Last week’s Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Council meeting focused on midterm reports, where members of the SSMU executive team detailed their progress in various projects within their respective portfolios.
Upcoming TaCEQ referendum raises possibility of SSMU’s departure from association
SSMU Vice-President External Samuel Harris spoke on the possibility of SSMU considering disassociation from the Table de Concertation Étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ). Discussion on withdrawal has arisen because another of TaCEQ’s four member student associations—the graduate student association of the Université de Sherbrooke (REMDUS)—is running a referendum on leaving the organization from Jan. 21 to 23.
“Frankly, my perspective is that TaCEQ will not work without REMDUS,” Harris said. “Given the turmoil that TaCEQ has had with the four associations, and now losing our biggest ally;—if they leave, which we’ll see—I think it is very possible [SSMU will leave].”
Also known as the Quebec Student Roundtable, TaCEQ is a student lobbying organization that represents over 70,000 students in Quebec through membership from four university student societies: Université Laval’s postgraduate student association (AELIÉS), Université Laval’s undergraduate student association (CADEUL), REMDUS, and SSMU. SSMU spends approximately $17,000 on membership per year and is contributing an additional $10,000 this year to act as an intervener in a court case on students’ right to free association.
Harris stated that SSMU would continue to provide payments to TaCEQ until the results of the REMDUS referendum become available.
“I understand the concern in terms of not wanting to make a payment transaction to an association that SSMU might feel like leaving,” Harris said. “However, there are bills to pay, such as the salaries of secretary-generals [….] What we can do is wait for the results of the REMDUS referendum.”
If SSMU were to leave TaCEQ, Harris noted that there were many avenues by which it could do so.
“Arguably, it could be a Council decision [or] a General Assembly decision; but I think a referendum would be the most transparent,” Harris said.
Winter Activities Night faces decreased demand for space
Vice-President Clubs and Services Stefan Fong spoke on changes to this semester’s Activities Night, which will take place on Jan. 20 and follow a different format from previous semesters.
“This semester we’ll be changing the format a little bit to account for the reduced interested in people registering for tables,” Fong said. “We’re going to make it a lot more interactive by having groups apply to have workshops with performances.”
According to Fong, this set-up will reduce the long wait times often created by the building’s capacity restrictions, as students waiting in line will be able to take part in a workshop or see a performance as they wait.
“[This gives] more accessibility to groups—[for example] dance groups—who really want to show what they have, rather than talk about themselves,” Fong said.
SSMU to hold an open session to address student questions about the Winter General Assembly
Council announced that the Winter General Assembly (GA) will take place on Feb. 5. SSMU President Katie Larson also stated that an open session on the GA will take place on Jan. 28, which will allow students to discuss what kind of motions they would like to see brought up at the GA.
“[The session] will allow interested students to talk about the GA,” Larson said.
GAs take place once per semester and are open to all members of SSMU, who vote on motions put forward by members.