Big issues on the table for AGM

Students should take the time to attend and vote on changes that affect them

UTMSU’s annual general meeting takes place this Thursday and from the sound of it, students will have the chance to vote on some pretty big changes this year.

Based on the answers we received when asking students whether they planned to attend the AGM, I take it that there are many of us, if not most, who don’t really care about what’s happening with the union. That’s quite discouraging.

As the cover news story this week outlines, UTMSU is moving to eliminate the VP part-time affairs position from its executive committee, effective next May. The decision was voted on at UTMSU’s board meeting last month and requires a two-thirds majority vote at the AGM in order to be implemented.

It is an interesting motion, to say the least, considering that UTMSU represents both part-time and full-time students. Why should there be a separate position responsible for solely part-time affairs, rather than sharing the responsibility among all of the execs?

But how do students feel about the motion? These are positions that we pay for and should expect service from. Is the move going to save UTMSU money? What’s going to happen to the money that would have gone to the VP’s salary? What impact will the decision have on part-time students on campus?

Whether or not the decision ends up being implemented, I really hope there’s substantial discussion about the change at the AGM—and I hope students do attend.

Another interesting development covered in news this week is that UTMSU has for the time being decided to withdraw participation from Quality Services to Students. QSS is a committee whose name is not often mentioned among the general community at UTM, at least in my experience. UTMSU’s decision is actually preventing the committee from reaching quorum.

So what’s it all about? According to UTMSU, the committee does not show transparency in its processes for determining changes to student service fees. And apparently, their current process limits the possibility of consultation because of “time constraint[s]”. To the average UTM student, these concerns may not mean anything, but if the issues are serious enough for the union to refuse to continue its participation, I think UTMSU should make efforts to educate its members about it. Why should students care?

Other concerns that UTMSU raised relate to the orientation week that UTM held this year, which UTM dean of student affairs Mark Overton says were “more complimentary than in conflict”. In our story “Orientation Weeks abound at UTM” (Sept. 7), UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe said that the new Eagles Take Off frosh week, organized by the Office of Student Transition this year, “led to an unhealthy competitive atmosphere” between UTMSU and the Department of Student Life.

Well, what do students think? Should there be multiple froshes held in a year, or should UTMSU hold the only one?

As the AGM approaches, students should remember that they have a voice in many of the matters relating to their union and their campus. We can complain about our campus all we want, but when it comes to moments where we can make an impact, we shouldn’t be shy of speaking up.

So, see you there?


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