A guide to SSMU

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SSMU is the largest stu­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion at Mcgill. It pro­vides fund­ing and space for clubs and cam­pus groups, and ad­vo­cates on be­half of the stu­dent body to the university ad­min­is­tra­tion. It has a lead­er­ship struc­ture com­prised of two de­ci­sion-mak­ing bod­ies: the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil and the Board of Direc­tors. Within both these bod­ies sit the ex­ec­u­tives, a team of seven stu­dents—now six, since VP Oper­a­tions Anu­radha Mal­lik’s res­ig­na­tion in mid-au­gust—who are elected to govern SSMU to­gether. Coun­cil­lors and direc­tors are also elected to rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent sub­sec­tions of the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion.

Ex­ec­u­tive team

SSMU has 7 elected ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions. The ex­ecs are Mcgill stu­dents who par­tic­i­pate in Coun­cil and some­times serve on the Board of Direc­tors. The ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions are Pres­i­dent, VP University Af­fairs, VP Ex­ter­nal, VP In­ter­nal Af­fairs, VP Stu­dent Life, VP Fi­nance, and VP Oper­a­tions. They all have in­di­vid­ual man­dates re­lated to the func­tion­ing of SSMU, with a port­fo­lio of com­mit­tees and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties spe­cific to their po­si­tion. The ex­ecs are ex­pected to present any ma­jor de­vel­op­ments within their port­fo­lios at each Coun­cil meet­ing. In essence, the Pres­i­dent de­ter­mines the broad vi­sion of the So­ci­ety and pro­vides sup­port to the rest of the team. The VP Ex­ter­nal han­dles SSMU’S re­la­tion­ship with or­ga­ni­za­tions be­yond the university, as well as cam­pus po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. The VP In­ter­nal, mean­while, or­ga­nizes on- cam­pus events (such a frosh and 4Floors) and sends out a weekly list­serv to all mem­bers of the So­ci­ety to en­cour­age com­mu­nity-build­ing. The VP University Af­fairs ad­vo­cates on be­half of stu­dents to the Mcgill ad­min­is­tra­tion. The VP Oper­a­tions and Sus­tain­abil­ity (whose post is cur­rently va­cant) is in charge of the Shat­ner build­ing, SSMU’S sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives, and the stu­dent bar, Gerts. The VP Fi­nance main­tains the bud­get and fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity of the So­ci­ety. Fi­nally, the VP Stu­dent Life is the co­or­di­na­tor be­tween the SSMU Coun­cil and stu­dent-run clubs and or­ga­ni­za­tions. They also fo­cus on is­sues re­lated to stu­dents’ qual­ity of life, like men­tal health ser­vices. All of the ex­ecs serve on SSMU Coun­cil, but only four serve on the Board of Direc­tors: the Pres­i­dent, the VP Oper­a­tions, the VP Fi­nance, and one other exec ap­pointed by Coun­cil.

Gen­eral As­sem­bly

The Gen­eral As­sem­bly is a meet­ing open to all SSMU mem­bers (mean­ing YOU!) and is sched­uled to meet twice a year, once dur­ing each se­mes­ter. In ad­di­tion to these bian­nual meet­ings, the dates of which are set by SSMU, Spe­cial Gen­eral As­sem­blies can be or­ga­nized by a group of fifty or more stu­dents. This group must rep­re­sent four dif­fer­ent fac­ul­ties with no more than 50 per cent of the stu­dents be­ing from one fac­ulty. Any Mcgill un­der­grad­u­ate can at­tend a Gen­eral As­sem­bly and par­tic­i­pate in the leg­isla­tive process. Stu­dents can also sub­mit mo­tions to the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, which grants them an op­por­tu­nity to im­ple­ment di­rect change, and to hold the lead­er­ship of SSMU ac­count­able for po­lit­i­cal and/or per­sonal de­ci­sions that have in­flu­enced their abil­ity to ad­e­quately rep­re­sent the stu­dent body. The fall Gen­eral As­sem­bly is sched­uled to take place on Mon­day, 23 Oc­to­ber 2017 in the SSMU ball­room, lo­cated on the third floor of the Shat­ner build­ing.

Board of Direc­tors

The SSMU Board of Direc­tors is the high­est gov­ern­ing body within SSMU, and is re­spon­si­ble for run­ning the busi­ness af­fairs of the So­ci­ety and for rat­i­fy­ing cer­tain po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions. The Board is com­prised of nine ap­pointed stu­dents and four SSMU ex­ecs. The nine ap­pointed stu­dents are eight Direc­tors and one in­ter­na­tional stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive who does not have a vote. The meet­ings of the Board of Direc­tors are closed, and de­spite a hope­ful “com­ing soon!” mes­sage on their web­site, they have yet to pub­lish min­utes for their meet­ings from 2015 and 2016.

Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil

SSMU’S Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil con­sists of all seven ex­ecs as well as thirty elected coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent­ing cam­pus groups and so­ci­eties. They meet once every two weeks to make de­ci­sions about pol­icy and leg­isla­tive changes within SSMU as well as the day-to- day run­ning of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. The top­ics cov­ered at a meet­ing could be any­thing from bud­get al­lo­ca­tion to pol­icy mak­ing. Meet­ings tend to last for sev­eral hours, but Coun­cil pub­lishes agen­das in ad­vance, in or­der to en­cour­age stu­dents to at­tend and par­tic­i­pate in de­bate. The meet­ings have a rigid struc­ture, some­times char­ac­ter­ized by time- con­sum­ing bu­reau­cratic pro­ce­dures and pro­ce­dural jar­gon, which can make them feel in­ac­ces­si­ble to the unini­ti­ated. Still, Coun­cil is prob­a­bly the best place to go if you’re in­ter­ested in the way SSMU is gov­erned. The first meet­ing of the se­mes­ter is sched­uled for Thurs­day Septem­ber 14, in the Lev Bukhman room of the SSMU build­ing.

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