At its March 31 meeting, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council passed a comprehensive Policy on Indigenous Solidarity that lays out ways in which SSMU can pursue its social justice goals for indigenous students. In total, Council passed five motions updating executive job descriptions, amending SSMU’s child-care policy, updating procedures for electing CKUT representatives, changing the status of First Year Council (FYC) and adopting the new Policy on Indigenous Solidarity.
Motion regarding the Policy on Indigenous Solidarity
This policy aims to start to addressing issues of underrepresentation and misrepresentation that indigenous students at McGill face. SSMU Indigenous Affairs Coordinator Leslie Anne St. Amour was involved in writing the policy and was present at the meeting to outline the document and answer representatives’ questions.
“The policy includes consultation protocols for matters that have a direct impact on indigenous students at McGill, which is really important considering some of the struggles indigenous students have been having […] in the past few years,” St. Amour said, “[The policy includes] ways in which SSMU can support indigenous students, including access to status as a SSMU club, different ways to access the SSMU Building, [and] ways that SSMU can support indigenous communities to have input on SSMU events.”
Clubs and Services Councillor François-Paul Truc expressed his concern with the policy requirement that a Traditional Territory Acknowledgement be made before all SSMU-run events in addition to events hosted by SSMU clubs and services.
“We have clubs at McGill that are incredibly political—like Conservative-McGill political,” Truc said. “Are we really going to tell a political organization that has formed a club under SSMU […] that they now have to make a land acknowledgement that they do not agree with?”
St. Amour responded that she held public open consultation sessions both before and after the policy was drafted and had not received any such complaints.
“I had no feedback against this policy but I had a lot of feedback that was very pro this aspect of the policy, emphasizing the importance of this for indigenous students and indigenous student groups,” she said.
Motion regarding First Year Council restructuring
Council also passed a motion restructuring FYC that would move it from a SSMU service to the vice-president (VP) Internal Affairs portfolio and amending the SSMU internal regulations to reflect that fact.
“SSMU service status […] isn’t the most appropriate for a student group that’s run by first years, which generally requires more support than a lot of our really autonomously run services,” VP Clubs and Services Kimber Bialik said. “The Internal Affairs portfolio […] has more space to take on additional projects and would also benefit from more representation from first-years.”