“In the interactions that we do have with the administration where we let them know what students’ priorities are, all of these motions are going to affect what that is,” SSMU VP University Affairs Claire Stewart-Kanigan told The Daily in regards to the GA ratification.
Harmful military research
The Motion Regarding Support of a Campus Free from Harmful Military Technology Development, which faced heavy debate, passed with 55.0 per cent of students voting “yes” and 45.0 per cent voting “no.”
SSMU VP External Amina Moustaqim-Barrette told The Daily that this motion would allow her to more effectively support groups that have been mobilizing against military research, such as Demilitarize McGill.
Stewart-Kanigan said that she would take into account the close margin by which the motion passed. “I am looking to do some outreach to make sure that those students [opposed to the motion] aren’t completely feeling left out by this stance, and [to] assure that we can take on the work of advocating for alternative sources of [research] funding.”
The Motion Regarding Action on Climate Change passed, with 78.7 per cent voting “yes” and 21.3 per cent voting “no.”
“The effect [of this motion] will be to show politicians that students will not be silent on an issue that will have a grave effect on our future if our government does not take action now,” Moustaqim-Barrette told The Daily in an email.
The motion also mandates SSMU to join Étudiant(e)s contre les oléoducs (ÉCO), or “students against pipelines.” According to Moustaqim-Barrette, ÉCO will represent around 90,000 students now that SSMU has joined.
“The motion also [will] give SSMU a lot of room to act in solidarity with Indigenous peoples resisting large-scale extraction projects,” said Divest McGill member Bronwen Tucker.
Stance against austerity
The Motion Regarding Solidarity Against Austerity passed with 82.6 per cent voting “yes” and 17.4 per cent voting “no,” and will result in SSMU releasing a statement against austerity measures and taking a stronger stance against austerity when interacting with the administration.
Moustaqim-Barrette, who, during the GA, condemned the passive response of the administration to recent provincial budget cuts, spoke positively about the results, told The Daily that the motion will help stregnthen SSMU’s ties with other universities in Quebec taking similar stances.
Stewart-Kanigan said that SSMU’s new stance against austerity puts her in a good position to push the University to take a more forceful message to the provincial government.
Fall referendum results
The Black Students’ Network (BSN) fee passed in the Fall referendum, with 54.7 per cent voting “yes” and 45.3 per cent voting “no.” BSN will now be receiving a semesterly fee of $0.40 per full-time student and $0.20 per part-time student.
Overall, BSN representatives were enthusiastic about the results of the referendum.
“It says a lot about the McGill community that people are supporting us now,” BSN Co-President Melanie Enama told The Daily. “It’s telling us that we shouldn’t be afraid to also reach out to more people.”
BSN will be working more with other services and branching out to the community. Enama noted that the fee will help bring Ta-Nehisi Coates, a prominent speaker, to McGill in collaboration with the McGill Debating Union. BSN will also be increasing the size of its annual Children’s Day, a community outreach event for elementary and high school students to learn more about university and Black History Month “to show them that university is something that’s possible for them.”
“It’s definitely positive, only positive vibes,” said Enama.
The TVM: Student Television at McGill fee restructuring also passed, with 61.3 per cent voting “yes” and 38.7 per cent voting “no.”
The plebiscite question regarding a change to a preferential ballot voting system for SSMU elections saw 78.7 per cent voting “yes” and 21.3 per cent voting “no.”
Two plebiscite questions regarding cycling on campus also received a majority “yes” vote. The first, which asked whether cycling should be allowed on lower campus, saw 63.2 per cent vote “yes” and 36.8 per cent vote “no.” The second, which asked if SSMU should lobby the administration to allow bikes on campus, had 60.4 per cent vote “yes” and 39.6 per cent vote “no.”
—With files from Janna Bryson