SSMU Legislative Council Discusses Policy on Harmful Military Technology and Harm Reduction Policy

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On March 11 2021, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council met to vote on the following motions:

Motion Regarding a Policy on Harmful Military Technology

Legislative Council resumed debate over the Motion Regarding a Policy on Harmful Military Technology. Originally introduced and approved at the January 28 Council session, the motion had since been updated in light of its failure to receive the SSMU Board of Directors’ final approval. While the motion had since been subject to further source review and fact checking, Speaker Lauren Hill stressed that the bill’s scope and subject matter remained unchanged. 

Moved by VP External Affairs Ayo Ogunremi and seconded by Senate Caucus Representative and SSMU President-elect Darshan Daryanani, this motion will replace the now-defunct SSMU Policy on a Campus Free from Harmful Military Technology. The policy’s appendix defined terms such as “harmful military technology” for increased clarity in light of its previous rejection. The present motion reasserts SSMU’s negative stance on “immoral” research at McGill to develop harmful military technology and renews calls for the university administration to transparently disclose related research initiatives. The motion was approved with a vote of 15-7, with 5 abstaining.

Motion Regarding the Adoption of the Harm Reduction Policy

Moved by VP University Affairs Brooklyn Frizzle and seconded by Services Representative Noah Merali, the Motion Regarding the Adoption of the Harm Reduction Policy reaffirms SSMU’s endorsement of former McGill-related harm reduction information resources that have fostered a relatively safe approach to addressing substance use in student residences. 

Contrary to the latter approach widely seen as beneficial, Leg. Council will vote against what they see as an “abstinence-only approach” on behalf of the administration: based on recent removals of harm reduction resources such as university-run webpages on harm reduction and some students’ difficulties at accessing university-provided fentanyl test strips (designed to detect quantities in unmonitored drugs). Furthermore, some residence floor fellows have reported far less annual training on harm reduction and handling substance use in residences. Should the motion pass, SSMU-led advocacy and training/education on harm reduction will follow.

Non-member students may register to view SSMU Legislative Council sessions from the gallery. 

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