News, SSMU

SSMU Council votes to remain an observer at AVEQ

“Order an Angelot” Campaign

At the March 24 Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council meeting, Lev Bukhman and Marie Gauthier, national coordinators of “Sans Oui C’est Non” (Without Yes, It’s No), and Alliance pour la Santé Étudiante au Québec (ASÉQ) presented on the “Order an Angelot” campaign. The initiative helps bar patrons feel safe by giving them the option to pretend to order a fake drink known as the “Angelot.” This code word will alert bar staff to a situation in which a patron may be in danger, so that they can react accordingly.

“The campaign aims to create a very simple and clear and certain way for people to get help if they do not feel safe, are in danger, or are victims of sexual assault,” Bukhman said. “The idea is to create a very simple code word that is widely known [and] widely understood.”

Councillors raised concerns over who the program would target. Specifically, it was criticized for not consulting sexual violence survivors and relying on bartenders, who may be poorly trained in handling such incidents.

“I am concerned about this campaign,” Nursing Representative Mckenzie Gingrich-Hadley said. “Mostly because it seems like they have not done any consultation with survivors of sexual violence at all at how this can be helpful. It has also been painfully obvious, recently, that consent education is not necessarily an effective way to stop sexual violence from happening.”


Motion on Participation in AVEQ

SSMU passed a motion to continue observer status on the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec (AVEQ) and consider joining it as a full member in the Fall 2017 referendum. AVEQ is a provincial-level student association that was designed to increase the bargaining powers of Quebec university students. Following students’ vote against SSMU affiliating with AVEQ in the Winter 2016 referendum, SSMU has had observer status on AVEQ. 

While this guarantees SSMU no more than the ability to observe AVEQ sessions, AVEQ encourages its observers to participate in the decision-making processes. At Council, questions were raised about the organization’s budget, which Vice-President (VP) University Affairs Sobat claimed may have been overestimated.

“I recognize that maybe some of the updates and information on what was happening with AVEQ and the deficit could have been more actively reported,” Sobat said. “This motion is to ensure we are continuing to be at that table and are able to voice the concerns of SSMU members to this federation.”

After further deliberation, the motion was passed with 14 in favour, six against, and three abstaining.


Motion Regarding Endorsement of “No” Vote for Athletics & Recreation Fee Increase

Finally, the Legislative Council passed the motion to endorse “No” for the Athletics & Recreation Fee Increase. Sobat cited the same concerns that led to the recent motion against ancillary fee increases, which was invalidated due to an existing contract between SSMU and the McGill administration. The previous motion, which passed at the Winter 2017 General Assembly, would have had SSMU not approving ancillary fee increases until McGill met certain obligations.

Sobat critiqued McGill for its lack of transparency when increasing funds, raising his concern with the fact that Athletics & Recreation overhead charges have increased by 40 per cent since 2014. With reference to McGill Athletics specifically, Sobat highlighted the lack of investigation into sexual violence by McGill athletes.

“I’ve had many conversations with the deputy provost about this where I most recently asked on the February Student Services meeting,” Sobat said. “I asked him where these overhead charges were going and how they justified the deductions. They have no formula for actually determining them.”

The motion passed with 13 in favour, four against, and five abstaining.

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