Bite the Ballot: Vice-President (Operations & Finance)

The Students’ Union has an $11 million budget, and it’s the vice-president (operations & finance)’s job to manage it. This involves deciding how Students’ Union fees are spent and working on committees and boards for dedicated fee units (campus groups that are funded by the Students’ Union). They are also in charge of managing and making changes to the Students’ Union’s Building and businesses, including RATT, Dewey’s, L’Express, and the Myer Horowitz Theatre.

TL;DR: Emma Ripka is a strong vice-president (operations & finance) candidate, and has already won the position because the other candidate, Donald Stroump, is a joke candidate. Who you vote for does not matter.

So while the outcome of this election is already decided, the campaigning and forums were very interesting nonetheless. Let’s start with Ripka.

Emma Ripka

I’ve scrutinized Ripka as much as I can throughout this election but have come up largely empty-handed. Sure — her platform is generic, her answers to questions are solid but not exceptional, and she’s appropriately qualified but not exceedingly so. But that does not necessarily disqualify her from being a strong candidate, and it hasn’t.

Running a safe campaign when you’re unopposed is a smart move. I know I’ve said this before, but this is all there is to know about Emma Ripka as a candidate. Our election dissection gave her a glowing assessment, and I am inclined to agree that she is indeed going to make a good VPOF. My concern is that being a good candidate does not automatically translate into being a good executive (see Mike Sandare).

My only real concern about her platform is her proposed construction of a skill-sharing network. This platform does not strike me as a part of the VPOF portfolio, and it has the makings of an underdeveloped, poorly executed app/website that will waste some SU money before being abandoned in a few years. I hope to be proven wrong, but I doubt it will gain the required initial population in order for it to flourish naturally.

A vote for Emma Ripka can be interpreted in two ways: either as a sign of support for Ripka or as a sign of opposition of Donald Stroump. Regardless, Ripka will win the position, and I think she deserves our support regardless.

Which brings us to Stroump.

Donald Stroump

The biggest controversy about Stroump is his status as a joke candidate. On the one hand, running as a joke candidate parodying Donald Trump is certainly a way to draw attention to yourself. On the other hand, if he was genuinely concerned about the treatment of Campus Saint-Jean, he should have run as a legitimate candidate.

I’m inclined to believe that the former was the correct move. I think a dramatic example was required to get the attention of North Campus students, and Stroump succeeded. For what has been an otherwise uninteresting election cycle, the infamous “How does it feel to be excluded?” moment from the Myer Horowitz forum certainly stands out.

Despite the waves Stroump has made, he is still ineligible to win the race as he is a joke candidate, so the most we can hope for is that this has brought enough attention to the exclusion of Campus Saint-Jean that some meaningfully action is catalyzed — be that in the form of policy from this year’s SU executives, or as a Campus Saint-Jean advocate legitimately running for SU office next year.

A vote for Donald Stroump is not necessarily a vote against Emma Ripka. To me, a vote for Stroump means that you agree with his message about the worrying separation between North Campus and Campus Saint-Jean. So there – your vote is not entirely meaningless in this race by that metric.

But it is pretty meaningless.

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