Legislative council discusses Hong Kong solidarity statement and fall reading week

Courtesy of Evelyn Dom

On November 19, 2020, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council gathered via Zoom to discuss several topics, including SSMU’s #SAVE12HKYOUTHS solidarity statement, the SSMU 5 Year Plan, and the approval of a fall semester reading week.

SSMU Solidarity Statement for Hong Kong

Council and gallery members discussed a SSMU statement regarding #SAVE12HKYOUTHS. Several gallery members brought forward concerns about racist comments made in response. VP University Affairs Brooklyn Frizzle said that SSMU posted the statement in solidarity and that the racist comments which followed were regrettable.

VP Frizzle was asked “how is SSMU ensuring representation for the entire student body,” since members did not feel adequately represented. Frizzle said that SSMU is making their “best effort to represent [all students], without conceding the beliefs of the society or commitments to leadership.” Frizzle also said that “the importance of participation in democracy cannot be understated.” They strongly encouraged students to engage, voice their concerns, and share their ideas by showing up to council meetings, voting, and running for office.

As a proposed solution to the concerns of representation following SSMU’s statement, student Senator Darshan Daryanani said that there would be a motion about reviewing social media posts before they are released at the next meeting. Daryanani said that SSMU is willing to be held accountable for its actions and encouraged gallery members to continue asking questions.  

Motion Regarding Amendments to the Committee Terms of Reference 

VP Finance Gifford Marpole, presented a motion to amend the Funding Committee Terms of Reference to shorten the timeline of funding applications, which has received heavy criticism from student groups. If the motion is passed, the current timeline of 3–5 weeks would be reduced to 1–2 weeks from the time the funding application is received to the distribution of the approved funds. 

Motion to Adopt SSMU 5 year plan 

SSMU President Jemark Earle presented the SSMU 5 Year Plan, designed to improve the overall quality of the Society’s staff, operations, clubs, services, finance, and advocacy. The purpose of the plan is to expand its operations, since SSMU Executives typically work 60 to 80 hours a week. The motion will be brought forward for further discussion and voting at the next meeting, on December 3.

Updates from Vice-President Frizzle

Frizzle announced that the McGill Senate approved the academic calendar for 2021 to 2024, with fall semester reading weeks each year, and that the motion to extend the 2020–2021 winter break was deferred to the December 2 Senate meeting.

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