McGill, News

SSMU Board of Directors approves motion to spend 17k on refurnishing the SSMU ballroom

The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Board of Directors (BoD), held their third meeting of 2022 on Feb. 10. The meeting began with a 30-minute open session and then closed for a confidential meeting amongst the directors. In the open session, the directors agreed  to create a peer support system during BoD meetings where triggering topics are discussed. SSMU vice-president (VP) Finance Éric Sader also provided an update about the status of the collective insurance plan for McGill students, and directors unanimously approved funding for refurnishing of the SSMU ballroom.

Legislative Council representative Yara Coussa presented a motion that would require SSMU establish a peer support system to provide a safe space for board members when discussing sensitive topics in board meetings.

“After conversations with different directors, we noticed that there [was a need to] support directors when discussing triggering topics,” Coussa said during the meeting. “This motion seeks to set up a process to mandate external bodies […] to come to board meetings when these topics are discussed.”

VP Internal Sarah Paulin supported the idea and proposed assigning the Anti-Violence Coordinators (AVC)—the employees responsible for coordinating SSMU’s response to sexual violence—to provide this support for directors during the meeting. Paulin did, however, express some concerns about having AVCs, who are non-board members, listen in on confidential meetings. 

“I think that’s a lovely idea, and I know for a fact that the AVCs would be willing to do it,” Paulin said. “We also have to think about confidentiality. Obviously, the [AVCs] are also bound by confidentiality, but there are some things that they just don’t need to know.”

Sader then gave an update on the dispute between the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the organization responsible for financial regulation in Quebec, and student unions across Quebec. The AMF proposed measures that would end group insurance policies for students next year; however, SSMU and other student organizations’ campaigns have temporarily prevented those measures.

“There was a mandate by the AMF, that came out yesterday, following the press blitz that we have been doing, where they have stood back, so we are still guaranteed to have insurance as of next year,” Sader said. “However, they have still not reneged on their desire to implement regulations that would end […] collective insurance programs through student associations.”

VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla also proposed that SSMU invest $17,027.30 plus tax to replace the ballroom’s aging furniture. Heisele Cubilla drew on her experience with student groups to give justification for the replacement. 

“All student groups use the ballroom for their events and all the tables that we have are really worn down because it’s been years since the last reno,” Heisele Cubilla said. “This is just to benefit student groups so that they can have better events at the SSMU building.”

The motion was unanimously passed. 

The meeting ended with a report by the nominating committee stating that they have selected three new representatives for the judicial board and one representative for the international students’ representatives position.

Moment of the Meeting:

An update by VP Finance Éric Sader revealed that the dispute between the SSMU and the AMF over the AMF’s plans to cancel group insurance for students is ongoing. He informed the board that a coalition of 57 colleges, universities, CEGEPS, and student unions, including the SSMU, have been on a press tour to fight the AMF’s decision. 

Soundbite: 

“I just wanted to thank Heisele Cubilla for the hard work she put into [the ballroom refurnishing plan]. She looked into three options and found one that is significantly cheaper than the others. So thank you for your work towards this motion. I appreciate it.” 

—Council Representative Benson Wan showing appreciation for Heisele Cubilla

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