GSVP Passed, Fee De­bated

Re­port from the event­ful Oct 11 SSMU Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil

The McGill Daily - - Contents - Michael Kurt News Writer

On Oc­to­ber 11, SSMU held its third Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil meet­ing of the year. Dur­ing the meet­ing, many im­por­tant top­ics were de­bated among coun­cil­lors. Af­ter many guest pre­sen­ta­tions, the first is­sue ad­dressed con­cerns over for­mer VP Ex­ter­nal Ma­rina Cupido’s con­tro­ver­sial elec­tion post. In their Oc­to­ber 2 state­ment on the of­fi­cial SSMU VP Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Face­book page, Cupido wrote that the newly elected CAQ is a “xeno­pho­bic, racist, far- right gov­ern­ment with ties to white su­prem­a­cists.” They also high­lighted that the CAQ “cam­paigned on the dis­crim­i­na­tion against racial­ized peo­ple, im­mi­grants and refugees.” Peo­ple crit­i­cized Cupido for us­ing ex­treme terms like “far- right” to rep­re­sent the newly elected provin­cial gov­ern­ment. This post caused con­tro­versy be­cause there was trou­ble dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing Cupido’s per­sonal po­si­tion and SSMU’S, no­tably be­cause the post had to have been ac­cepted by some­one else at SSMU be­fore be­ing pub­lished.

In the hours pre­ced­ing the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil meet­ing, a new state­ment was pub­lished as a fol­low-up on the afore­men­tioned Face­book ac­count in­di­cat­ing that Cupido’s post had been re­cently deleted be­cause “phrased as it was, [it] did not ac­cu­rately re­flect the views of our cur­rent team.” SSMU stated that the CAQ’S new poli­cies “will limit the fi­nan­cial ac­ces­si­bil­ity of ed­u­ca­tion, pur­sue the ex­ploita­tion of fos­sil fu­els with­out ad­dress­ing the im­pend­ing cli­mate cri­sis, cut im­mi­gra­tion, and dis­crim­i­nate against al­ready-marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties based on their re­li­gious ex­pres­sion.” Ac­cord­ing to the mock poll con­ducted by Elec­tions SSMU, the stu­dent body is ex­pres­sively aware of these is­sues, with only 6.3% vot­ing in fa­vor of the CAQ, sit­ting in fourth place be­hind the Green Party, Que­bec Sol­idaire, and the Lib­eral Party. This sec­ond post, in di­rect re­sponse to the con­tro­versy caused by the for­mer, presents SSMU’S first of­fi­cial stance on the neg­a­tive im­pacts this new ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment will have on a large por­tion of the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of Mcgill Univer­sity. This del­i­cate dy­namic only raised more ques­tions as to the pos­si­ble link be­tween the con­tro­ver­sial post and Cupido’s sud­den resignation on Oc­to­ber 9, a de­ci­sion SSMU claims was due to “men­tal health con­cerns.”

Dis­cus­sions on the topic con­cluded and moved on to the mo­tions up for ap­proval, the most crit­i­cal of which re­gard­ing the adop­tion of a new Gen­dered and Sex­ual Vi­o­lence Pol­icy (GSVP), which was unan­i­mously sup­ported by ev­ery­one present at the meet­ing. This new pol­icy aims to fill the gap in the orig­i­nal im­ple­men­ta­tion guide that leaves out many es­sen­tial tech­ni­cal­i­ties. These gaps have re­sulted in re­cent fail­ures with re­gards to deal­ing with sex­ual vi­o­lence cases within the Union. In 2016-2017 two SSMU ex­ec­u­tives com­mit­ted acts of sex­ual vi­o­lence against twelve un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents. The vic­tims of these ac­tions had no pos­si­ble re­course for seek­ing help within SSMU, as the orig­i­nal GSVP didn’t ac­count for cases in which ex­ec­u­tives are the per­pe­tra­tors of these vi­o­lent acts. The new pol­icy con­sid­ers these short­com­ings by pro­vid­ing “an in­ter­sec­tional and sur­vivor-- cen­tric ap­proach to sex­ual ha­rass­ment, gen­dered vi­o­lence and sex­ual vi­o­lence within the SSMU com­mu­nity and ap­plied to the SSMU con­text.”

The mo­tion was drafted in large part by Bee Khaleeli, a U3 Arts stu­dent ded­i­cated to help­ing vic­tims of abuse. In the pol­icy, Khaleeli em­pha­sizes the need to im­ple­ment mea­sures to pre­vent acts of vi­o­lence and sup­port vic­tims us­ing an ap­proach that pre­vents re-trauma­ti­za­tion. Even though coun­cil­lors were on board with these pro­posed mea­sures, the big­gest talk­ing point of the mo­tion re­volved around pro­vid­ing the res­o­lu­tion with the ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing. SSMU VP Fi­nance Jun Wang stressed that the oper­at­ing bud­get for the 20182019 aca­demic has al­ready been ap­proved, and funds to im­ple­ment the GSVP would have to be sourced else­where. It was agreed upon that a fee levy is the best solution for the short-term un­til a place can be made for the new pol­icy in the bud­get. On Oct 18, coun­cil voted to re­ex­am­ine the fee levy. The amended mo­tion was con­se­quently ap­proved unan­i­mously.

The meet­ing drew to a close with talks about re­nam­ing the Mcgill men’s var­sity team. The pro­posed mo­tion aims to re­name the team since the cur­rent “R*dmen” is an of­fen­sive and op­pres­sive slur against Indige­nous peo­ples. The op­po­si­tion to this mo­tion lies in both cur­rent and alumni var­sity ath­letes claim­ing that the “R*dmen” name is an in­te­gral part of their iden­tity. Af­ter much de­bate, the mo­tion was even­tu­ally passed and the ques­tion will be up to Mcgill stu­dents to vote on at the next Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

The need to im­ple­ment mea­sures to pre­vent acts of vi­o­lence and sup­port vic­tims us­ing an ap­proach that pre­vents re­trauma­ti­za­tion is em­pha­sized in the new [Gen­dered and Sex­ual Vi­o­lence Pol­icy] pol­icy.

Ac­cord­ing to the mock poll con­ducted by Elec­tions SSMU, the stu­dent body is ex­pres­sively aware of the is­sues [the CAQ poses], with only 6.3% vot­ing in fa­vor of the CAQ, sit­ting in fourth place be­hind the Green Party, Que­bec Sol­idaire, and the Lib­eral Party.

Cupido’s post [was] deleted be­cause “phrased as it was, [it] did not ac­cu­rately re­flect the views of [the] cur­rent [SSMU] team.”

Michael Kurt | Pho­tog­ra­pher

Bee Khaleeli pic­tured at Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil

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