SSMU VP External Resigns Over Mental Health Concerns

Photo courtesy of Evelyn Dom

This is a developing story and may be updated as more information becomes available.

On October 10, then-VP External of the SSMU, Marina Cupido, resigned from their position citing mental health concerns. Though they had been subject to some criticism due to a Facebook post (now removed from the page) in which they characterized the CAQ government as “racist, xenophobic, [and] far-right,” this was not the impetus for their resignation.

Some commenters on Cupido’s post requested that they step down from their position, but when asked about this, Cupido replied: “I wouldn’t describe the public backlash around my post [concerning the CAQ] as a factor in my resignation. The mental health concerns described in SSMU’s statement have been impacting my life for a long time, and ultimately I decided that I needed to take a step back from student politics for the sake of my own wellbeing.”

Cupido had earlier mentioned their experience with mental health in requesting the postponement of the Motion to Adopt a Policy Against Affiliation with Far Right Groups, claiming that mental illness had been preventing them from putting forward a motion that, “does justice to a really important, nuanced issue.”

On October 11, in a statement to the Society, the SSMU Executive Council announced Cupido’s resignation, and stated that their departure, “[was] not one that we [the Executive Council] feel will detrimentally impact the SSMU in any significant way.” The Executive Council cited a number of obstacles they had overcome as a team including the closure of the SSMU building but said that they ultimately remain devoted to, “the betterment of the SSMU and the lives of all our members.”

In an email to The Bull & Bear, VP Internal Matthew McLaughlin explained how the executive team plans to delegate the VP External’s portfolio. He explained that both he and the VP University Affairs will be taking on the  Community Affairs aspect of the portfolio, the SSMU President will be taking on the Indigenous Affairs element, Francophone Affairs will be shared by all executives, General External Affairs and Political Affairs will be “delegated on an ad hoc basis”, and observation of the AVEQ and UEQ will be taken on by the President and VP University Affairs.

“We haven’t yet decided what our next steps will be” he wrote, “this is something we’ll be discussing in depth over the course of the next week; we’ll be presenting our recommendations to Legislative Council at our meeting next Thursday, October 18.”

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