Corinne Bulger, one of two SSMU presidential candidates, sat down with The Bull & Bear last Friday to discuss her candidacy. She emphasized that team building would be a key aspect of her role, if elected. Bulger stated that “the team within the executive, SSMU, and Legislative Council will be the face of SSMU for a lot of the year,” and that it is “important to build that strong network early on.” She sees the role as a “really administrative one,” and believes that her experience as a Floor Fellow, Rez Lifer, and AUS executive would help her with those duties. Bulger also cited the administrative aspect of the role as one that is largely behind the scenes, noting that most students see the portfolio as a more outward facing one that it actually is.
Bulger expressed her sadness about the apathy that she sees as fuelling the mistrust students feel toward the Society. She validated the concerns of the membership, however, and stated that she would like to ensure that she and her team “are going out into community, rather than [having] the community come into [it], especially with the building closure.”
When asked about the divisive issues SSMU faces, Bulger noted that SSMU is a “representative and advocating body,” and that “deciding that [one perspective] is the voice of all the students is not [the SSMU’s] job,” but rather bringing various perspectives to the administration to ensure many voices are heard. She stressed that the SSMU executive’s main role is ensuring the upkeep and wellbeing of the union so as to provide adequate services for students.
Bulger hopes that the building closure will be an opportunity to “bring the student body together.” She is confident that the new spaces on Peel and Robert Bourassa will adequately serve clubs and services, and reiterated that, if elected, she and her team would proactively go out to the various student groups to ensure the spaces are working, and to determine what could be done better.
SSMU Presidential Candidate Tre Mansdoerfer spoke with The Bull & Bear about his campaign, where he emphasized rebuilding SSMU’s relationship with the greater student body of McGill. “The most important part of the role is understanding that you are representing the entire student body, and to do so you must be engaging with the entire student body. I feel like there is a big disconnect with SSMU, so the most important part is understanding that you are a representative.” When asked about how he could change the loss in confidence some students felt toward members of the SSMU Executive, Tre stressed the need for proactive community building. “Something I want to do is to actively engage and not necessarily always stay inside the SSMU building, which I think is kind of typical.”
The Bull & Bear then asked the Presidential candidate how he plans to lead the executive in a way that ensures unified leadership and a successful year in terms of student advocacy and interest. “I think the most important thing in creating a unified team is having an understanding that we are all there to do the right thing,” Mansdoerfer responded. “Something that needs to happen is that while we are respecting each other, we need to be actively listening to each others’ opinions. You can’t just pretend to listen and sort of reject, because I think that is what has created a divide over the past year, that a lot of people who aren’t really listening are sticking to their guns and are not actually trying to give any form of courtesy or respect for people’s views.”
Mansdoerfer was then asked about how he plans to implement separate task forces to advocate for solutions to issues such as a fall reading week, mental health, and a strong sexual violence policy. For a fall reading week, Mansdoerfer noted “[Ollivier] Dyens is getting replaced this summer, and I think we could re-engage the conversation with the new Deputy Provost [Student Life and Learning] and find an ally in the administration.” Tre then addressed his proposed mental health task force, stating that “The mental health taskforce would have [student Senators], mental health commissioners, as well as members at large who can strategize [and] have interactions with the administration...The Senators in general have a lot of connections with the administration to further these important causes.”