The Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) General Council (GC) convened for its biweekly meeting on March 25. Without much debate, the GC endorsed the McGill Food Coalition and passed revisions to SUS electoral and financial bylaws.
Representative to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Zacheriah Houston and VP External Emily Boytinck presented a motion for SUS to endorse the McGill Food Coalition and sign the group’s charter. The Coalition, created in February following the cease-and-desist order on sandwich sales sent to SNAX, aims to promote food accessibility, student input in campus space allocation, and sustainability.
Boytinck said that, even though SUS does not run a food operation, an endorsement of the Coalition would be an important show of solidarity. “It’s really important to maintain some student power and ability to run our operations,” she said. “It’s really important that […] all student societies on campus are united in solidarity with each other.”
The motion passed with one abstention.
The GC also passed a set of changes to the SUS electoral bylaws, the most important change being the introduction of an appeals process. Candidates will now be able to appeal sanctions from the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) made during the campaign period as well as election results to the GC.
“It was brought to light that we had gaps in the current bylaws that we wanted to address,” said CRO Danielle Toccalino.
She also noted that the 2015 election saw the highest turnout in an SUS election in recent years with 13.4 per cent.
The GC also amended the SUS financial bylaws to reflect the recent introduction of the Student Space Improvement Fee, as well as to require consent from the GC to sign “sponsorship contracts that place restrictions on the departments.” The latter clause was meant to address a problem that arose this year when the SUS executive signed a contract with Kaplan Test Prep granting the company exclusive advertising rights for the Burnside building, thereby restricting advertising revenues for departments located there, such as the Society of Undergraduate Mathematics Students (SUMS).
In the same spirit, Houston and SUMS representative Francois Paul Claverie brought forward a policy recognizing support of departmental organizations as “one of [SUS’s] primary obligations,” which the GC also adopted.