By: Ruchika Gothoskar

To say that presidential candidate Matt Vukovic has some lofty goals might be bit of an understatement. As previously mentioned, Vukovic’s initial platform was centered on three main points: food, abolishing the Student Representative Assembly and campus washrooms. But since campaign season began on Jan. 15, Vukovic has created a ‘Suggestions’ tab on his website, allowing for students to add their own platform points, which he extrapolates upon as he deems fit. A nonchalant way to go about a potential presidency, to be sure, but it seems as though there is nothing too outrageous for Vukovic to include in his platform.

Starting with his initial three points, Vukovic suggests that food on campus should be improved through the introduction of nutrient rations and meal replacements such as Soylent. He goes on address the fact that McMaster’s current contract with Paradise Catering is the “highest barrier to overcome”, as Paradise Catering currently does not allow the sale of outside food within MUSC and various buildings on campus. Obviously, the implementation of food rations and drink based meal replacements is a little outrageous, but if it cuts that Tim Hortons line in MUSC in half – another platform point of Vukovic’s – maybe more students will be on board.

During his time in office, Vukovic aims to abolish the SRA, citing the organization’s inefficacy, rampant bureaucracy and each caucus’ lack of communication with their respective faculty society president. He has two solutions. Vukovic hopes to physically attach the presidents of the faculty societies and their respective SRA caucus leaders via a simple pair of handcuffs or a conjoining organ graft. If this plan falls flat, his second option is to give full control to the president, ultimately allowing the president to make all decisions henceforth. This proves problematic for many reasons. Firstly, if the president has absolute power, that’s called a dictatorship – a type of governance that’ll be a first for the MSU, but will also probably be something students aren’t too pleased with. Furthermore, forcing students to interact with one another seems like a trite way to get more done. The SRA is the governing body of the MSU, and its existence allows for students with varying views to represent and address the concerns of undergraduate students, and lobby the university to improve McMaster’s academic quality. Coercing caucus leaders and faculty presidents to interact does more harm than good, as it insinuates that faculty happenings are all that is important to the SRA, rather than the variety of agenda items that they tackle now. Plus – how would either party use the bathroom?

Finally, Vukovic’s last pillar is campus washrooms – ones he says are outdated, and “sketchy’. Over the past few years, the MSU has done extensive research on gender-neutral bathrooms, in hopes of creating accessible spaces for nonbinary students on our campus. Vukovic agrees with these efforts. His campaign platform reads; “I would to respect the identification of all students on campus, while simultaneously avoiding spending more money on new bathroom space or renovations to existing facilities. As such, I propose that we simply replace all gendered washroom signs on campus with signs that just say, Water Closet.” While efficient, this seems unlikely. Vukovic also hopes to replace toilet paper in washrooms with not two ply, or three ply – but with reusable towels. With no consultation done with McMaster Facility Services, or within the MSU to see what work has been done regarding gender neutral washrooms, this platform point is one that is sure to be quickly flushed down the drain.

Matt Vukovic’s ever changing platform is available on his website at matt2017.ca. With little consultation done with previous or current MSU members, faculty or staff at McMaster, Vukovic’s platform is one that falls flat. Vukovic’s platform, though a mish mash of fact and fiction, might end up being a beneficial way to start conversations surrounding the fact that student government may work well at bridging the gap of communication between student bodies and administrations, but when endowed with the powers over budget allocation, judicial and policy decisions, and chartering authority, they often become a self serving entity of inefficiency and bureaucracy.

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