To all members of the History Students’ Association (HSA),
There has been a lot of dialogue on campus recently about departmental associations holding General Assemblies (GA’s.) After much discussion and investigation into our available courses of action, the HSA executive has reached the conclusion that it is not within our constitutional framework or mandate to hold a General Assembly.
The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) held a GA on Tuesday, March 13th, during which a resolution to strike was defeated. Article 8.7 of the AUS Constitution states that: “Departmental Associations shall recognize the supremacy of the AUS Constitution, By-Laws and Council.” Since GAs are the highest governing body of the AUS, the HSA recognizes and respects the votes of its constituents via the AUS GA. Moreover, Article 1.2 of the HSA constitution states that “The organization shall be governed by…the Constitution and by-laws of the Arts Undergraduate Society.” As an internal departmental organization, we are committed to the official position(s) taken by the membership of the AUS.
However, the HSA executive recognizes its mandate to represent student interests and voices within the Department of History, as per Article 3.3 of our Constitution.
With this in mind, the HSA executive invites all History majors, minors, and honours students to come to the HSA office (Leacock 629) and sign their names to a statement declaring their support or opposition to the unlimited student strike. If the majority of our constituents (50% + 1 of students) declare that they are either in support or opposition to the strike, the HSA as per its mandate (Article 3.3 of our constitution) will willingly advertise and make known the position of History students and provide support and publicity for that position.
To clarify, this is not a strike vote and the HSA will continue to recognize the votes of its constituents via the AUS GA. As per both our constitution and the AUS constitution, our official position is the one taken at the AUS GA. The purpose of this letter is to provide a forum and a voice for students in History, as is our mandate.
The HSA executive will be holding extended office hours from Tuesday, March 27th until Tuesday, April 3rd inclusive. Our aim is to have at least one executive member in the office during business hours (9am-5pm). Students wishing to sign any of the statements (support, opposition, or no opinion) must bring their McGill ID with them. The executive will be verifying that all who sign are a History major, minor, or honours student.
The HSA executive would like to stress that the office is a safe space and that all students have the right to sign the statements in an environment that is welcoming, free from hostility, and if they wish, private. Furthermore, the HSA wishes to make it clear that the office is a work environment, located amongst offices of History faculty and staff who also have the right to a quiet workplace free from hostility. For these reasons, and also due to the small size of the office, we would greatly appreciate it if students came to sign the statement in small numbers, or individually.
The HSA wishes to make known the opinion of its constituents whilst maintaining its constitutional and procedural integrity and respecting the votes of History students who voted at the AUS GA. The executive body hopes that we have found a fair way to continue to represent History students and their voices while, as an executive, remaining accountable to the sentiments of our constituents.
The Executive of the History Students’ Association.