About the General Assembly
General Assemblies are held at least once a 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 bylaws. 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.
If you are interested in submitting a motion to a General Assembly, you may consult a SSMU Executive and/or the Speakers of Council for advice and support. For 2012-2013, the Regular GA schedule is as follows:
GA Motion Deadline: Monday October 1st, 2012
GA: Monday, October 15th, 2012, 4:30pm, Shatner Ballroom
GA Motion Deadline: Monday January 21, 2013
GA: Monday, February 4, 2013, 4:30pm, Shatner Ballroom
You can view the results of many past GA motions as well as various resources related to the GA at the old General Assemblies Official Website.
There are currently three types of General Assembly:
- Regular GAs: They happen once a term, are publicised by the society, and 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 less than half of the signatures are from one faculty or school. Quorum is 100 members, with a maximum of half from any given faculty or school.
- Special GAs: They are requested by 200 members (again, no school or faculty may represent 50% or more of the signatures), or 8 councillors, with representation of 4 faculties or schools, for a specific issue, but quorum is the same as for Regular GAs.
- Strike GAs: They are treated separately because of the last strike GA in March 2004 which put the SSMU on strike for a day in support of the campaign for returning 103 million dollars transferred from bursary funds to loans in Quebec Student Financial Aid. They are requested the same way as Special GAs but require the attendance of 500 members for quorum, again with less than half counted from one Faculty or School.
Fall 2011 General Assembly
SSMU’s Fall 2011 General Assembly was held Monday, September 26th at 4:30pm in the Shatner Ballroom (3rd floor, SSMU2 Building). The final text of the passed motions will soon be available here.
Fall 2011 – GA Results
Motion Regarding Student Consultation in Re-Appointment of the Deputy Provost of Student Life and Learning | Motion sur la consultation des étudiants en rapport du renouvellement du mandat du député Provost (études et vie étudiante)
Motion Regarding the Institutionalization and Documentation of SSMU’s Leadership for Sustainability | Motion sur l’institutionnalisation et la documentation des projets de l’AÉUM pour le développement durable
- Winter 2011 GA Final Results including Amended Motions (.pdfs)
- Summary - English
- Agenda – English | Français
- Resolution Regarding The Society’s Investments – Amended & Adopted - English | Français
- Resolution Regarding Biking on Campus – Amended & Adopted - English | Français
- Resolution Regarding the Appointment of McKinsey & Co. as McGill’s Consultant Firm – Recommended for adoption with concomitant recommended amendments by the Consultative Forum. - English | Français
- Resolution Regarding the Use of the McGill Name by Clubs, Services, and Independent Student Groups of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) - Recommended for adoption by the Consultative Forum. - English | Français
- Winter 2011 GA Original Motions – English | French (.pdf)
- Fall 2010 GA Motions (.pdf)
- Winter 2010 GA Motions (.pdf)
- Fall 2009 GA Motions and Results
- Click here to read about past GA results. (.pdf)
You can also read more at the former GA website.
Writing a Motion
Other Motion Writing info:
Motions propose policies or courses of action to SSMU. All motions have a basic form:
- PREAMBLE: Optional background information
- WHEREAS: The facts and arguments leading to…
- RESOLUTION: The action or policy proposed
Anyone can write a motion and bring it forward to the GA. First, let’s think about what exactly you want to do with your motion…
Always consider what the GA can actually accomplish
SSMU’s 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 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 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.
Successful Motions are Well Written
Remember that your motion will be debated by dozens if not hundreds of people! 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.
- The preamble and whereas clauses should be concise, unbiased, and directly relevant to the resolutions
- They must also be in line with the SSMU Constitution, by-laws, and policies (unless the motion directly alters one of these last two).
- 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. (However, 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, or redrafting at the Assembly.
General Assembly Reform (Fall 2011)
NOTE: The adopted changed bylaws will soon be posted here.
Reforming the General Assembly to make it more effective has been a source of debate on campus for several years. This year, we are seeking to conduct a comprehensive review.
We invite you to review the General Assembly Reform – Process Framework (For Discussion) document and send your thoughts email@example.com. Please keep returning to this page for additional documents related to General Assembly reform.
SSMU Council will be voting on how to change the General Assembly on December 1st (6pm, Lev Bukhman Room). The initial proposed changes are available for download below, but the Bylaw Review Committee thinks we can do better.
Lev Bukhman Room (2nd floor of SSMU)
Thurs Nov 24th, 4-5:30pm
Survey Results & Notes from previous Town Halls
Thanks to everyone who has already contributed their input. Here are the notes compiled by SSMU’s Secretary General: SSMU General Assembly Reform Town Hall – Notes
Media: Read more about GA reform
Réforme de l’Assemblée générale (par Ian Clarke)
What should your democracy look like? (by Maggie Knight)
SSMU opens discussion on General Assembly reform (by Elisa Muyl)