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Highlights from the Feb 22nd SSMU Council

McGill clinic considers cutting services

Director of Student Health Services, Dr. Pierre-Paul Tellier, was a guest speaker at the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council held on February 22nd.
Tellier explained that McGill’s health clinic currently offers services to members of the university who pay the university services fee, as well as to spouses of McGill students who are not from Quebec. As Tellier explained, it can be difficult for non-Quebecers to access family doctors, and they are often charged a fee to open a file with a local physician.
To alleviate current strains on Student Health Services, including long lines and lengthy waiting periods, the clinic is considering discontinuing service to those who are not registered as graduates or undergraduates.
Tellier explained that the consideration is not due to financial constraints or the recent budget cuts, especially since the clinic currently enjoys a surplus generated by the clinic’s lab. Instead, it’s intended to more efficiently provide a service to those students who pay for it.
Clubs and Services Representative Geneva Nam asked Tellier what percentage of those serviced by the student clinic includes spouses. Tellier said that the clinic’s current databases do not gather such information.
“I don’t think it’s a large number,” Tellier said. “The flip side to that question is that it’s not only about the numbers, but the time that it requires from us. [Spouses] are typically older and have more complicated problems that would demand more time and more follow-up.”

Tellier began the consultation process in the Spring of 2012 and aims to continue the process for about two months before finalizing a decision.  If Student Health Services determines to cut services, the clinic will continue to provide service for a full academic year before the cuts become effective.

Following the meeting, SSMU President Josh Redel told the Tribune that it’s currently unclear if Council will revisit this issue later in the year.

TaCEQ representatives
SSMU Vice-President External Robin Reid-Fraser introduced the candidates who will represent SSMU at the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ)—the student association to which SSMU belongs—for the rest of the year. Council will vote on the candidacy of arts student Alexandra Landry-Gravel and law student Patrick Martin-Ménard at their next meeting.
Following their introduction, Paul-Émile Auger, the secretary general of TaCEQ, spoke to councillors about the association’s goals for the Quebec summit on higher education.
“We hope to secure reinvestment from the government [into universities], and to fight the indexation of two or three per cent that will be announced during the summit,” Auger said.

Motion for a Greener McGill passes

Councillors revisited a motion regarding a Greener McGill that had been tabled at Council’s Feb. 7 meeting. The motion calls for SSMU to send letters to McGill’s Secretariat expressing the student society’s official stance against investment in tar sands, fossil fuels, or companies that do business on territories of First Nations peoples without their consent. The motion also calls for the SSMU Vice-President External to promote discussion on these issues through town halls and an informative website.

The motion passed with 16 votes in favour, two opposed, and six abstentions.

SACOMSS fee up for renewal
Councillors also approved a question for the Winter Referendum period that will allow the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) to renew its fee. SACOMSS’ annual fee of $0.75 will be up for renewal for a period spanning the fall of 2013 to the fall of 2015.
Founded in 1991, SACOMSS is a student-run service that aims to empower survivors of sexual assault through direct support, advocacy, and outreach.

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