McGill’s Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) held a General Council meeting on Jan 23 to discuss upcoming elections, consider the aftermath of the recent Science Games, and propose an increase in the society’s membership fees.
Referendum to raise SUS membership
SUS president Reem Mandil introduced a notice of motion to add three referendum questions to the ballot for the upcoming SUS elections: The renewal of the Lab Improvement Fund—which has been in place since the 1980s—changes to the SUS constitution related to executive portfolios, and a hike in the SUS membership fee from $12.30 to $15.30 per semester.
This three dollar increase of the membership fee is expected to generate a profit of $27,285, most of which would be used to hire an accountant to manage the SUS budget. While it may be unwelcome news to some, Vice-President (VP) Finance Dylan Wong compared SUS’s fee to the fees of other societies’ pricier membership fees.
“The Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) […] charge[s] $28 per semester, and the Management Undergraduate Society (MUS) charges $30 [per] semester,” Wong said. “We’ve not necessarily been as financially sound as we could be.”
Several other faculties are able to raise funds through their student bars, such as Bar-des-Arts and Blues Pub, but the Faculty of Science does not. The last time SUS raised its membership fee was five years ago, however, neither McGill nor SUS put into effect adjustments to match inflation. Had this been the case, the membership fee would currently be $13.56.
SUS elections fast approaching
SUS elections will occur throughout February. The council voted 27-1 to ratify Chip Smith as the new Chief Returning Officer (CRO), who will be responsible for facilitating SUS elections. Polling will begin after Feb. 19, and results will be in by Feb 25. In the lead-up to voting, a “Meet the Candidates” event will be hosted on Feb. 15 as an opportunity for McGill students to meet the students running for positions.
There are seven SUS positions up for election, including the position of Science Representative to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). Former representative Moses Milchberg has recently resigned; given the timing, the SUS has decided not to host a by-election and substitutes will attend to his duties until a replacement is elected.
Science Games an overall success
VP Internal Zlata Plotnikova considered SUS’s recent Science Games a success.
“Science Games are over, nobody died,” Plotnikova said.
With the drinking and festivities, the safety of the participants was a serious concern for the SUS council. Plotnikova manually cross-checked that the 913 participants had completed their waivers prior to participating. She reported that measures to educate students on the risks of the event such as the waiver meant that the 2019 Science Games caused no liability for SUS.
“[SUS] should have made around two to three thousand dollars, if not more, from this year [from science games],” Plotnikova said.
While this profit is good news for SUS Council, the money will be going straight to the start-up fund for Frosh.
SUS council will reconvene on Feb. 6 at 7:00 pm in Leacock 232.
A previous version of this article stated that the Jan. 23 meeting was a General Assembly. In fact it was a General Council meeting. A previous version of this article stated that Reem Mandil introduced a motion. In fact he introduced a notice of motion.