The Student’s Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) General Assembly (GA) took place on Feb. 24 and failed to reach quorum. The assembly missed its 350 member quorum by a margin of roughly 300, though the assembly room began to fill as the meeting neared its end in anticipation of the SSMU executive candidates debate which followed. All SSMU executives were in attendance, except notably Vice-President (VP) External Adam Gwiazda-Amsel who was attending a community caucus in the Milton Parc community. During the initial question-and-answer period, audience members probed the lack of individuals in attendance, the use and misuse of SSMU executive social media accounts, and the reopening status of the University Centre building.
Following the Q&A, the executives took turns presenting a summary of their activities during the past semester as well as their successes and failures in meeting their campaign objectives. SSMU President Bryan Buraga emphasized new renovations which are being carried out on newly acquired commercial buildings on Peel street. SSMU plans to convert these buildings into an “all-in-one wellness center for students” in order to ameliorate many of the Wellness Hub’s shortcomings that students have noted.
Buraga also reported that he had no new information to provide about the reopening of the University Centre.
In Gwiazda-Amsel’s absence, Buraga also delivered the VP External’s presentation.
During VP Sanchi Bhalla’s report, past candidate for SSMU VP External Noah Merali asked the VP Internal whether she had followed up on a promise made on Dec. 16th to seek out intensive allyship training following last semester’s controversy between her and the SSMU Indigenous Affairs Commissioner Tomas Jirousek. Bhalla clarified her actions following the promise.
“There is a volunteering opportunity in a week and a half, and I plan to be there, the last [volunteering opportunity] happened while I was away, so I wasn’t able to follow up until now,” Bhalla said.
Finally, during his report, VP Finance Samuel Haward stressed his recent success in shifting the entirety of SSMU’s financial structure from ScotiaBank to Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Haward felt that the change will simplify a significant amount of future financial logistics for SSMU clubs, and that the transition was seamless.
“We did a bank transition last week and nobody noticed, which is the best thing ever. You may have noticed if you got a cheque from SSMU recently that it is an RBC cheque [and] not a [Scotiabank] cheque. That should be the only thing you noticed,” Haward said.
Moment of the meeting:
After concerns were raised about Gwiazda-Amsel’s use of his official Twitter account as a platform to express his political opinions, President Bryan Buraga, wielding a large piece of pepperoni pizza in one hand and a microphone in the other, came to the VP External’s defense, saying that tweets of this nature fit within the scope of official SSMU social media accounts.
“I can’t comment specifically on what the VP External said […] but what I will say is that, as a political body, [SSMU work’s] with a variety of different political organizations from different political perspectives in order to get what we believe is the best result for our students. This may or may not include anarchist groups.” —SSMU President Bryan Buraga, about a statement from VP External Adam Gwiazda-Amsel in which he stated he worked with ‘anarchist groups.’