McGill’s Progress Towards a Sustainable Future
The Office of Sustainability presented the progress and results of the Vision 2020 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. Francois Miller, the Office’s Sustainability Director, and Toby Davine, its Communications Officer, outlined the progress made by McGill in past decades towards social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
In 2016, McGill was awarded a Gold AASGE STARS rating, which according to Miller, is a stepping stone on the way to receiving a platinum rating, the highest available. He elaborated further about the office’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, as well as receiving the platinum rating by 2030.
In regards to whether or not these standards of sustainability are mandatory to adopt, Davine remarked: “we want to keep the McGill community informed towards the progress we are making and our target, and keep the university engaged in the process towards carbon neutrality and sustainability at McGill. We are inviting units to adopt their own unit level climate and sustainability action plan in order to contribute to our long term targets.”
Faculty of Dentistry Responds to Allegations of Misconduct
Since March 2017, numerous students have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, psychological harassment, and bullying against members of the Faculty of Dentistry. McGill has been criticized by these individuals and those who support them for poorly handling the situation, victim blaming, lack of support, and even ignoring complaints.
The proxy for the Dentistry representative and President of the Dental Student’s Society (DSS) Ryan Siciliano commented on the allegations and how they were handled, stating: “we know [that] the Faculty [of Dentistry], the order of dentists, and the police were involved. Upon hearing all that, the dental society was happy with the way [the allegations were] being conducted with regards to allegations.”
Siciliano contested the possibility of an epidemic: “we as students are a very unique faculty in the sense that we spend at times 12 hours a day, 7 days a week together. We as the DSS and me as the president of the DSS aren’t worried that we have a fear of harassment or something systemic involved in the allegations made by these two individuals.”
VP Finance Presentation and End Goals for the Term
A recent SSMU by-election elected Esteban Herpin, U3 Management student, to the position of VP Finance. In a detailed presentation, he revealed his plans for this semester which included examining current investments and whether they align with the goals and values of SSMU, increasing student awareness of funding opportunities, drafting and presenting the new budget revision, and looking into restructuring bank accounts for SSMU clubs. Further, Herpin said he is open to meeting with clubs and services to discuss and troubleshoot any potential relocation costs resulting from the foreclosure of the Shatner building.
Herpin is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and so is not permitted to run for a seat on the SSMU Board of Directors. When asked by Faculty of Medicine representative André Lametti how and if this will affect his performance as VP Finance, he responded: “I do intend to be attending the Board meetings when I can to clarify any confusion there might be for financial matters for the Society, and I am willing to work with the members of the Board to clarify certain decisions that I make.”
Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy and New Hiring
The Legislative Council voted unanimously in favour of endorsing the SSMU Survivor Bill of Rights.
VP External Connor Spencer has been been working alongside McGill students drafting a policy that seeks to accommodate the diverse needs of different student groups affected by gendered and sexual violence. She introduced Caitlin Salvino, the SSMU Sexual Violence Policy Project Coordinator and Chair of Our Turn, a national student-led organization that strives to combat on-campus sexual violence. “I encourage everyone to reach out to Caitlin, especially if you have any questions about how sexual violence policies work… [I especially] encourage those who may not have worked on sexual violence [before] but are addressing [it] in their communities.”
Salvino told the council: “I’m now working at SSMU developing the gendered and sexual violence policy and we’re looking at making it as holistic as possible, so not looking into just disciplinary methods, but also prevention and support.”