The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Board of Directors (BoD) convened on Dec. 2 for their penultimate meeting of the semester to address several motions. One included the re-introduction of the motion to ratify the SSMU Judicial Board’s (J-Board) final judgment on Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill (SPHR) v. SSMU. The other up for ratification was the motion calling for the resignation of the SSMU president.
SPHR initially requested that the SSMU Legislative Council issue a joint statement acknowledging Nakba Day on May 15, 2021. The request, approved in a confidential session at the Legislative Council on May 13, was ultimately denied by the BoD in a confidential discussion on May 27. SPHR submitted a petition to the J-Board to challenge the validity of this vote. The J-Board ruling called on the BoD to provide a written summary of the discussion that led them to deny SPHR’s request.
In an updated ruling by the J-Board, it was declared that the BoD adhered to the SSMU constitution in voting against the Nakba Day motion during a confidential session. The ratification of J-Board’s final judgment between the two organizations passed with unanimous approval from the Board. “It seems, as a final judgement […] that our position was correct,” Éric Sader, SSMU vice-president (VP) Finance said. “Not passing the previous motion in the way that it was done was completely constitutional, and as such [it] stands that there was no mistake on behalf of the Board of Directors.”
Discussions then shifted to the motion approved by the SSMU Legislative council on Nov. 25 that called for the resignation of SSMU president Darshan Daryanani amid his continued absence from Legislative Council sessions and Executive Committee meetings. The BoD unanimously rejected the motion. Had it been approved, the motion would have required Daryanani to submit a letter of resignation within 48 hours of the motion’s ratification, with a failure to do so resulting in the Council calling on the BoD to initiate a special General Assembly at the outset of the Winter 2022 semester.
During the debate session that followed, VP External Sacha Delouvrier urged the BoD not to ratify the resignation motion, arguing that it makes assumptions about the reasons for the president’s absence, which remain confidential. Delouvrier suggested that Daryanani’s case constitutes an HR issue, which should not be discussed in a public forum.
“If the board wishes to, at a separate time, move a motion to present to a special general assembly member of the executive, that’s a different story,” Delouvrier said. “I sincerely don’t believe we should go around HR matters in such a way which is why I would urge every voting director present to take a stand opposing [the motion].”
Legislative Council representative Nathaniel Saad argued Sader and Delouvrier could have raised their concerns regarding the motion at the Nov. 25 Legislative Council meeting, a meeting that they both attended.
“As I remember, clearly they did abstain instead of bringing forward […] potential amendments or a discussion that could have been had then, so I’m […] a little confused as to why they would rather just shoot it down here.”
Sader stated he did not participate in the discussion as his responsibility as an executive on Legislative Council differs from his role as a director on the BoD.
Following a confidential discussion period, the BoD unanimously voted to postpone the motion indefinitely.
Moment of the Meeting:
VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla argued there is no need for SSMU to hire a VP Operations at this time, despite the position being vacant since 2017.
“Ratifying this motion wouldn’t necessarily say that the board thinks the president has been delinquent in his duties, but rather that the Legislative Council does. [It would acknowledge] the actions that they have done in passing this motion, and by extension the will of the student body.”
—Council representative Nathaniel Saad on why he believes the BoD should ratify the motion regarding the absence of the SSMU president.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Legislative Council representative Yara Coussa argued there is no need for SSMU to hire a VP operations at this time. In fact, Yara Coussa is a Director on the BoD, and it was VP Student Life Karla Heisele Cubilla who argued there is no need for SSMU to hire a VP operations at this time. The Tribune regrets this error.