On Thursday September 15, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council held its first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year to hear a report on alternative and equitable governance, and discuss five motions. The motions concerned the adoption of the Council’s standing rules, the creation of an ad hoc equitable governance reform committee, the creation of an ad hoc provincial representation committee, revising the committee terms of reference, and the future of the accountable leadership policy. All motions passed.
Equitable Governance Report
SSMU Alternative and Equitable Governance Researcher Leslie Anne St. Amour presented a report to Council via Skype entitled “Moving Towards Equitable Governance at the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU),” which provides several recommendations through which SSMU can carry out its commitment to social justice and equity, as mandated in its Constitution.
St. Amour came to these recommendations by consulting with “students who identify as people of colour, Indigenous, students with disabilities […] at other schools.”
Recommendations included establishing an equity seat on SSMU’s Board of Directors (BoD), adjusting financial accessibility in Council positions, requiring equity training for all members of Council, revising the clubs and services organization, and possibly looking at SSMU’s role in non-academic misconduct.
To establish an equity seat on the Board of Directors, St. Amour suggested using one of Council’s reserved seats on the BoD. Reserved seats on Council are filled by election, and St. Amour clarified that the students who would be entitled to vote in these elections would be determined by self-identification.
Revising the clubs and services organization would also result in restructuring, said St Amour. “Instead of having various clubs or services serving equity based goals, for example […] you could have an overarching service potentially titled Racialized Student Services,” for which SSMU would provide funding, she explained.
Council then discussed a motion that will create an ad hoc equitable governance reform committee to review the report compiled by St. Amour, consult students and groups, and ultimately submit recommendations to Council. An amendment was made to the motion that increased the number of councilors on the committee from one to two. The motion passed unanimously.
Accountable Leadership Policy
SSMU VP University Affairs Erin Sobat introduced a motion to repeal the Accountable Leadership Policy, announcing, “the future of the Accountable Leadership Policy is that it has no future.”
According to Sobat’s motion, the Accountable Leadership Policy “includes provisions related to executive performance reviews, executive attendance, member-at-large restrictions, and the Accountability Committee.” The motion also notes that this policy “has historically suffered from either an ill-defined or overly ambitious mandate.”
The policy is meant to hold executives accountable to their mandates, and addresses logging hours and pay docking, which, Sobat noted, SSMU cannot do legally.
Much of this information is already contained in other documents such as the Regulations of Governance and the Committee Terms of Reference. Before introducing this motion, Council unanimously passed a motion to revise committee terms of reference which addressed the Accountable Leadership Policy.
Speaking in favor of the motion, Clubs Representative Adam Templer noted that “last year, the accountability committee was not the most effective committee, to put it lightly.” He believes that the motion “speaks to the reform that needs to be done.” The motion also passed unanimously.
A previous version of this article named Adam Templer the Clubs and Services Representative. In fact, he is the Clubs Representative. The Daily regrets the error.