Dear SSMU members,
We wish to inform you that on Monday, November 6th, 2023, the Office of the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) delivered a notice to the SSMU President declaring the Student’s Society of McGill University to be in default of its Memorandum of Agreement with McGill University. This notice follows the demand made by University Administration on October 9th and communicated to all students on October 10th for the removal of the McGill name from the McGill Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, one of our SSMU Clubs.
The Memorandum of Agreement is a document outlining the relationship between McGill University and the Students’ Society of McGill University in its capacity as a representative union of the student population on campus. Its terms outline primarily the collection of referendum-approved fees from students and ensuring the rights of students and student groups are upheld by both parties.
If a resolution is not achieved within 30 working days of the reception of this notice—Monday, December 18th, the SSMU will be required to resolve the matter with the University through mediation or arbitration, as outlined in the Agreement itself and could threaten the existence of the SSMU.
The SSMU is currently working on resolving this issue and we aim to ensure our long-term viability by working within the terms of the MoA while staying true to the Society’s mission and values. We hold that transparency is of utmost importance and will continue to relay updates on this topic to our members as the situation evolves.
We also want to reaffirm our commitment to working with the McGill Administration, especially in a time when all of us at McGill are being faced with challenges on a university, provincial, and global level. We understand the responsibility that the Administration has to uphold compassion, inclusivity, and respect for all students on campus and we echo their desire to maintain McGill as a safe environment for all students. For that reason, we urge the Administration to consider the weight of their emails and the negative effects that have been inflicted upon marginalized members of our community. Communications targeting specific groups and making equivalences to serious and tragic historical events only serve to further divide our student body and increase the risk of violence on campus, rather than reduce it.
We encourage our Administration, and our new Principal, to engage with our students directly by getting firsthand experience and actively participating in diverse student group activities. The SSMU serves 24,000 undergraduate students, each with a unique lived experience, and it’s important to not lose sight of the individual when making decisions from an influential and privileged position.
The SSMU’s Executive Committee