Article updated Feb. 6, 2012
At last Thursday’s Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) Council meeting, President Akshay Rajaram confirmed that SUS will be holding its first General Assembly (GA) for undergraduate science students.
Rajaram told The Daily that the major motivations for the GA are issues that students are facing, namely tuition hikes and the possibility of a general student strike. The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) has held two GAs this year; both have dealt with similar issues.
The upcoming GA will be the first in SUS history. Rajaram claimed that it had not previously been necessary for the SUS to hold its own GA.
In reaction to the failures of the recent SSMU and AUS GAs to reach quorum, Rajaram expressed his concerns.
“You really can’t predict the way that the GA will turn out. It really matters on the issues being discussed,” said Rajaram.
“At this point, I really can’t comment on what motions are going to be. And until we know what the motions are, we can’t predict the attendance of the GA,” he continued.
Cyrille Lavigne, VP External for the Department of Chemistry, said Science students are “strongly apolitical in general.”
“Science people don’t usually read the news and keep informed about politics,” he said. “I don’t go to [SSMU] GAs, personally.”
“I feel if there is [an SUS] GA, it would be the same thing, and I think most students will still not care. Having a forum is important, but then you need people to talk in that forum,” he continued.
On the other hand, members of the Science Mobilization Committee (SMC), an unofficial student organization mobilizing against tuition hikes, believe that having an SUS GA is important.
Matthew Henry, a U2 Mathematics student and a member of the SMC, said, “Because we’ve realized that we don’t have much mobilization power yet, that’s why we need to get things going. The first thing we need to is to get the GA started, and then have a general mandate against tuition hikes.”
Another member of the SMC, Aidan Drake, added, “A GA should happen every semester, at least once a year, to consult the students.”
During the meeting, the GA bylaws were also amended to only take motions submitted two weeks before the GA. Rajaram explained that this is necessary to make sure everything discussed in the GA is within the scope of SUS.
After The Daily went to press, SUS Speaker Matthew Dolson confirmed that the GA will be held February 29, with motions due two days before.
At least 125 students must be present to make quorum, and at least fifty students must be present to constitute a consultative forum.