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SSMU Council rescinds original decision on equity issue

Black Students’ Network representative: complaint “has delegitimized our organization”

The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council convened March 13 for a short meeting in the midst of election season. Council received a presentation from the Sustainability Projects Fund and passed two motions regarding this term’s listserv apology from VP Internal Brian Farnan, one of which rescinded their decision to make the public apology.

The first motion was put forward by Services Representative Élie Lubendo, and demanded a written explanation from the Equity Complaints Investigation Committee (ECIC) regarding its recommendation that Farnan make a public apology for a GIF sent out over the listserv of President Barack Obama kicking down a door.

“When the recommendation was given to us on December 5 we were never given [an] explanation. What we were told was that this is the recommendation that we have,” Lubendo said. “But they never actually explained to anyone how they came to that recommendation.”

VP University Affairs Joey Shea questioned the requirement of this motion, saying, “Perhaps the report itself was not thorough but it is stated in the policy that the equity commissioner needs to present the report and provide an explanation and that is what he did.”

President Katie Larson spoke in favour of the motion, saying, “I think any way that we can encourage transparency, especially when we demand it so often of the University, is a good example to set among ourselves.”

The motion passed.

The second motion, jointly put forth by Lubendo and the Black Students’ Network(BSN), asked to re-evaluate a previously failed motion that asked SSMU to rescind their decision to make a public apology. The old motion had asked SSMU to rescind their decision based on its effect on SSMU’s reputation.

Lubendo argued to bring back the motion on the grounds that, “it has not only hurt the view of SSMU […] it has even hurt the view of equity itself.”

Delane Efua Boakye, a representative of the BSN, said that, “This has delegitimized our organization because people feel that we’re look[ing] for something to do, we’re raising complaints for the sake of doing it.”

Shea added an amendment to the resolved clause that changed the basis of why SSMU would rescind their decision. The new clause read that it was on “the basis that the public apology trivializes the legitimacy of equity and racism on campus.”

Councillor Courtney Ayukawa voiced her concerns regarding the original complainant, saying, “I do want to reiterate that it is still important to me to validate the feelings of the people that filed that complaint.”