The General Assembly (GA) is a time when *you* can make a direct change at McGill! Members of the SSMU participate in direct democracy by writing and voting on Motions that mandate the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) to take specific action. If you want to have an impact on McGill’s largest student organization, have your voice heard at the GA this semester.
The SSMU 2021 Winter General Assembly will be held Tuesday, February 16, at 6:00 PM EST, via Zoom.
Whisper translation between English and French. If you have any questions about the accessibility of this event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch the President at firstname.lastname@example.org
General Assemblies are open to all SSMU members for debating and voting on changes to your student society. Students can submit items for the agenda two weeks ahead with the signatures of either 4 Councillors or 100 members of the society, so long as no one school or faculty forms half of the signatories. Quorum is 350 members.
General Assemblies are held at least once per semester and are open to all SSMU members (one person, one vote). For the most part, the legislative power of a General Assembly is equal to that of Council. This means that a General Assembly may approve, modify or rescind resolutions, policies, and internal regulations. However, a GA cannot affect policy pertaining to the SSMU’s Constitution, the financial matters of the Society or the composition of the Society’s staff.
There are currently three types of General Assembly:
Click here to read about past GA results.
Click here to view the General Assembly Book of Resolutions.
If for any reason you have any difficulty accessing the documents above, please email the President.
Motion Deadlines – please submit all motions and any questions you may have to the Parliamentarian at email@example.com
Motions at General Assemblies can propose, amend, rescind, or uphold any policy of the Society. General Assemblies have, essentially, the powers of Council, with the exception of a few powers that are legally reserved for a Council or Board of Directors. These restrictions include budgetary questions and any matters of human resources. Similarly, amendments to the Constitution can only be made by means of a referendum, not council or GAs. As with anything the SSMU does, GA motions and proceedings are subject to appeal to the Judicial Board should they be thought unconstitutional by any SSMU member.
It is relatively straightforward to write a General Assembly motion, however, it is sometimes difficult to decide whether your issue concerns budgetary questions. Always consult with others, and work your motion into a form that addresses your concern, without stumbling into the financial territory. Remember, if your motion passes it will give the SSMU Executives a mandate, and ultimately, it will be their responsibility to allocate funds to your cause.
Motions must also pertain to actions or policies under the purview of the SSMU. In cases where they are directed towards University policies, motions should call on the SSMU to take a specified stance or action, rather than demanding that the University take specific actions, as McGill is not bound by GA mandates.
First, let’s think about what exactly you want to do with your motion…Remember that your motion will be debated by dozens if not hundreds of people, so it is crucial that people clearly understand your motion’s goals, and what actions it will empower the Student Society to take. Motions should be short and to the point – 1/2 to a full page and all motions have a basic form:
Motions must also be in line with the SSMU Constitution, Internal Regulations and Policies (unless the motion directly alters one of these last two). Furthermore, motions should be grammatically correct (however, improper grammar can be corrected at any time without consequence).
Finally, motions should be as specific as possible and should, where possible, direct the SSMU to take specific, as opposed to ideological or rhetorical, actions. Nevertheless, specificity of motions should not cause them to be ruled unconstitutional and outside the powers of a GA (see clause 29 of the Constitution). Further, motions should make exceptionally clear any potentially confusing statements, phrases or concepts, so as to avoid conflict, confusion and/or redrafting at the Assembly.
For more information, please click here to read a detailed description about how to write a General Assembly motion (2010).