Darshan Daryanani claims SSMU presidency in narrowly passed election

The 2021-2022 Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) executive election polling period closed on March 19 at 5:00 p.m. EST, ringing in Darshan Daryanani, U3 Arts, as the  SSMU President-elect. Daryanani was elected with 1614 the electorate ranking him first on the ballot. The second-place candidate, Jake Reed, U2 Engineering, amassed 935 votes as the first-choice candidate. The election, which saw 3455 out of 22691 undergraduate electors vote, narrowly met the required quorum of 15 per cent.

Students also elected Claire Downie, U3 Arts, to be the next Vice-President (VP) University Affairs (UA)—the only other contested position in the running. Downie surpassed her opponent Neel Soman, U3 Arts, winning 60 per cent of the student vote.

VP Finance Éric Sader, VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla, VP Internal Sarah Paulin and VP External Sacha Delouvrier, will make up the rest of the executive team.

Incoming SSMU President Daryanani’s platform centres on revamping student spaces, introducing student services like a SSMU smartphone application, advocating for marginalized students, and ensuring anti-oppression practices at McGill. Daryanani reflected on his campaign and detailed his goals in a statement to the Tribune.

“It has been an equally challenging and rewarding experience, and I cannot wait to begin the hard work of fulfilling my campaign promises alongside my peers at SSMU,” Daryanani wrote. “Throughout the past four years, I have witnessed the limitless resilience of McGill students. Over the next few months, I hope to consult with key stakeholders to coordinate a seamless transition and discuss plans for the coming term.”

Downie was elected VP University Affairs on her platform to advocate for the continuation of the expanded S/U policy for students, uphold COVID-19 safety guidelines in Fall 2021, and push for greater academic accessibility, especially for students with disabilities. Downie acknowledged the work of her predecessors.

“It felt very special to get to know new people during COVID, where meeting new people has been harder than most years,” Downie wrote. “I feel so lucky to have learned from Madeline and Brooklyn over the past two years [….] I am grateful for everyone who trusted me with this responsibility. I do not take this work lightly.”

Incoming VP Internal Paulin hopes to improve communication between different faculties and increase Francophone representation at McGill. Her platform focusses on ensuring safety during the transition back to in-person learning formats.

“I am so excited to get to work and create a more transparent campus during my time at SSMU,” Paulin wrote. “I hope the legacy I am able to leave is one of increased communication and a more accessible campus for all, particularly [for] first-year and Francophone students [….] My first course of action will be to create a timeline of events that will promote safety on campus while attempting to bring back a semblance of normalcy to campus.”

VP External-elect Delouvrier commended current VP External Ayo Ogunremi’s work and is looking forward to beginning his term.

“I would like to underline the high quality of the work that the incumbent, Ayo Ogunremi, has done,” Delouvrier wrote. “I look forward to advocating for student rights, conducting political affairs, and helping students transition back to in-person learning and activities, whether it is from the SSMU offices or directly on the streets as part of a mobilization effort.”

All but one of the Winter 2021 Referendum questions were passed with a “yes” vote, with 50.4 per cent voting against a proposed increase of the SSMU membership fee. The increased member fee would have gone toward providing hourly wages for student senators and councillors.

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