The SSMU Legislative Council gathered over Zoom on Thursday, September 23 for their first meeting of the 2021-2022 school year.
They began by unanimously approving the Motion Regarding the Adoption of the Standing Rules 2021-2022 for Legislative Council, which established regulations by which the Legislative Council operates. The councillor who moved the motion — Arts and Science representative Leo Holton — stated that the motion has the goal “of efficiency and respectability to all those involved in meetings.”
The councillors then assigned themselves to the Legislative Council committees they were interested in, which included committees like the Environment Committee, the Mental Health Committee, among others. Each councillor is required to sit on at least one committee, and if there were more councillors who wanted to be on a committee than there were seats, the Legislative Council voted on which councillors would serve on the committee in question. After councillors were assigned, the Motion Regarding Legislative Council Committee Allocations was approved unanimously.
In the Motion Regarding Nominations to the Society’s Board of Directors, VP External Sacha Delouvrier nominated VP Internal Sarah Paulin to be the Executive member on the SSMU Board of Directors. As part of the motion, the Council also needed to choose one councillor to represent them. Two Arts Councillors, Ghania Javed and Yara Coussa, were nominated and put to a vote; Javed, in her statement to the council, said she has “a lot of experience with different student groups on campus” that she could bring to the BoD, and was subsequently voted to be the representative. After Javed was chosen, the Council approved the Motion Regarding Nominations to the Society’s Board of Directors unanimously.
The council then entered debate about the Motion Regarding Adoption of an Open Letter in Support of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which Councillor Javed stated aimed to “send support to Indigenous communities” on Thursday, September 30. Calls to action in the open letter included cancelling all classes after 12 P.M. and creating specific safe spaces on campus for McGill’s indigenous community.
In debate, VP University Affairs Claire Downie reminded councillors that the Indigenous affairs commissioner was not consulted in writing of the open letter.
“I don’t think this is a bad idea,” Downie said. “I want to make sure that non-Indigenous voices are not speaking over Indigenous voices on a day like this or any day.”
The councillors then discussed cancelling next week’s Legislative Council meeting in accordance with the motion or changing the regular agenda of the meeting to discuss and pay respect to Indigenous issues.
After two debate periods, the motion narrowly passed with 11 in favour, seven abstentions, and three opposed.
At the end of the meeting, the SSMU Executives gave their reports. Since President Darshan Darayani was not in attendance, VP Finance Eric Sader presented his Executive report to the council. Highlights from this section include VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla reporting that SSMU got a full refund for Activities Night and is planning Activities Night 2.0, and VP Sader reporting how the Finance team is deciding how to allocate the large budget surplus due to COVID-19 back to student groups while maintaining the financial stability of SSMU.
The Legislative Council will meet again this Thursday, September 30, over Zoom.