Commentary | SSMU responds to the AUS GA

An open letter to the AUS

To the AUS Executive Committee:

We would like to congratulate you on an extremely well-attended General Assembly last night. We would also like to express our extreme disappointment and frustration concerning the poor communication, organization, and attitude which shaped your response to the unexpected numbers and thus took a toll on SSMU staff, clubs, services, executives, attendees, and other students using the building.

Because of your lack of contingency planning for the high turnout, the SSMU Executive and full-time staff had to neglect their other responsibilities to intervene in the crisis. When we asked your volunteers and members of your Executive Committee how to help, there was little to no direction provided and most seemed clueless as to any plan of action.

Our Security Supervisor had to call in extra agents on short notice, as well as calling on other staff members to stay overtime in order to ensure the security of the event. Our Executive and staff were outside communicating to your frustrated and confused members about what was going on. The AUS harassed our clubs, most notably the Muslim Students’ Association, to move out of rooms in order to accommodate your needs. After initially rebuffing their desire to livestream the event, you demanded that TVM – a volunteer-run student service – give you “tech support” and accommodate your needs at a moment’s notice.

While we are happy to work with the AUS to help you run events that are relevant to your members (who, after all, are all part of SSMU as well), such a partnership requires responsibility sides. Such failures reflect poorly on both of our organizations.

In short, we are not only disappointed with your poor planning, but also disgusted by your sense of entitlement and disrespect for the space, time, and resources of others.

Due to these concerns, the SSMU Executive Committee has decided to take the following actions:

  • The AUS Executive may not book any more space in the William Shatner University Centre until the term of the current AUS Executive Committee has expired, except on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Building Managers. Groups which normally book space through the AUS are invited to contact VP Clubs & Services Carol Fraser directly cs@ssmu.mcgill.ca.
  • The AUS will be billed for all security agents, staff overtime, services (including TVM), and cleaning costs incurred by last night’s event.
  • We demand that the AUS issue a public letter of apology to the affected clubs and services, our Security Supervisor, our staff, and all attendees – who are also SSMU members – who were in any way frustrated by the General Assembly.
  • Concerning the AUS’s Nuit Blanche event on March 22, we have changed the booking to “pending” status. The booking will only be accepted upon receipt of a complete, thorough, written document about the event, which will outline all activities and their locations, all volunteers and coordinators involved and their contact information, a detailed timeline including setup and clean-up, and a crisis management plan in the event of whatever mishaps may arise. This document must be submitted to the SSMU General Manager no later than noon on Monday, March 19.

We look forward to rebuilding our relationship into a more productive partnership.

Signed by Todd Plummer (Vice President, Internal) and Carol Fraser (Vice President, Clubs & Services) on behalf of the SSMU Executive Committee, 2011-2012.



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