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SSMU Council highlights important issues for this fall

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SSMU Council convened for the first time last Thursday to introduce new members and review the result of SSMU executives’ work this summer. With the deadline for the General Assembly (GA) creeping up on October 7, and the cut-off for motions September 27, The Daily summarizes some key issues SSMU may be featuring on the GA menu and on everyone’s minds.

International tuition

VP External Devin Alfaro promised SSMU would to start mobilizing against the deregulation of international student tuition, legislation that affects international students studying management, law, computer science, the pure sciences, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.

“Many students on our campus will be negatively affected by this change,” Alfaro wrote in his summer report. “It poses troubling questions about who will be able to attend McGill in the future, and also opens up the possibility of favouring admissions of international students, and favouring more ‘profitable’ faculties.”

He promised to start working with affected faculty societies and potentially with Concordia’s student society – who also faces international tuition hikes – to issue a public letter.

Campus crackdown

Last March the University attempted to establish guidelines – that SSMU President Kay Turner claimed were poorly written and overly vague – regulating student events on campus.

“The real problem with the guidelines is the stuff sounds wishy-washy. But because it’s institutionalized, it’s problematic,” said Turner. “They give almost no paper trail.”

VP University Affairs Nadya Wilkinson said she will present Senate with a revised version of the administration’s guidelines – albeit in an uphill battle to regain student access to space on campus.

Clubs and Services Overhaul

Wilkinson has promised to improve the transition from club to service for groups under SSMU’s umbrella. Currently within the SSMU by-laws lies a delineation between a club and a service, and how a club becomes a service.

The issue was partially prompted by Council’s decision to deny service status to the McGill Anti-Racist Coalition after its creation only a year prior.

Wilkinson has yet to declare concrete plans.

Student parents

Turner wants to put the issue of student parents front and centre at SSMU, though she has yet to outline exactly how her plan will be executed.

“There is absolutely no policy for student parents at McGill – they are literally invisible in terms of representation, so we are hoping on the Senate Subcommittee on Women (SCOW) , on which I sit, will be able to make some motion on policy creation for student parents in the Senate,” wrote Turner in her summer report.

A GA for daycare employees will be held on October 1.

New SSMU web site (finally)

VP Internal Julia Webster promised a brand-spanking new SSMU web site to be up sometime this semester – extending her earlier promise that it would be up and running last week. The website – which cost between $7,000 and $10,000 – should feature new advertising, stream headlines from The Daily and The McGill Tribune, feature a photo event archive, and an events calendar. All major SSMU documents will also be available in both English and French.

Greening SSMU

SSMU will be completing its 100-page environmental audit by October 15. Turner said she hoped to use the audit as a basis for developing a five-year plan to green SSMU. She also suggested revising the by-laws to accommodate the proposed changes.

McGill Plate Club

The McGill Plate Club – created last year to provide reusable plates and cutlery to students to use in the Shatner cafeteria – disappeared this fall. According to the SSMU Council, last year’s SSMU President Jake Itzkowitz arranged for the service offered by the Plate Club to be taken over the by the Work Study Program so that workers would be paid when the service returns shortly. The Plate Club will now only in order to cater larger events.

Adieu Faculty Olympics

What will we do without Heather Monroe-Blum in a swimsuit? Hearts will break!