News | What’s up with the SSMU Board of Directors?

On January 19, Elections SSMU announced the results of the recent online vote to ratify the nominations to SSMU’s Board of Directors (BoD): with a turnout of roughly 18 per cent of voting members, 23.5 per cent of whom abstained, the list of nominees was approved with 2524 (84.5 per cent) in favour and 463 (15.5 per cent) against.

The vote marks the conclusion of a months-long controversy over the BoD’s membership, which began at the 2017 Fall General Assembly (GA) on October 23. While BoD nominations are generally presented for ratification as a bloc, three students at the Fall GA, including VP Internal Maya Koparkar, brought forward motions to split the vote. This, they argued, would promote a more democratic process by allowing students a greater of freedom of choice. After consulting the Chief Justice of SSMU’s Judicial Board (JBoard), then-Speaker Jad El Tal allowed the splitting of the vote. All but three of the nominees – Noah Lew, Alex Scheffel, and Josephine Wright O’Manique – were then ratified.

In the aftermath of the GA, Jonathan Glustein, a member of last year’s BoD, brought a petition to the JBoard in which he argued that El Tal and Koparkar had violated the SSMU Constitution by allowing the splitting of the vote. After a public hearing on November 30, and weeks of deliberation, the JBoard announced on December 31 that they agreed with Glustein: “The Judicial Board believes that the Motion Regarding the Nomination of Directors for the Board of Directors should be voted on again at another General Assembly or as a Referendum question — this time, as a whole.”

After ratifying this decision at their first meeting of the year on January 14, the BoD decided to proceed with the latter option. The online ratification vote ran from January 15 to 18, and the new BoD will shortly be taking up office as SSMU’s highest governing body.