The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council convened on Nov. 25 for their last meeting of Fall 2021. During the meeting, councillors approved a motion to urge SSMU President Darshan Daryanani to submit a letter of resignation within 48 hours of the motion being ratified by the Board of Directors (BoD).
The motion, brought forth by management representative Nathaniel Saad, pushed for Daryanani to be held accountable for failing to fulfill his presidential responsibilities as chief officer and spokesperson of the Society. While presenting the motion, Saad cited the president’s absence from Legislative Council sessions and Executive Committee meetings—which Daryanani is required to attend as president—since the start of the term.
“I feel that the Legislative Council has been left in the dark,” Saad said. “The president needs to represent members of the student body which he is not doing, [and] we are currently unaware of whether he is being paid [….] This is an unsustainable situation and allows the situation to potentially replicate in the future. It is a dangerous precedent to set.”
Should the president fail to issue a letter of resignation, the motion dictates that the Legislative Council, pursuant to consultations from students and faculties, will call for a special SSMU General Assembly within the first week of the winter semester to vote on whether the president should be impeached.
The session’s question period revolved around the president’s absence. SSMU executives reaffirmed that the matter is confidential.
“When individuals go on leave it is an HR matter,” vice-president (VP) Finance Éric Sader said. “As such it is not relevant to the Legislative Council or the student body to know the precise details. All that is important is that the president is on leave and the Society is functioning quite well.”
When asked why the absence of the president and the general manager has not been communicated to the student body, specifically through SSMU’s most-used student communication channel—the SSMU listserv—vice-president (VP) Internal Sarah Paulin replied “no comment.”
The motion passed with 19 council representatives in favour and nine abstaining. During the roll-call vote, all five executive members present abstained.
In other matters, arts representative Yara Coussa brought forth a motion, seconded by arts representative Ghania Javed, concerning amendments to the internal regulation of student groups. After a debate period, during which SSMU executives disclosed concern about a lack of consultation, the motion was postponed.
Executives argued that approval of the motion contradicts the duties of the executives. For example, the motion proposes to limit the VP External’s discretionary ability to provide funding, which is granted by the Society’s constitution.
Coussa apologized to the executives for the lack of consultation, and stated that the personal refutes were unnecessary.
“I understand that we have not completed the necessary consultations for this motion and for that I apologize,” said Coussa. “However, there is no need to be rude and impolite to the mover and seconder who wanted to emphasize the voices of advocacy groups on campus [….] Being a councillor is a learning curve, and we are not perfect here.”
Moment of the Meeting:
Councillor Saad called for the vote on the “motion regarding the absence of the SSMU president” to be conducted through a roll-call rather than through normal procedure.
“You have all been councillors for a semester. You have all had a chance to speak to each other and debate on contentious topics. I ask that you have compassion for your fellow councillors and some amount of respect for the members of the gallery [….] I require that you please respect these people [….] It is not okay to use the type of personal and direct attacks that we have seen.”
—Speaker of Council Alexandre Ashkir responding to comments that were made concerning the motion on amending the internal regulations of student groups.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the normal SSMU voting procedure keeps the voters anonymous. In fact, a voting record is posted on the SSMU website after every meeting. The Tribune regrets this error.