Samantha Douek is the new President of the St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU), the union’s first since it underwent a “re-imagining” process after its dissolution in December 2016. The election results were released on October 17.
The voting period for students at St. Michael’s College (SMC) ran on October 11–15. The new council will consist of six members, most of whom have not been part of SMCSU before. There remain three empty spots on the council for which there were no candidates.
The Varsity has obtained only the online results of the election. According to Chief Reporting Officer Erin McTague, there were 410 online ballots and two paper ballots cast. The results of the paper ballots are excluded from The Varsity’s count.
Douek defeated Jeremy Hernandez-Lum Tong, SMCSU’s former Religious and Community Affairs Commissioner. The presidential race was the closest of the three contested positions, with Douek receiving 46 per cent of the vote and Hernandez-Lum Tong receiving 44 per cent. The two-percentage-point difference means Douek won by a margin of six votes. There were 40 spoiled ballots that accounted for 10 per cent of the presidential vote.
Kate Strazds won the election for Vice-President with 56 per cent of the vote and Peter Tao placed second with 35 per cent. The difference between the two candidates was 87 votes. Thirty-five votes, totalling nine per cent of the ballots cast, were spoiled.
Alison Feise won the election for VP Academic Affairs, securing 54 per cent of the vote. Rida Hasan placed second with 30 per cent. The difference between the two candidates was 101 votes. The vote for VP Academic Affairs had the highest amount of spoiled ballots among the contested races at 67, which accounted for 16 per cent of the vote.
Three candidates ran uncontested for their positions. Hiromitsu Higashi will serve as VP Communications, having garnered 82 per cent of the vote; John Russell will serve as VP Community Life after receiving 81 per cent of the vote; and Maher Sinno will take on the VP Arts position with 80 per cent of the vote.
The Varsity interviewed Douek on the results of the elections and plans for the future.
“I’m really thankful to everyone that supported me,” Douek said. “I really look forward to working with everyone and sharing my ideas… I just really want to make sure that everyone has a really great year.”
With regard to her marginal victory, Douek explained that, even before she began her campaign, she knew that the race against Hernandez-Lum Tong would be very close. “[Hernandez-Lum Tong] is… very involved in St. Mike’s and he’s a really great candidate,” she said. “I really respect his ideas and what he stands for, even though I hold different ideas.”
Still, Douek said that she was “able to earn the trust of the students and, even though it was a slight majority, it was a majority.”
When asked about the union’s three vacant positions, Douek stated that the elected members will “discuss which next steps to take to fill these positions.” She continued by saying, “I’m confident that between [the elected members] we can come up with a plan on how to move forward in a way that’s fair.”
Hernandez-Lum Tong said that he was “very disappointed” with the results of the election.
“It does hurt and probably will hurt for some time,” he said. “But putting my sadness aside, I do wish to extend a huge congratulations to Samantha and the rest of the students who won.”