On November 25, the SSMU Legislative Council convened for the last time of the Fall semester to discuss the absence of President Darshan Daryanani, fall budget revisions, and student groups’ access to the society’s resources.
Motion Regarding the Absence of the SSMU President
In this meeting, during the general question period, questions were posed regarding the whereabouts of the President Daryanani, the details surrounding his leave, and the allocation of his salary. Consistent inquiries have been submitted regarding this uncertain leave of absence from members of Council and student media over the past few weeks; however, the Executive teams have declined to provide any details, citing confidentiality concerns. The Executives have also failed to notify the general student body about this absence and have refused to provide any details to the student press in the past, with the Vice President of Internal Affairs urging The Daily not to investigate the absence further. Given the great uncertainty surrounding this topic, a motion may be beneficial to address some of the concerns of the council and public, as well as clarify what is going to happen to the position of President come next semester.
The final motion discussed in the November 25th council meeting was not placed on the original agenda. The motion discussing Darshan Daryanani’s absence calls on him to submit a letter of resignation within 48 hours of the motion being passed in an effort to maintain accountability and ensure the council’s necessary duties are fulfilled. President Daryanani’s responsibilities not only include regularly attending Legislative Council and Executive Committee meetings but representing the society to the public. However, he has not attended a single Legislative Council meeting since August 30, 2021. This motion calls on him to submit a letter of resignation within 48 hours of SSMU passing the motion, it does not delineate who may take his place or what the position of President will look like going forward. Notably, VP Finance Eric Sader refused to discuss the allocation of the $32,000 President’s salary, and it is left unclear whether these funds are still going to President Daryanani.
This motion was passed in a vote by roll call with 18 votes in favor and 9 votes abstained, meaning Daryanani abstained. This means Daryanani will no longer occupy the role of President if he submits a letter of resignation. However, there has been no decision made about the occupation of the position going forward. The decisions still need to be ratified by the Board of Directors on Thursday, December 2nd for the changes to come into fruition.*
Motion Regarding Interim Provisions to the Internal Regulations of Student Groups
Prior to the meeting, the agenda outlined both a notice for a motion and the motion itself, regarding the internal regulation of student groups and their lack of access to SSMU resources. This motion was moved by Arts Representative Coussa, who discussed the lack of access to room bookings and financial support for student groups, claiming that these barriers often stand in the way of efficiency and effectiveness in meetings and when organizing programs or events. Coussa stated that passing this motion would allow advocacy groups to “do what they want to do, which they are entitled to because they are literally mandated to do so.”
During the question period regarding this motion, multiple concerns were raised, to which only a few Councilor Coussa could provide a definitive answer. Both VP Finance Eric Sader and VP Student Life Karla Cubilla questioned why the proper and mandatory consultations had not been carried out prior to the raising of the motion, with Cubilla asking “Why was this motion not consulted with the VP External, myself VP Student Life, the Ancillary Services Manager, Clubs Committee, Services Committee?”
To this, Councilor Coussa stated that she was not responsible for the consultations behind the motion, and thus did not have an answer. Additionally, it was asked why there were no sustainability considerations on the motion given that it relates to and depends on council resources. No answer was provided to this question. During the voting period for the motion, it was decided that the motion be postponed until the necessary consultations and due diligence had been carried out.
Motion Regarding the Fall 2021 Budget
The agenda included a motion intended to ensure SSMU’s financial budget is continuously revised in order to verify that it remains financially sustainable and to ensure accountability. Sader gave a presentation corresponding with this motion that outlined the continual revisions necessary for the financial plan to remain accurate and beneficial to the council. During the voting period for this motion, every member of the council voted in favour, except for one member who abstained. Thus, the motion was passed.
The council will reconvene in Winter 2022.
*UPDATE 11/30/2021 9:20AM — Some details were changed for accuracy.