling last year thanks to my predecessor Myriam [Zaidi]. My expectations are that more and more people are going to be involved; I expect large McGill contingents in student demonstrations this year. I’m also expecting participation in various events—panels, discussions, workshops—that I, and a lot of other people, are going to be organizing to ensure people know about tuition increases and to think about issues in post secondary education as well.

Something new you’re bringing to the role?

I’d like to work a lot on doing a lot more research and a lot more advocacy for specifically international and out-of-province students this year. The Quebec Student Movement represents mainly the concerns of students who pay Quebec fees (which makes sense, as most people in Quebec pay Quebec fees). What we want to do is basically advocate for those excluded students and make sure the student movement does as well.

 

Never have I ever not skinny-dipped in Lake Ontario.

Stefan Prokopetz – VP Finance & Operations

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What experience do you think you bring into this position?

I'm currently doing work for the assistant director of finance here at McGill, I'm doing research on IPOs. So people definitely trust my financial expertise, I understand financial statements, I did budgeting this summer for work. I did a lot of journal entries, low level accounting this summer for a Winnipeg company.

I want to meet with all the heads of clubs and services at McGill just to go over their budgets, my position is definitely not apolitical, but I feel it's more apolitical, so yes the Council site is extremely important I realize that, but it's more important to be able to deal with the 3.3 million dollars in a financially stable way and that's crucial, we're talking about the sustainability of SSMU.

What plans do you have for the Book Bazaar?

Definitely online, I think there were initiatives to start it this year, there's definitely McGill classifieds but I don't think it gets used enough, it's not user-friendly enough. And that would be also a one time fixed cost instead of continually paying every year, you set up a website, and then it lasts forever.

What is your vision for Gert's?

Depending on how much power I'm given or how much sway I have with council, I'd like to renovate it now. But if not, definitely keep up with the promotions, so as much as I can do, I definitely don't want to delegate the responsibility away, and I think that's unique to me.

How will you work to make sure that the investment decisions that are made by SSMU's VP Finance are represented by the entire student body?

I'm not going to be investing a hundred percent to the equities of something like Goldman Sachs, to somebody who is tearing up the rainforest, again I said I'm here to make money but definitely I'm going to be working very closely with FERC and I'm bringing back the investment advisor at Council.

If you were a mixed drink what would you be and why?

I like a gin and cranberry juice, because cranberry juice is so innocent but gin's got a little bit of fun too so I think it's a pleasant mix.

 

Emily Clare – VP University Affairs

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With regards to the administration people have adversarial relationships towards it or cooperative relations, where do you think your approach falls?

 I think we have to be ourselves as student representatives but also a resource to the university to get information into what students want. So it’s important to work with the administration at that level and make sure we provide the support they need in order to make sure that information is getting out. But also, it’s important to stand by SSMU’s principles and fight for them. It has to be item by item, and we have to respond to the student body.

 

What do you think would be the most important issues that you would be addressing next year?

Making sure that there is more open and accessible education, inside and outside of the classroom. Also, making sure that SSMU-administration relations are a lot more transparent and open, and that’s also working with the executive team making sure that we are a coherent team, there are a lot of opportunities for the VP UA to work with every single other portfolio. Finally, it’s very much about creating a new culture of community, and I think one of the most important things is increasing the portion of international students, the services aren’t adequate for them, we need to make sure that there is enough support in terms of health services, mental health services, off-campus housing that’s affordable,  and make sure that there’s affordable food on campus.

So I think it’s very much about creating a global community and these three ideas have to be implemented in sync. It has to be done together in order for it to be cohesive and substantial and to actually affect change.

 

How do you feel your work as equity commissioner has prepared you for taking on the responsibilities of the UA position, and why UA?

 I think what I’ve done as equity commissioner has kind of taught me a methodology which is extremely appropriate for the UA, it’s about dealing with different issues, and looking at different perspectives and trying to put students first. As equity commissioner I have demonstrated that I have the ability to reach out to everyone. I think my experience definitely suits me in terms of dealing with different levels of student governance at McGill.

 

If you could go back in time and high five one person, who would it be?

Let’s go Canadian, Trudeau. I can high-five Trudeau, right after he did the pirouette, I could do that, that would be like badass.

Natalie Talmi – VP Internal

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As you know, there are going be some major changes happening to Frosh next year. How do you feel about these changes, how do you feel that they’ve been handled by Tom Fabian, the current VP Internal?

If they’re done correctly, which I feel I could do, then they could be amazing.   I think the new schedule is really great in that it really embraces student independence.  But I don’t think [Fabian] is being nearly as vocal or as involved in getting faculty societies involved in the decision-making.  He hasn’t formed an opinion or stood up for student independence, which I think is really important.

 

The VP Internal position is often criticized as being nothing more than party planner. Do you see the role as more than that?

I absolutely do. One major way that it is is that the VP internal should be there to represent clubs, societies, students on campus. One of my ideas is to get clubs more involved in the planning of events. Being there for support and promotion of student-run initiatives is a major goal that is sometimes overlooked.

 

That being said, do you have an ideas for new events?

I don’t know if it would be possible to really coordinate this, but I would love to have the clubs and societies run … a big field day. It would be sort of like Street Fest, but more interactive.  

 

Another challenge often faced by the VP internal stems from McGill’s location. How do you engage students in SSMU events when your competition is the city of Montreal?

 I don’t see the city of Montreal as a competition, I see it as amazing, and you can work with that. Why not embrace [it] and spread more people into the community?  

 

If you had a hot tub time machine and could travel back to any time or place in history and high-five one person, who would it be and why?

Rosalind Franklin, the woman who got kind of screwed out of her Nobel Prize.  She’s helped [Francis Crick and James Watson] with [the discovery of] DNA.  She was a scientist back in a day when there weren’t a lot of female scientists and she didn’t try and use her femininity to get help from people, she tried to really try to find facts on her own. 

Kady Paterson – VP Internal

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The VP internal gets criticized a lot for just being a party planner, would you agree with that assessment or do you see a bigger role and if so what else?

Well, I definitely agree with the criticism of it being too often a party planner, because I think that is largely what it is now, which is a problem, no question. My actual intent in internalizing the internal portfolio would be to just relate more to the faculties and actually try to build campus community. Break down apathy and create more engagement on campus. Engage politically, engage socially, engage with more students, and actually do something aside from just studying.

Frosh is going to be changing next year, how do you feel about the changes and how the process to change and accommodate SSMU to the changes has been going on right now?

The process has been good, I’ve had the opportunity to work fairly closely on it, I do work for the first year office, so it’s currently my job to recruit people and convince them that this is actually a good idea. I think it’s a step in the right direction in that it is a more inclusive event, it’s not just the crazy Frosh party that it can be, so I think that by having people be Discover McGill tour leaders, academic advising leaders, as well as being Frosh party leaders, it gives people the chance to actually make friends and remember who they met more than a week afterwards.

If you could accomplish one thing next year, what would it be?

Getting orientation off the ground and making sure that it is something people want and people are interested in, we’re trying to use it as a spring-board both at the administration level and at the SSMU level, to start engaging through the entire year, so having that actually work, and having people be pleased about the event, and see the advantages. It will also help build relationships with the Milton-Parc community, so having a successful Orientation Week, and getting people behind that idea and in support of how it works.

 

If you were a drink what would you be?

I’d probably be an Old Fashioned because has a lot of parts to it, it’s not something that you can just get thrown together, it’s something that actually has a lot of parts that make it a tasty drink and it’s also something that has passed the test of time as far as mixed drinks can go.

Todd Plummer – VP Internal

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How do you feel about the changes to Frosh?

I believe it’s too soon to take a stand on how we feel about Frosh, but I am totally in favour of how this year we are working more closely with the administration. I’m working hard to keep the parts of Frosh that we like alive.

 

In general, would you say that open dialogue is a big part of your platform?  

Yes, with the administration. In all aspects.

 

Anything else that you’re especially going to promote?

I hope to foster a sense of community among the students. I feel like this year’s VP internal has done a fairly good job of catering to a small section of the student body, but I look forward to engaging with the smaller cultural groups on campus, the faculty associations, working more with Athletics, and especially working with people from Montreal that still live at home.

Tom has an excellent relationship with SPIN, his events planning committee, and that’s really crucial. But I think he’s stepped on the toes of faculty associations a few times.   

 

Do you have any ideas for new events?

I want to make a permanent student art gallery happen somewhere on campus. I’d also like to do some off-campus events to engage the people that live at home.  

 

How do you plan to engage students when your competition is Montreal?

By working with off-campus bars and organizing cultural events off campus.

 

What are your strengths?

I bring a lot of experience to the table, working on small events, working on large events, completely conceptualizing events on my own and making them happen, like AUS Charity Week.  

I’m really good at damage control. I came into AUS Frosh right before it [ran a large deficit] and tried to minimize the damage, and also was an AUS exec. this year with our whole tax situation and financial situation. I’m really good at negotiating with the administration, and I think that’s something I bring to the table that the other candidates don’t.

As much as this is a job, I don’t see it as a nine to five thing. I see it as signing up to do this 24/7. If it means working 20-hour days, I will. I have an idea of the amount of dedication it takes. 

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