We have full faith in the ability of both Lauren Hudak and Emily Clare to do an exceptional job as VP university affairs next year. Ultimately, we feel that Hudak’s wide range of experience and record of working with diverse groups will make her SSMU’s most effective representative to the university administration.
Both candidates have similarly strong platforms. They are interested in increasing student services, including commitments to decrease waiting times for notoriously backlogged McGill health services. Clare and Hudak are both devoted to increasing accessibility. While Clare has placed more emphasis on fighting tuition hikes, their platforms both pledge to create more work study positions, improve student aid, and raise undergraduate participation in research. Each has unique aspects as well. Clare, for instance, wants to institute more half-year French classes and make campus food more affordable. Hudak pledges to fight for more student representation on the Athletics Board and smaller class sizes.
It is good to see that Hudak and Clare are both capable of setting concrete goals, but even the most phenomenal UA vision must be tempered against the goals of five fellow executives, the results of much-promised consultation, and the agenda of an often stubborn administration. More important than platform, then, is how we can expect candidates to handle committee meetings, negotiations with the administration, Senate, and any other unexpected issues. Their respective past experiences are all we have to go on in assessing them on those issues.
Again, both inspire faith. Clare has been a devoted and hard-working equity commissioner, even if the Tribune has taken issue with aspects of the new equity policy. She is friendly, affable, professional, and uninterested in engaging in fruitless adversarial politics with the administration. Her consistent attendance at Council meetings this year and her demonstrated commitment to working with faculty associations indicate that she is familiar with SSMU’s workings and interested in learning. Clare would make a fine VP university affairs.
Hudak, though, stands out even more. She is also personable and professional. In addition to being the current SUS representative to Council, she is the Engineering Undergraduate Society speaker of council and was the SSMU speaker last year. She has therefore been present for nearly every piece of SSMU legislation passed in the last two years, and knows SSMU politics inside and out. She was also one of the most active councillors this year. She served on a number of committees and contributed to the crafting of important resolutions like the boycott of McGill Food and Dining Services in the wake of the Arch Café closure. She demonstrated a consistent willingness to work beyond ideological bounds, rarely providing a predictable stance and showing an ability to gain the respect of a wide spectrum of fellow councillors. As an Arts and Science student who knows EUS policy, she also brings a strong understanding of a broad array of student life to the table, and can more than any other candidate claim to be a representative of SSMU’s members. While her support of a motion to have students vote on defunding QPIRG that was later ruled out of order might have been a misstep, the Daily’s assertion that it demonstrates a “complete misunderstanding of the powers of SSMU” is grossly hyperbolic. Few councillors can claim to have never erred; fewer councillors can claim as much intimate knowledge of SSMU as Lauren Hudak.
Both are excellent candidates. However, Hudak’s pragmatic approach may be the most promising for dealing with significant issues. When it comes to who would be the best face for students at Senate, with the administration, and in committees, we vote for Hudak.