What do you think would be the most important issues facing the VP UA next year?
One of them will be tuition for sure, it has been shown that tuition increases seem to be inevitable for this upcoming year, however as VP UA I will definitely take a very hard stand against tuition hikes, but at the same time I feel that it’s very important for the VP UA to have some tangible solutions to the inevitable, it’s more than just taking a stance, you actually have to do something about it which is why in my platform I really emphasize expanding the amount of scholarships and student aid, because financial barriers shouldn’t be a reason why [students] don’t attend McGill. Students are paying you to do a job and we should be providing them with solutions.
The relationship between students and the administration is often characterized by this dichotomy between adversarialism and cooperation, what would be your approach to the administration as VP UA?
The administration will not want to work with students if they’re constantly trying to take them down from the other side. I would be firm, but at the same time I would always listen to the other side, because it always takes two to tango, and ultimately the administration holds the upper hand in a lot of circumstances, and so in order for students’ voices to be heard and to be taken seriously we need to be very constructive and proactive, but firm at the same time.
What do you think VP has done well this year, and what would you do differently?
I have a very high perspective of VP Abaki because I feel that he has taken a strong stand on multiple issues and has accomplished them extremely well. I think what takes him apart from previous UAs is his ability to delegate well.
The only mechanism that I would do differently, is when you say consultation, you actually mean consultation, and as a VP UA it’s very difficult to have the time to do the things that you want to do, however a very big priority is not being out of touch with students.
How has your work with SSMU and other student organizations prepared you for the role of VP UA?
First and foremost I’m in the inter-faculty of Arts and Science so I think this has given me a very diverse perspective of the pros and cons of being in both Arts and Science. I’ve been involved in SSMU for many years being the speaker on Council [and] I feel that I can really conduct myself in a very impartial manner, and that I’m always open to listen to people’s opinion. So I know the SSMU from a very apolitical position, but I also know it from a very political position as being the Science representative and it’s extremely important because in this position you need to have the experience of engaging yourself within politics.