Following a year of reformation, September 25 marks a new beginning for student government at St. Michael’s College (SMC). Nominations are open for nine positions on the council as the college aims to implement the re-imagined student union’s new structure and apply its new leadership policy to candidates.
Following a confirmation of the eligibility of nominees on October 4 and an all-candidates forum on October 10, official voting will begin on October 11.
A group of students selected by SMC’s administration formed a ‘re-imagining committee’ in April to lay the framework for a new council; those who sat on the committee are barred from running in this election. SMC President David Mulroney had requested to delay elections until the fall to have time to draft a leadership policy to ensure that behaviour exhibited in the past by student officials would no longer arise.
The union was the subject of controversy last year: a video implicating then-current and former members of the union was criticized as Islamophobic, and there were allegations of financial misconduct on behalf of union members.
The Student Society Leadership Policy, which circulated alongside an email announcing the call for nominations, defines rules and expectations for student leaders at the college. It applies not just to the student union but to any student society or student group at St Michael’s, including the St. Michael’s Residence Council and The Mike newspaper.
Notably, the policy says that leaders’ eligibility will be decided by academic standing and the ability to “engage in responsible and respectful conduct that reflects positively on USMC students, USMC, and the broader University of Toronto community.” The policy stresses the importance of financial responsibility as well as the strict prohibition of hazing as any form of initiation, a part of the controversy of last year.
The policy also stipulates that “leaders accept their ethical obligation to act in accordance to USMC’s mission as a Catholic university that is dedicated to the academic and spiritual life of its students.”
Erin McTague, former President of the St. Mikes Residence Council and member of the committee that re-structured the union, will take on the role of Chief Returning Officer.
Election results will be posted on October 17.