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Highlights from the Mar 28 SSMU Council

Guest speaker: Principal Heather Munroe-Blum

The guest speaker for last week’s Council meeting was Professor Heather Munroe-Blum, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill.  After giving a short introductory speech, she granted most of her allotted 40 minutes to a question and answer period.

When asked how she felt about the new incoming principal, Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Blum responded that she was “thrilled.”

“She has a clear sense of what our mission is,” Munroe-Blum said. “I don’t think there’s anybody better to come in as [principal] at this time.”

SSMU Clubs and Services Representative Zachery Rosentzveig asked Munroe-Blum about the importance of clubs at McGill, emphasizing the recent budget cuts. Munroe-Blum responded by saying that club funding was a business transaction with the university, and said she thought it was unfair “in context of student development and learning to talk about business transactions.”

Munroe-Blum was asked what she thought was her biggest success as Principal. She said that she couldn’t tell for herself, and that “only history could be the judge.” However, Munroe-Blum mentioned that she believed sustainability was a theme that would resonate with her legacy.


Motion Regarding TaCEQ secretary General Position

ed in the approval of an additional Vice-Secretary General position to the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ).

TaCEQ is a lobbying organization comprised of student groups from universities across Quebec, including the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). The organization has an annual budget of about $40,000, including salaries for the two current positions—Secretary General and Vice-Secretary General.

The motion, which was moved by SSMU Vice-President External Robin Reid-Fraser, proposed that the position of Vice-Secretary General be divided into two positions—Vice-Secretary General of Communications and Internal Relations, and Vice-Secretary General of Finances and Administration.

By creating an additional position, increased funding would have to be used to pay for another salary, to which SSMU would contribute approximately $3,200.

Councillors were divided on the creation of an additional position, with several claiming that TaCEQ lacks organization. Some pointed out that the association has no mandate nor mission statement, that assembly minutes and reports have not been properly administered, and that the organization’s website and all its documents are only available in French.

Furthermore, councillors argued that there was no clear definition of what the position would entail.

“The role of Vice-Secretary lacks a proper definition, and we’re creating a new one? Why should we pay for another one?” Brian Farnan, vice-president external of the Arts Undergraduate Society and incoming SSMU vice-president internal, said.

Reid-Fraser fought hard for the approval of the motion.

“We can get so much more out of TaCEQ if we put a bit more of a dollar amount into it,” she said.

The motion eventually passed, with 13 for, five against, and three abstentions.


Motion regarding creation of ad-bloc campaigns committee 

Council approved the creation of an Ad-hoc Campaigns Committee. According to the notice, the committee will “be responsible for helping to carry out campaigns related to SSMU mandates, including, but not limited to, issues of post-secondary education policy, environmental issues, and social justice issues.“

The idea for the committee was developed by Reid-Fraser in response to the Divest McGill campaign, which has required large amounts of resources and manpower.

The notice says that the Committee would be comprised of SSMU Vice-President External, the SSMU Political Attaché, and the SSMU Political Campaigns Coordinator. The Committee would only come together when needed, in order to lead and consolidate on large SSMU mandated campaigns, such as Divest McGill, according to Reid-Fraser.

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