On Sept. 24, the McMaster Students Union Student Representative Assembly and board of directors gathered in Council Chambers at Gilmour Hall for the second SRA meeting of the academic year. At the meeting, three primary motions were discussed.
The first, put forward by Alex Wilson, SRA (Science) member, called for the MSU to adopt a more critical stance on McMaster’s recent smoking ban. In particular, Wilson asked the MSU to release a statement claiming that “McMaster Students Union cautions against the move towards a smoke free campus and prioritizes considerations of student safety, accessibility, and comprehensive access to McMaster University when considering implementation.”
The SRA and the board largely agreed with Wilson’s original statement, but they voted to amend it to include the fact that, despite its anti-ban position, the MSU recognizes the negative health effects of smoking. Not sparking significant disagreement, the amended motion won the majority vote.
The second motion, put forward by Max Lightstone, SRA (Engineering) caucus leader, called for the MSU to promote the opportunity for students to opt out of paying their Ontario Public Interest Research Group fee.
Although an amendment to extend MSU promotion to all opportunities to opt out was considered, SRA members agreed that promotion can take place on the grassroots level, not requiring an official motion. Another concern raised was the fact that the relationship between the MSU and OPRIG would be strained in the event that the MSU endorsed the opt out. As a result, the motion failed.
The third motion, put forward by Sabrin Salim, SRA (Science) member, asked the board to release a statement within 48 hours of the meeting to apologize for the events that transpired on the night of Post Malone, explain why an apology to reps and students was not released earlier and highlight what changes will be made in light of Homecoming and future events. This motion ignited heated debate, with SRA members disagreeing with board.
Ryan Deshpande, vice president (Education), sought to amend the motion further to place less emphasis on the apology and stress how the MSU is preparing for Homecoming, stating that releasing improvements would make the statement more constructive.
“Moved by Deshpande, seconded by Sabra, that the MSU release a publication this week in advance of Homecoming in conjunction with the communication department that specifically highlights appropriate safety measures for Homecoming and apologizes for negative experiences in the past event of Post Malone,” the amended statement read.
A few SRA members, such as Wilson and Salim, expressed frustration over Deshpande’s amendment, noting that the MSU needs to acknowledge that many first-years and reps felt invalidated at Post Malone.
Nevertheless, amidst logistical concerns with the Salim’s original motion and a growing awareness that an unfruitful debate would persist should the amendment fail, the SRA and the board voted to pass both the amendment and the amended motion.
The next SRA meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Gilmour Hall.