SSMU Executive Midterm Reviews Fall 2019

Bryan Buraga, President  

In light of the SSMU General Manager’s recent resignation and delays in the University Centre reopening, Buraga has done an admirable job ensuring that there has not been a negative impact on the resources and services that SSMU provides to students. His advocacy for a Fall Reading Week is much needed. However, he has remained preoccupied with a desire to fulfill a number of his ambitious campaign goals, which is rather ill-suited to the primary duties of the presidential position. Hopefully, Buraga will be able to narrow his focus towards a few key aims next semester so he can see the end of projects that he starts.

Billy Kawasaki, VP Student Life  

Kawasaki has improved club executives’ access to the information and resources in various ways, including making it easier to book rooms and request services such as MSERT for club events. Additionally, he is collaborating with the mental health commissioners, the VP University Affairs, and the Student Wellness Hub on several projects and policies to improve mental health resources at McGill. Kawasaki has fallen short, however, with the Club Fund. A proposed $5 increase to the clubs fund fee was included in the Fall 2019 referendum and would have gone toward services like his proposed club portal. Unfortunately, Kawasaki neglected to present a campaign that justified the fee increase to students and the vote failed. 

Sam Haward, VP Finance

Haward has had an excellent first term as SSMU’s VP Finance. Haward’s management of the club banking reset is laudable, as a process that led to a month-long blackout period for club funds last year was completed in just eight days. While the new bank has proven slow at times, Haward has handled this challenge by implementing a system that ensures clubs can still operate during waiting periods. Haward has also proven adaptable in his position by reworking campaign promises when necessary, like with his work on procuring better prices for the McGill International Student Health Insurance Plan. Other initiatives that Haward has taken on include providing certain clubs, such as the Midnight Kitchen, with their own credit cards to ensure unnecessarily slow bureaucratic processes are bypassed, all while holding double office hours to ensure that he is accessible to clubs that need in-person assistance. 

Adam Gwiazda-Amsel, VP External 

During a semester in which protest movements such as Divest McGill and advocacy against Bill 21 have largely characterized student politics, Adam Gwiazda-Amsel has succeeded in supporting student groups aiming to make a difference. While he has encountered challenges in receiving support from the McGill administration, particularly in his attempts to bridge the gap between McGill and Montreal, progress toward his larger goals of integrating students into the Milton-Parc community is underway. Additionally, the creation of the Affordable Student Housing Committee on SSMU Legislative Council has laid the groundwork for further progress next semester.

Madeline Wilson, VP University Affairs  

Wilson has collaborated with and directed various campaigns on campus this semester, including ‘Know Your Rights’, as well as advocating for improved accessibility at the Student Wellness Hub and supporting initiatives pressuring the McGill administration to divest from fossil fuel companies. In the Winter 2020 semester, she plans to create a database of searchable university-related documents, support the Arts Senators including Chloe Kemeni in creating a Black Students Bill of Rights, and research McGill’s assessment policies regarding how students are graded. Although her idea of including an updates corner on the SSMU listserv was not realized, Wilson has used her personal Facebook account to actively support individual students and student groups. 

Sanchi Bhalla, VP Internal 

Bhalla has had a rocky semester, receiving criticism from the student body for poorly-worded French translations in listserv emails, neglecting to formally acknowledge Remembrance Day in a Nov. 11 newsletter, and most significantly, failing to send an important announcement in a timely manner on behalf of the SSMU Indigenous Affairs Committee. While the Tribune recognizes the efforts that Bhalla has made to ameliorate student concerns on these issues, her inability to regain the trust of the Indigenous Affairs Committee and Indigenous student leaders has prevented her from adequately fulfilling her role as VP Internal. Although the time may have passed, the absence of a public statement or apology from Bhalla regarding the concerns expressed by the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner is disappointing. 


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