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J-Board petition filed against SSMU Council and Speaker of Council over GA motion

This is a developing story. Please check back for details, as more information becomes available.

A petition against the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Council and the Speaker of the Council, who also presided over the Fall General Assembly, was submitted to the Judicial Board (J-Board), alleging that several bylaws were breached at the society’s Fall GA on Oct. 22. The two petitioners, who requested to remain anonymous, claimed that SSMU Council failed to adopt simplified Rules of Procedure for the GA.

“It strikes at the heart of the legitimacy of a General Assembly and impedes students from engaging in the General Assembly in an accessible and informed way with prior knowledge of the rules of the debate,” the petition reads. “Furthermore, these breaches trigger the breach of By-Law I-2, article 2.2 [….] This bears important implications for governance on campus.”

The petitioners also pointed to the indefinite postponement of the Motion Calling on SSMU to Stand in Solidarity with the People of the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the Fall GA, as a breach of by-law I-5, article 5.4, as well as the SSMU Constitution, by Speaker of Council Rachel Simmons.

“This article provides every student with a right to debate and amend resolutions before the General Assembly,” the petition reads. “It is particularly relevant that this article represents the very essence of a General Assembly. It encompasses all important values of freedom and speech, freedom of expression and equality. By allowing delegates at the General Assembly to take this action, fundamental By-Laws and fundamental principles were violated [….] The violations represent an attack on democracy on campus and this is certainly a weighty issue that must be dealt with by the Judicial Board.”

The petitioners are asking the J-Board to compel SSMU to annul the decision taken at the GA to indefinitely postpone the Motion Calling on SSMU to Stand in Solidarity with the People of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to hold a Special General Assembly to revisit the question. They also seek to prohibit the future use of “indefinite postponement” in any GAs or Legislative Council meetings.

SSMU President Courtney Ayukawa declined to comment on the issue.

Simmons could not be reached for comment.

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