The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) held its semesterly General Assembly (GA) on Oct. 28, with only 44 students in attendance. The GA, which failed to meet its 350 member quorum, ratified the Board of Directors and the Auditor. SSMU President Bryan Buraga joked about the pitiful attendance during his presentation.
“As you can see, we were so, so close to hitting [quorum] today,” Buraga said. “In the future, our goal is to definitely engage more students and bring forward resolutions that get many more people to attend. You can see this with the AUS GA with regards to the climate strike motion.”
Last week’s meeting marks the fourth consecutive GA that failed to meet quorum since Fall 2017. In a controversial move, the 2017/18 Board of Directors raised quorum from 100 to 350 members, which some SSMU members saw as an attempt to limit the power of GAs. Last year, Former SSMU President Tre Mansdoefer tried to lower the quorum to 150, however his motion ultimately failed at a Legislative Council meeting.
In addition to raising two motions, SSMU Executives also took questions from the attendees. Medicine Senator Andre Lametti raised a question about the governance files available on SSMU’s website.
“For several years, documents of the society have been titled ‘Jim Jones,’” Lametti said. “I’m not aware of who Jim Jones is, except for the notorious preacher involved involved in the massacre in South America. I was wondering when the SSMU executive is going to fix this issue.”
SSMU Vice-President (VP) Finance Sam Haward replied to the senator, saying that the title of the documents was not in reference to the leader of the infamous Peoples Temple cult, but instead is the name of a former SSMU employee.
“Many of the [governing] documents were created when Jim Jones was the General Manager [of SSMU], so all of the PDFs have the title ‘Jim Jones,’” Haward said. “I suppose it’ll be on the Executive to work with the President and the Governance Manager to […] remove the Jim Jones metadata.”
SSMU VP External Adam Gwiazda-Amsel asked a follow-up question to Lametti about what he thought the new name should be.
“I wonder if Andre Lametti would want to form an ad-hoc committee […] because this might be an interesting opportunity to have a commemorative name in the metadata,” Gwiazda-Amsel said.
After laughter from the crowd, Lametti refused the offer, saying it would be a bad use of SSMU resources. The next GA will be on Feb. 20, 2020.
The open letter sent to SSMU’s Executive by Indigenous student leaders last week was not mentioned during the Fall GA. However, VP Internal Sanchi Bhalla delivered an official statement at Legislative Council last week. According to Bhalla, the 12-hour delay in sending out a press release mandated by Indigenous student leaders happened because she did not have access to the SSMU MailChimp account, which contains the mailing list needed to send out mass emails.
“Initially, I found out [about the letter] because Bryan posted on one of our groups [on Slack] asking “Hey, can we talk about the letter we received.” I [said] “What letter?” and then I checked my email [….] I had to leave the training [then] because I wasn’t in the state to handle it,” VP Bhalla said, on her reaction to receiving the letter asking for her resignation.