At its second meeting of the year on January 21, the Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) General Council (GC) voted to support Queer McGill (QM) in its intention to hold a discussion exclusive to people of colour, and discussed the upcoming 2015-16 budget.
Endorsement of Queer McGill event for people of colour
As part of its ongoing Rad Sex Week, QM will hold a discussion on sexuality and romance for queer and trans people of colour, excluding white people to provide a safer space and a more open environment for people of colour. After receiving online complaints against this event, QM approached various campus groups to speak in support of such closed events.
According to VP External Emily Boytinck, the GC’s decision to endorse the workshop fits with the SUS Equity Policy, which strives to provide fair treatment and safe space for all McGill students.
“Conversations can be held differently if white people who don’t experience racism aren’t present,” said Boytinck.
McGill Society of Physics Students representative Laurent Lanteigne disagreed, saying, “This is a right step in the wrong direction. […] If the ultimate goal is to have everyone on an equal stance, then everyone should be able to speak equally.”
Microbiology and Immunology Student Association representative Joy Tseng voiced concerns about taking a stance in the first place. “This is a touchy issue for SUS to be involved in this event,” she said. “It should take a neutral stance.”
Boytinck noted that similar discussions closed to people of colour had been used successfully by SUS itself at its equity retreat this month.
The motion passed, with eight votes for, five against, and five abstaining.
VP Finance Eileen Bui presented an overview of the planned budget for 2015-16. Over 64 per cent of funds will be allocated to the departmental associations, she said.
“The rest of the funds are being distributed to committees that have the greatest impact on students,” said Bui.
Such initiatives include student appreciation events, such as free cookies during exam seasons, and the setting up of a laptop lending program to aid students who are in need of laptops on a short notice.