The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council convened on Oct. 28 to hear from Dean of Science Bruce Lennox, who provided a midpoint update on the New Vic project and answered questions regarding the project’s accessibility, sustainability, and community consultations. During the question period, councillors harkened back to the quality of the first botched Activities Night of Fall 2021, and pressed on the repeated absence of SSMU president Darshan Daryanani. Councillors also voted on referendum questions and a motion to condemn Bill 2—a bill that proposes to add sex and gender as separate categories to birth certificates, and would also require people to undergo gender-affirming surgery to officiate a sex change on their birth certificate.
Lennox, as academic lead of the New Vic project, provided a project timeline and mock-ups of what the interiors will look like. Lennox also shared some insights gathered from consultations with Acosys Consulting Services, an Indigenous consultancy group.
“What has come out of these [many] discussions since January is a series of potential [Indigenous] representations [on the New Vic site],” Lennox explained. “[The New Vic site may include] everything from sculpture, landscaping, garden design, interior artwork, to actual interior shaping of spaces that have their origins in Indigenous culture.”
During the question period, council members inquired about Daryanani’s absences and questioned how the society can run smoothly without a president. Vice-president (VP) Finance, Éric Sader, who has taken over Daryanani’s role as signatory on SSMU meeting minutes, stated that the president is not currently active in his role.
“The president is on leave at this time and I would ask everyone to respect his privacy,” Sader said. “And I can confirm the society is functioning quite well.”
Next, VP Student Life, Karla Heisele Cubilla, acknowledged the shortcomings of the first rendition of SSMU’s activities night, but looked forward to the upcoming activities night 2.0 running from Nov. 1 to 3.
“The reason why we did not do an in-person fair event for the first edition is because this was planned in June,” Heisele Cubilla said. “There were no vaccine passports. No venue would take more than 150 people, so it was a big struggle. For the second edition, we are doing an in-person event […] for three days, and we are also doing a hybrid option which is via Zoom in Redlands, so we are doing our best.”
Further motions regarding SSMU referral service fees, including the Motion Regarding the MUSTBUS Fee-Levy, the Motion Regarding CKUT Existence, and the Motion Regarding QPIRG Existence, all passed. During the debate period for each motion, Medicine Representative Benson Wan proposed an amendment that would require groups requesting fee increases to provide financial reports.
“Councillor Wan, your dedication to budget transparency,” Ashkir started, “I hope it is noted in the minutes and in any article that is written about this.”
Moment of the Meeting
Speaker of the Legislative Council Alexandre Ashkir noted that almost 50 per cent of SSMU councillors did not attend the mandatory anti-violence training and explained that follow-ups will be scheduled to ensure those who missed it had valid reasons.
“It would call on the Quebec government to remove the provisions of Bill 2 that infringe on the autonomy of trans, intersex, and non-binary people in Quebec [….] If this motion passes, it will show the trans and intersex and non-binary community on campus SSMU’s determination in supporting them. As such I urge all of you to vote ‘yes’ on this motion and condemn the transphobic bill proposed by the Quebec government.” –Arts Representative Yara Coussa on the Motion Regarding Condemnation of Bill 2
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that almost 50 per cent of SSMU workers did not attend the mandatory anti-violence training. In fact, it was 50 per cent of SSMU councillors. The Tribune regrets this error.