Last Monday, February 27, the Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) announced that its General Assembly (GA) would be held on Friday, March 2 at 5 p.m., rather than on its original date of February 29.
The announcement was made over the weekly listserv email that SUS VP Communications, Maria Zamfir, sends to Science students.
Askshay Rajaram, SUS president, said in an email to The Daily that midterm season was responsible for the lack of room availability.
The room shortage was also the reason that SUS delayed the official announcement of the GA to February 13, even though it had decided on an original date of February 2.
Because they delayed the official announcement, students had four days to submit motions before the deadline, which, according to SUS bylaws, is two weeks before the actual GA.
Rajaram said, “The time between February 2 and February 13 was spent trying to find a room for the GA, which was exceedingly difficult given that the campus is in the middle of midterms and all available rooms have been taken for this purpose.”
It has been decided that the final location will be in the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building.
Carl Dion Laplante, a U1 Biology student and member of the Science Mobilization Committee, expressed concern about the location and new date.
In an email to Rajaram, he wrote, “Unless the intent is to lose quorum or not reach it at all, a Friday night is not the right moment for a GA.”
At least 125 Science students are required to be at the GA to maintain quorum.
Noemi Stern, a U1 Cognitive Science student and a member of the Committee, shared similar worries.
“On Fridays, people usually have other plans. Wednesday would [have been] a good day. We would have [had] two days in advance to mobilize people,” Stern said.
There has also been a lack of advertising for the GA. According to Rajaram, this was because the SUS executive wanted to “make sure that only one set of correct dates and times was sent out.”
Even though the GA is scheduled, Laplante still believes that the SUS is falling behind the rest of the Quebec student movement. “Ideally we should have started mobilizing for the strike,” he said.
“McGill [students] haven’t been having a lot of mobilizations, petitions, or strikes. If we wanted to have a strike, we [would] have [had] to start mobilizing early for the strike,” he continued.
The Science Mobilization Committee started to take action in January, when they submitted a petition to call for a Special GA to discuss and mobilize around tuition hikes and accessible education. This petition was approved by the SUS on January 24.
Two motions will be voted on at the GA. The first is a motion regarding accessibility, which calls for the SUS to adopt a policy in favor of accessible education and against tuition hikes, with the long-term goal of obtaining free education for all students. The second motion is regarding the recognition of an SUS Strike Committee.