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Council votes against taking stance on Leacock restructuring

Members of the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) legislative Council voted against taking a stance on the People, Processes & Partnerships (PPP) plan last Thursday.

Introduced in November 2012, the PPP plans to consolidate the administrative staff of departments within the Faculty of Arts into six hubs, which would consist of many departments under shared staff. The plan was developed as a response to staff reduction through the voluntary retirement program.

“There is a worrying lack of evidence presented to stakeholders to suggest the viability of this plan, whether in terms of documented cost-savings, demonstrable efficiencies, or student, staff, and faculty satisfaction with such arrangements at universities comparable to McGill,” the motion reads.

The motion faced criticism from both councillors and non-councillors. Justin Fletcher, president of the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), argued that the PPP is an Arts-related matter, and therefore not a suitable subject for SSMU to discuss.

“This is a motion that is very specific to the Faculty of Arts, and I believe that the AUS is the most representative body to discuss such an issue,” Fletcher said. “So I do not believe that this really is SSMU’s place to take a stance [….] I ask that representatives of the SSMU legislative Council respect the AUS’s autonomy in making decisions specific to policies in our faculty.”

However, Medicine councillor David Benrimoh argued all students of the AUS are still represented by SSMU.

“Arts students are SSMU members, as well,” he said. “We have a responsibility to advocate for their interests [….] I think we do have a place to speak about it.”

Arts councillor Ben Reedijk responded that despite such arguments, many councillors of SSMU were not acquainted enough with the PPP to take a sound stance on it.

“The PPP has been drastically changed since last year,” Reedijk said. “If you had been to one of the many student consultations that have happened since, you would probably know that [….] So I think it’s really depressing that we’re going to be passing a motion on an issue, but not actually show up to the consultation for it.”

The motion failed.

Council endorses creation of Family Resources Coordinator

Council endorsed an application submitted by the Senate Subcommittee on Women that, if approved, would create a Family Resources Coordinator position funded by $88,000 over two years by the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF).

The fund application, made up of fees from students and matched by the administration, will be reviewed by a working group in the Office of Sustainability.

The project would aim to connect student parents with resources available to them and to advocate for greater support for student families.

Sara Deslisle spoke on the development and necessity of the project.

“At the moment, there is no dedicated resource for either students, faculty, or staff dealing with family-care issues,” she said. “What we’re basically looking at for the first year of the pilot project is to look at childcare issues in particular. At the moment, there is a shortage of childcare resources on campus. For instance, the McGill Childcare Centre currently has a 740-persons waiting list for 106 subsidized spots.”

Reedijk expressed concern regarding the usage of the fund to create a project, as opposed to funding more daycare spots.

“How many actual additional daycare spots can we create in lieu of hiring a coordinator revolving around the issue of daycare spots?” Reedijk said. “Why not actually just go directly to the source and fund more daycare spots for our students?”

Deslisle emphasized the importance of evaluating the situation before allotting funding.

“At the moment, there is no assessment as to what is needed,” Deslisle said. We’re doing a needs assessment, first of all, trying to figure out who needs [things and] what’s needed.”

The motion passed.

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