MT: What experiences qualify you for the position of VP UA?
JS: I’m the VP Academic for the PSSA and last semester I chaired two of the hiring committees for the new political theory prof and the new international relations prof, and the new comparative politics prof—I wasn’t the undergraduate chair, but I did help the chair conduct the interviews—so I have a lot of experience dealing with faculty. So, on a faculty level, I think that experience directly relates to being able to deal with administration, and also representing student interests. Obviously there were a lot of course selection meetings last semester about courses they want to hold for next year, and we send out surveys trying to get opinions. One big one was trying to get a “Women in Politics” course, because it is really ridiculous that McGill poli sci doesn’t have a “Women in Politics” course, so that experience of dealing with faculty on that level is directly related to being able to deal with administration.
MT: Your platform talks about professionalizing SSMU in a sense. How specifically is this going to strengthen the link between students and administration?
JS: The Internship Offices Network is the network that coordinates internships for sciences, agricultural sciences, arts, management and engineering. I want to coordinate with them so that students can do academic internships at SSMU. At the last GA, one of the really good motions that was passed was one on conflict minerals by the girls in the STAND club, and it was a really good motion, really well researched. I want to have the opportunity to have those really well researched motions at SSMU, and so I think coordinating with the internships office would not only be providing students with internships at SSMU, but it would also be able to have more policy documents on the desk of the administration, and strengthen our policy that way. It’s sort of a two-pronged approach.
I have some other ideas about engaging admin, too. One of my ideas is to invite admin to the GAs. Just like Haley and all the execs presented what they’ve been doing over the course of the year and over the course of the semester at the beginning, it would be really cool if we had HMB presenting what was going on with the budget cuts at the GA. Most students, they don’t have time to sit through two hours of Masi talking about his PowerPoint presentation in the middle of the day, but a GA is [on] our terms. It doesn’t happen very often, so if we can bridge that gap and invite the administration to present then it would not only engage more students, but get everyone a bit more involved in the process and opening up that dialogue between the two parties. I also want to create joint Senate-admin committees, because the reason we have senators is [because] students don’t have time to sit through town halls, and consultation fairs. I went to the advising one last semester, and the one on the protocol, and there were more students from the press there than there were actually regular students giving their opinions, so … creating direct SSMU-admin committees utilizing our student representatives is also another part of my ‘engaging admin’ strategy.
MT: Do you have any ideas of how to get more students to attend GAs?
JS: Well I think that by inviting administrators, that would definitely increase interest. I think that there would have been a lot more people if we had advertised that [Principal Heather Munroe-Blum] was coming. Getting people to come to GAs—it’s a hard issue. SSMU this year tried really hard to get people involved, and they did the great thing before about having the workshops on Robert’s Rules and I think it was well-advertised, but it is hard and I have one idea—obviously the admin thing—but I think that needs to continually be worked on and debated and discussed to try to get more students involved.
MT: So why are you the candidate best suited for the position?
JS: I think that, being U3, I’m really familiar with this school, I know all the different execs—engineering, management [for example]. By the time you’re in fourth year, you’ve understood how the McGill community works together and how it doesn’t work together. And I think that my direct experience with faculty and having that real experience of trying to represent political science students’ interests to the faculty directly, I think that those two things really make me the best candidate for the position, and my ideas too.
MT: What were you for halloween this year?
JS: Oh my god, I was so many things for halloween. Halloween is my favourite holiday. Okay. I was Carrie, if you’ve seen the horror film, the 1970s Steven King, the one where she’s covered in blood. I was Nietzsche, on Oct. 31 which was a Wednesday, I had an existentialism exam on Nietzsche so I dressed up as Nietzsche, it was pretty cool, I was like the only one actually dressed up on campus. I dressed up as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and—what was my other thing? Maybe that was it, maybe there were only three things. But yeah, I love Halloween. Halloween is literally my favourite holiday, it’s better than Christmas.
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