Commentary  ENDORSEMENT: Let’s go to the GA

Suddenly, it’s that time of year again. The General Assembly (GA) posters are up, the weather is turning shitty, and Pop Montreal is but a faded, glorifvied memory. On Tuesday, undergraduate students will gather in Three Bares Park in the middle of campus to debate, amend, and vote on five serious motions and three silly ones. And of course, SSMU execs are anxiously waiting to see whether this will be the first GA since last fall. We hope it does, especially since SSMU has done a better job advertising the GA and informing students about how to submit a motion than it has in the past.

Now, a note about attending the GA: you should do it. There are few opportunities for direct democracy at McGill, and GAs are the most direct avenue for students to express their views to SSMU. So, before the party gets started, The Daily offers its humble opinion on the motions submitted.

Undergraduate student workers’ union

This motion calls on SSMU to officially support the formation of the Association of McGill Undergraduate Student Employees (AMUSE), and to help out with the messy logistics behind it. AMUSE has yet to be created: the union can only be formed with support from undergraduate employees. Undergraduate student employees must educate themselves on how AMUSE will or can be formed, and how it could benefit them. The Daily suggests students support this motion, since undergraduates need to get informed about AMUSE, the nascent union will only reach its full potential if it incorporates a wide range of student employees, and it only makes sense for SSMU to help its potentially-cousin-like union get the word out.

Military Recruitment & Research

There are two military themed motions this fall. The first calls on SSMU to ban military publicity in Shatner or any SSMU-related entity and to oppose military publicity elsewhere on campus; the second calls on SSMU to oppose any involvement by McGill professors on fuel-air explosives, and most importantly, for increased transparency in research practices. The Daily supports both. The military’s presence on campus has become all too familiar, from recruitment at Engineering career fairs, to ads in the Gym, bathrooms, and The Tribune, to research on fuel-air explosives performed by McGill professors, toß research funded by the U.S. military. Though it’s present on campus right now, the military simply does not belong at an educational institution, and these motions constitute some of the only concrete advances on the issue.

Student Services

The University’s decision to consolidate control of food services on campus by stripping student groups of profitable, independently-run ventures has resulted in a campus full of unsustainable, corporate food services. The most recent example occurred last fall when McGill shut down the Architecture Café, only to re-open it under the umbrella of McGill Food Services. In the spring, SSMU Council had the opportunity to prioritize student space and support student-run initiatives. Instead, it chose to award rooms 103 and 108 in Shatner to Café Suprme and Liquid Nutrition, respectively, despite various student pleas and enough funds to wait on the decision.

This motion calls on SSMU to defend autonomous student-run food vendors, and support such ventures inside and out of the Shatner building. The Daily strongly supports this motion – student life would suffer greatly if McGill were to complete its stranglehold on campus eateries, and now is the time to push in the opposite direction.

Clubs and Services

This motion will likely be shot down, since a question concerning support for clubs – but otherwise devoid of real substance – passed with over 80 per cent of the vote in SSMU’s spring referendum. Just like that question, this GA motion focuses on prioritizing clubs and services over SSMU’s other obligations to students, such as acting as a lobby group and defending students in negotiations with the McGill administration. The Students’ Society should not introduce a hierarchy to its responsibilities, and as such, The Daily does not support this motion.

…And the the silly ones: Catered House Party; Star Wars identification; No Pants Fridays

There are other, better ways to spend $30,000; you can’t mess with William Shatner; a fantastic idea.