Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Letter to the Editor: If you can’t start on time, then don’t do it in person 

In a Nov. 22 article by The McGill Tribune about the Post-Graduate Student Society (PGSS) Fall General Meeting, they highlighted the meeting’s enormous delay as the “Moment of the Meeting”. The meeting was scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m., but as reported by the Tribune, did not start until 8:06 p.m.—a delay of almost one hour! Indeed, I can attest that it was a moment. Thus, let me share my utmost disappointment with what happened. 

Before this meeting, PGSS sent out invitations to its constituencies to attend because, according to them, “your voice matters.”  They provided two options: To attend in person or via Zoom. My friend and I, both graduate students, decided to attend in person at Thomson House. We saw this as an opportunity to better understand what is happening within the PGSS and contribute to its decision-making process. We also wanted to show our solidarity with the PGSS and further empower the collectively beneficial outcomes that could arise from the meeting.

Optimistic as we were, we arrived at Thomson House at 6:45 p.m. We went up to the Ballroom Hall at 7:05 to get settled but were told that there was still an ongoing PGSS Council Meeting. We decided to return at 7:15 and were told that the council meeting had been extended for 15 more minutes. My friend and I thought this was okay, but when we went back 15 minutes later, we were again told that the council had just voted to extend their meeting by another 20 minutes, without assurance that the General Meeting would begin after. My friend and I decided to leave. 

When I found out through a Tribune News article that the meeting was delayed by almost an hour, I knew we had made the right decision not to stay. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt the same disdain if I had participated online and instead waited in a Zoom waiting room. But the PGSS making its invitees wait upwards of an hour is completely disrespectful, rude, and insensitive, especially to those who decided to come in person. When they asked us to come, we came. However, it felt like our voices did not matter. It felt like we were third-class PGSS members whose attendance is only needed to reach a quorum.

In my email to the PGSS—to which I have yet to receive a response—I asked them to reflect: Was there no other way that they could have started on time or at least minimized the time they asked for registrants to wait? Why was there no formal notice about the potential delays? Why invite in-person attendees just to ask them to wait around for an hour? 

It’s tempting to roll my eyes when learning from the Tribune that the meeting did not even reach a quorum, or one per cent of its membership. Cases like this, trivial as it may sound, damage my trust in the PGSS.

Maybe I should just sing out my disappointment at one of their Karaoke nights?

Elson Galang, Ph.D. Candidate

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