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SSMU Council discusses resignations of VP Internal, General Manager

The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Council met on Oct. 1 to discuss motions regarding improvments to student life, the resignation of vice-president (VP) Internal Affairs Lola Baraldi, and a SSMU climate change policy.


Resignations of executive positions


The loss of general manager Jennifer Varkonyi in August is now coupled with Baraldi’s resignation, which came hours before the SSMU Council meeting.

According to SSMU President Kareem Ibrahim, Baraldi intends to finish a full report on Frosh, ending on a relatively high note as this year’s Frosh received the highest satisfaction rate from the student body in recent years at 4.1 out of 5. The other responsibilities of the VP Internal Affairs are being delegated throughout the executive. SSMU VP External Affairs, Emily Boytinck expressed concern about these additional responsibilities.

“I think we all are very aware of what this will entail for the rest of this semester,” Boytinck said. “I think we all know this semester will be particularly time intensive and perhaps stressful, but that is the life of a student executive.”

Council also passed a motion to condemn the undemocratic appointment of a new Interim Senior Director of Student Services by Ollivier Dyens. The motion came in the wake of accusations of failure to consult students, faculty, staff, and the advisory committee for the selection of the senior director of student services.

Library renovation and access

In her report to Council, Rourke introduced the McLennan-Redpath Library’s $180 million renovation plan, which will begin with student consultation.

“[The] goal is to make [the McLennan-Redpath Library complex] more of a student center, to drastically increase study spaces on campus,” Rourke said.  “It would be extremely exciting to see this happen it would address a lot of the needs that students have.”

The source of funding for the renovation is uncertain as of now, as the project is still in the early planning stages.

“The money will have to come from somewhere, and libraries are looking at every option in terms of how they could possibly find the money to fund it,” Rourke said.

With regards to the restrictive library access imposed by law students during exams last April, the Law Students’ Association (LSA) proposed a two-week restriction instead of three. This restriction would only occur for regular service hours. Interim Arts Representative Kat Svikhnushin raised concerns over the continued restriction of access, which resulted in the decision to delay the straw poll until after councillors could speak with their constituents.

“It is a very dangerous precedent to start setting, that certain faculties have say over their own library,” Svikhnushin said. “Everyone at McGill’s tight on space; everyone at McGill’s writing  […] exams.”


Motion to adopt a climate change policy


Boytinck presented the new climate change policy, amended from last year, which was drafted with the help of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) over this past summer.  The policy is clearer in its execution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and parterning with sustainability-oriented groups.

“[We’ve] talked a lot over different rules in regards to climate change and combating climate change through our roles of executives at McGill,” Boytinck said.

The policy will guide SSMU in reducing its carbon footprint,  participating in ethical business partnerships, and working to educate the McGill community on issues of climate justice.

“Climate change affects the three major dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental,” stated the notice of motion to adopt the policy. “As a champion of sustainability, the SSMU has a responsibility to combat [it].”

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