On September 10, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council held their first assembly of the year to discuss internal regulations, nominate the Board of Directors, allocate members to committee positions, and hear various reports from the Executive Committee.
The council debated a previously postponed motion concerning the adoption of a Conflict of Interest Policy, a series of provisions intended to promote transparency and objectivity in decision-making within the SSMU.
Medicine Senator André Lametti spoke against an amendment proposing that the Mover and Seconder of a motion may not both be from the same Faculty Association or non-faculty constituency. “The rules about moving and seconding are designed to prevent an imbalance of power between the executives and the other members of council, and I don’t think that such an imbalance exists between [faculty] representatives,” Lametti said.
Other council members had similar concerns that the amendment might restrict the democratic rights of council members. After the council voted to strike this amendment, the Conflict of Interest Policy was adopted and will be in place until 2024.
The council also voted to reinstate a motion declaring clubs and services as SSMU’s highest priority. This motion, an improved version of a previous policy set to expire in May 2019, will now be in place until 2024.
Additionally, the council discussed the Motion Regarding Adequate Notice on Mandatory Clubs Workshops, which advocates changing SSMU’s policy for executive club members on the grounds that it is “extremely unreasonable to expect executive members of student clubs to be available at specific times on… short notice.” After a brief question-and-debate period, the council voted to commit the motion to SSMU’s Clubs Committee for later consultation.
In addition, VP Finance Sam Haward introduced a motion to remove Cycling McGill’s status as a SSMU club, which would allow it to become a recognized McGill sport. Under this motion, which will enter question-and-debate at the next meeting, SSMU would redirect funding for Cycling McGill to McGill Athletics.
Board of Director and Committee Nominations
Next, the legislative council elected members to the Board of Directors, a branch of SSMU that manages the affairs within the society. Science representatives Rohan Bhuktar and Jordyn Wright were the only nominated candidates for the Board who agreed to fill two available vacant spots. Bhuktar and Wright will serve in interim capacity effective immediately until November 14.
Councilors were required to fill vacancies on various committees, including the Club Committee, the Environment Committee, the Financial Ethics Committee, and the Health and Dental Review Committee, among others. While seats on most committees quickly filled up, other committees were left vacant, such as the Equity Committee. While the Motion Regarding Committee Allocations passed, nominations for seats on the remaining committees have been postponed.
Executive Report Highlights
Finally, the council listened to reports detailing the work completed over the summer by each member of the Executive Committee with the exception of President Bryan Buraga, who opted to postpone his report to the next meeting.
Beginning the reports was VP External Adam Gwiazda-Amsel, who detailed various political campaigns he is involved with, including UNICODE, LPSU, Divest McGill, and Peace Club. Gwiazda-Amsel also worked on projects in the greater Montreal area, including the Milton Parc Citizens’ committee, Community Narratives Project, and Community Engagement Day.
VP University Affairs Madeline Wilson presented her extensive work so far, some of which included making gender-inclusive additions to library washrooms, such as installation of menstrual hygiene products. She also worked on projects such as the SSMU Know Your Rights Campaign and met with the Dean of Students, the leadership of the Wellness Hub and the Special Investigator on Sexual Violence this summer, among other projects.
Haward worked with StudentCare on international student health and dental budgets. He also worked on initiatives to grant credit cards to various McGill services, as well as writing updated budgets and audit reports.
VP Student Life Billy Kawasaki worked on various mental illness awareness campaigns, creating a department for Eating Disorder Resources and Support Centre and created more resources for Club Executives, including a Club handbook, webpages, and workshops.
VP Internal Sanchi Bhalla created several additions to the listserv and organized Frosh, including several dry events and Crashpad.