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SSMU Report Cards

Josh Redel (President): A-

Since coming into office, Josh Redel has proven to be a fair and reliable President.

One of Redel’s biggest projects this year was revamping SSMU General Assemblies (GAs). Although there remains room for improvement, Redel made a number of technology-oriented changes to increase the efficiency of GA operations. He introduced clickers as a means of voting, which significantly increased the efficiency and speed of counting votes; he oversaw an upgrade of the video streaming software, added a “mood watcher,” and successfully transferred the ratification of motions online. While the Tribune is pleased to see so many positive logistical changes, we still believe more could have been done to increase attendance at GAs.

SSMU Legislative Council has also been a significant part of Redel’s portfolio. One of Redel’s pilot projects this year was “Roaming Councils,” which sought to engage and educate councillors about different environments on campus. While the Tribune admires the purpose behind “Roaming Councils,” we are unsure on whether they had the intended impact. Student attendance at SSMU Council meetings was also extremely sparse this year. In an interview with the Tribune, Redel admitted that he wishes he had advertised Council meetings to a greater extent, and worked to make Council more engaging and informative for the average McGill student.

In September, Redel told the Tribune that he had several winter outdoor projects planned, however, apart from the ice rink on lower field, we did not see these materialize. More recently, the Tribune has been particularly intrigued by the Space Campaign, which Redel has been working on with SSMU Vice-President Clubs and Services Allison Cooper. We are pleased to see such proactive consultation with students on SSMU’s part, but we believe a lot more could have been done online, or through social media to promote participation in the campaign.

Overall, the Tribune believes that Redel has been a strong and vocal leader.  We were impressed with the leadership he displayed during the afternoon of the flood. Throughout the year, he has given substantial direction to SSMU councillors, and kept them active and accountable in SSMU affairs. Furthermore, we were impressed by Redel’s presence on Senate, as he often contributed a critical perspective on issues brought to the governing body. However, the Tribune did find that Redel’s position regarding the Protocol on Protests was unclear, and wishes he had adopted more of a concrete stance, whether it was for or against the document.

Redel believes student advocacy was one of his strengths this year, although he acknowledges that it is difficult for students to see this as many committees on which he sits operate under confidentiality agreements, such as the Board of Governors. While it also difficult for the Tribune to comment on this, we appreciate that Redel has maintained a good relationship with the administration during his efforts to protect students’ interests.



Allison Cooper (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune)
Allison Cooper (Alexandra Allaire / McGill TribuneAllison Cooper (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune)

Allison Cooper (VP Clubs & Services): B+

Allison Cooper has been a strong presence within the SSMU Building this year, and has been consistent about keeping students and SSMU councillors informed of her initiatives and progress.

Cooper has taken on many projects, including the reorganization and re-furnishing of clubs’ and services’ offices, which former VP Clubs and Services Carol Fraser initiated during her term the previous year. Cooper oversaw the successful and efficient re-allocation of the McGill Student Emergency Response Team’s and TVM: Student Television at McGill’s offices; however, the Muslim Student Association and the Flat still await their respective moves. According to several clubs and services’ executives, Cooper has remained receptive to and understanding of their preferences and needs in this process.

The Tribune has also been particularly impressed with one of Coopers’ pilot projects, ClubPedia—a comprehensive website where club executives can find easily accessible information on how to run a club. We believe this is a notable step simplifying club management, administration, and interaction. However, we are unsure of its true impact on clubs’ experiences so far.

While we would have liked to see the results of Cooper’s new integrative plan for Winter Activities Night, the event was unfortunately disrupted by the flooding on campus. However, we hope Cooper will leave these innovative ideas for her successor to execute.

Other projects have included efforts to increase the efficiency of the SSMU Room Bookings System, the creation of a Clubs Council, and a Clubs portal (Club Hub). Overall, the Tribune commends Cooper for her persistent enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring clubs and services have the resources and support they need to carry out their activities.


Jean Paul Briggs (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
Jean Paul Briggs (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)

Jean Paul Briggs (VP Finance): B+

While the Tribune wishes Jean Paul Briggs had been more of an active presence on campus this year, it has recently come to light that Briggs has done more for his portfolio than meets the eye.

At the Mar. 14 SSMU Council, it was announced that Briggs helped manage SSMU’s budget so that the Society will nearly break even this year. According to Redel, the previous SSMU executive ran a deficit of approximately  $220,000. Throughout the year, Briggs re-budgeted conservatively to make the overall budget more reflective of the actual expenses SSMU incurs. This includes making strategic cuts to various parts of SSMU where students would feel the least impact.

Whereas in the past, SSMU clubs and services received a lump sum for their expenditures, Briggs has helped them break down their expenses so that it is easier to see what aspects of their budget need more funding and what ones can be cut down. The Tribune believes this will set an important precedent in clubs’ budget management for the years to come.

Briggs also reformatted the process through which SSMU clubs apply for funding, making it more regulated and accessible. Furthermore, in previous years, SSMU audited each club once every Fall; Briggs has now created a second audit in the Winter semester to make the task less daunting for clubs in the Fall.

Briggs told the Tribune that he wishes he could have done more to push the Student-Run Café project along, which was something he highlighted as a priority in his campaign platform last spring. Given confidentiality agreements, Briggs said he was unaware of how much work remained to be done until he took office.

Despite Briggs’ accomplishments, the Tribune wishes he had been more available to campus media, and more outspoken in SSMU Council meetings, where he often appeared disengaged from campus politics.



Haley Dinel (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune)
Haley Dinel (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune)

Haley Dinel (VP University Affairs): B+

The Tribune believes Haley Dinel has done a satisfactory job as Vice-President University Affairs this year.


Dinel has been a vocal representative at both SSMU Council and Senate meetings, and we feel that she has kept a good balance of fighting for students’ interests while maintaining a professional and positive relationship with the McGill administration.


Dinel also oversaw a productive year for the SSMU Equity Commissioners, and has been helpful in promoting equity on campus through workshops and events. The Tribune appreciates Dinel’s progress—albeit slow—in integrating equity into McGill’s mission statement.


The Tribune would also like to commend Dinel for laying the groundwork for an Indigenous Studies minor program. Although Dinel confirmed at SSMU Council on Jan. 10 that research for the program has been completed, we await assurance regarding how and when this project will move forward.


To date, several of Dinel’s pilot projects have stalled. In September, Dinel told the Tribune that she wanted to create an interactive map of McGill (Mapping McGill), and was planning to create a public lecture series titled “McGill 101.” However, these projects still appear to be in preliminary phases.


The Tribune is also disappointed that Dinel stepped down from a leadership role in the organization of Consultation Fairs. Only one SSMU-organized Consultation Fair on Advising occurred this year – in October. Dinel has instead recommended that future Consultation Fairs be organized at the faculty level.


While the Tribune is unable to evaluate progress regarding the SSMU Building Lease Negotiations, the fact that a new contract has not yet been signed may be an indicator that Dinel has not settled for a contract that is not in the best interest of SSMU constituents. It is unfortunate, however, that this issue will be rolling into a fourth year of negotiations.


Michael Szpejda  (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
Michael Szpejda (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)

Michael Szpejda (VP Internal): C+

The Tribune has been disappointed with Michael Szpejda’s performance throughout the year. Apart from his efforts to pull off a successful reorganized and integrated Orientation Week, Szpejda has failed to realize many of his initial goals, and did not demonstrate an interest in building a strong connection with the student body or SSMU councillors.

In September, Szpejda told the Tribune that he was looking to reform the SSMU listserv and make it more “integrative.” Instead, the Tribune has found that the listserv has in fact become more lacklustre and irregular. Furthermore, advertising for important events such as SSMU General Assembles and SSMU Council meetings were extremely last-minute.

Szpejda has also done little to heighten and innovate SSMU social media activity. His use of Facebook and Twitter to relay important information was minimal. At the beginning of the year, Szpejda told the Tribune of his intention to integrate the Facebook and Twitter accounts and have “constant updates”; however, we did not see this materialize.

Furthermore, the Tribune did not witness any innovation with regards to SSMU events, as Szpejda stuck to organizing traditional events such as 4Floors and Faculty Olympics. Although Szpejda had expressed interest in planning new, community-oriented events back in September, the Tribune has been unable to follow any progress in this area, as Szpejda neglected to submit any executive reports to SSMU Council after Nov. 1, 2012.


Robin Reid-Fraser (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
Robin Reid-Fraser (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)

Robin Reid-Fraser (VP Internal): A

This year, Robin Reid-Fraser has been a strong link between McGill and the wider Montreal community. Between the cancellation of the former Liberal government’s tuition increase, the Summit on Higher Education, the subsequent indexation of tuition, and the recent budget cuts, the Tribune believes that Reid-Fraser has kept McGill students well informed and well represented throughout.

Reid-Fraser has taken steps towards getting SSMU more involved in the Table de Concertation Étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ), and both the Tribune and Reid-Fraser hope to see the new SSMU delegates to TaCEQ become an asset to future collaboration and communication between the two associations. Reid-Fraser told the Tribune that she found the entire Education Summit experience challenging and “dissatisfying.” However, we commend her for her efforts and preparation—including the McGill Education Summit she organized—despite the difficult circumstances. The Tribune was also happy to see Reid-Fraser nurture the outreach aspect of her portfolio through the Milton-Parc Community initiative. We look forward to seeing the continuation of Reid-Fraser’s Street Teams, as well as what the new Community Ambassadors will bring to the project.

Aside from her pilot and ongoing projects, the Tribune found Reid-Fraser’s work ethic impressive. She has been a reliable representative, having been one of the few SSMU executives who consistently submitted reports at SSMU Council meetings. Reid-Fraser did a great job at relaying accessible information to students. She took an active role in encouraging conversations surrounding the political and financial issues facing universities, having planned several open discussions and consultation sessions throughout the year, and was receptive of students’ questions and concerns.


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