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Three Councillors appointed to SSMU BoD during Legislative Council to fulfill constitutional requirement

On Nov. 3, the fourth Students’ Society of McGill (SSMU) Legislative Council meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year was called to order. The meeting featured the nomination of three Councillors to the SSMU Board of Directors (BoD), debate about a motion regarding the ability of campus media to report on referendum questions that concern them, and presentations about several SSMU executive-led projects. 

The first order of business was the Motion Regarding the Nomination of Council Members to the BoD. SSMU President Risann Wright insisted that three seats on the BoD, which are reserved for Legislative Councillors, needed to be filled immediately. Wright explained that if the seats were left unfilled, SSMU would be in violation of its constitution and unable to function as an organization. 

After roughly 40 minutes of deliberation and encouragement from the President and Speaker of the Council Alexandre Ashkir, Councillor Julia Nam, Councillor Coco Jie Wang, and Councillor Peter Tai put their names forward for nomination to the BoD. Their selection passed unanimously and their appointment will be submitted for ratification by students during the upcoming SSMU Fall Referendum polling period, which will take place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.

Councillor Matthew O’Boyle presented the Motion Regarding an Interim Provision to the Internal Regulations of Elections and Referenda, which aims to allow campus media organizations to be able to spread awareness and information about any referendum question pertaining to them. Currently, per sec. 5 article 2.3 and 2.4 of the Internal Regulations, media groups cannot report in any way about referendums that involve them during the campaigning period. The motion was brought up because the Daily Publications Society (DPS), the governing body of The McGill Daily and Le Délit, is running an existence referendum this semester. 

The motion was assigned to a committee composed of a representative from DPS, Councillor O’Boyle, and The McGill Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief for further revision as several Councillors felt its wording needed to be more specific. Councillor Charlotte Gurung pointed out that the motion could be problematic as student media could opine in favour of their own referendum questions. 

“It seems like a policy like this that would allow campus media to not just report on the referendum questions but report in favour of their own referendum questions would be a conflict of interest,” Gurung said. 

Wright followed with an update on the pilot Grocery Program, which aims to provide groceries to students facing food insecurity—the program will be financed by a new  student fee. She noted that once launched, the program will help 200 students in the short term, with the goal of creating a longer-term more sustainable program in the future. 

Vice-president (VP) Finance Marco Pizarro followed Wright with updates on his portfolio. He mentioned that there is plenty of room in the budget for students with innovative project ideas to receive funds from SSMU.

“A lot of projects are very interesting,” Pizarro said. “We still have a lot of money so don’t hesitate to spread the word that anyone can apply as long as you have any project—you don’t have to have a club.”

VP External Affairs Val Masny spoke about SSMU’s support and mobilization efforts during the Kanien’kehà:ka Kahnistensera’s court case to halt construction at the Royal Victoria Hospital site. They specifically pointed to an article SSMU put out opposing McGill’s actions and work on the site. 

Moment of the Meeting

The meeting began 20 minutes later than scheduled because SSMU executives were apparently “putting the orders in” for food delivery, according to Speaker Ashkir.

Soundbite

“We have been doing a lot of work with advocacy as well. Each individual committee, advocacy, and outreach committee are looking into many projects, a lot to do with improving the tranquility space within the library but also in working with LWAs [Local Wellness Advisors] for different faculties as well as admin.”

— VP Student Life Hassanatou Koulibaly on the work of the Mental Health Committee

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