At the February 17 session of SSMU Legislative Council, most of the assigned agenda was pushed to the following meeting on March 24, due to a four hour question period following President Darshan Daryanani’s announcement of his suspension from SSMU.
Prior to the question period presentations were made on behalf of Student Athletics, Divest McGill, and Student Support.
Moratorium on Athletics Fees
2019-2020 SSMU president Bryan Buraga gave a presentation on behalf of Divest McGill, stating that the moratorium on ancillary fees is an effective way to encourage the McGill administration to divest. The presentation stated that the moratorium has, to date, withheld over four million dollars from McGill, and that “over time, the amount lost by the university as a result of this moratorium will exceed the amount gained by continued investment in the fossil fuel industry.”
It also stated that “prospective donors to athletics and recreation have stated that they are hesitant to donate money to the university as a result of the moratorium, further increasing financial pressure on McGill.”
The VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla and Councillor Djossou later provided a counter presentation, highlighting the damaging effects of the moratorium on students. It was stated in the motion they put forth regarding reintroducing the athletics facility improvement fee that the moratorium has made student athletics unable to complete necessary renovations and maintenance of athletics facilities, including a re-tiling of the pool at Curry Gymnasium, a renewal of the ventilation system in McConnell Arena, and updated AC systems in the fieldhouse and gymnasium. The motion is currently up for approval, and if approved, it will be subjected to another referendum this term.
A presentation was made on behalf of Student Support, a for-profit organization that provides service bundles to post-secondary students. They offered a discounted bundle of Udemy, Grammarly, and Calm to McGill students at the rate of a $9.99 opt-outable fee, if it were to be granted by SSMU Student Services. They asked the Legislative Council to put forth a referendum for the student body to vote on whether or not they want to include this fee in future for student services. No decision was made on this matter.
In his announcement, Daryanani stated that he was not on a leave of absence, but he was suspended earlier this year for reasons unbeknownst to him at the time.
Announcement about Darshan Daryanani’s return
President Daryanani made an appearance at the Legislative Council for the first time since September. The student body had been informed at previous meetings that Daryanani was on a leave of absence, but he would not answer questions as to why or when he would return. In his announcement, Daryanani stated that he was not on a leave of absence, but he was suspended earlier this year for reasons unbeknownst to him at the time. This announcement was interrupted by VP Internal Sarah Paulin, who stated that the information about his suspension had been confidential and should not have been announced to the public.
The majority of the question period concerned/centred around the announcement of Daryanani’s return. Members of the gallery and councillors asked questions pertaining to the confidentiality of this suspension, as well as the reasons why he was suspended. Several motions are being pushed forth to resolve this issue and reveal more information about what happened, and this absence has also inspired petitions to circulate in the McGill community. The Bull and Bear will continue to monitor this situation as it develops.