Here are some common questions and answers related to the proposed change to UTSU’s bylaws (covered in two separate articles) at the Annual General Meeting on October 29.
Will 45,000 represented students be disenfranchised in the proposed board structure?
This is not a sentence that appeared in the Medium’s article. Referencing blogger Robyn Urback of the National Post, the Medium’s article stated that many of these students “wouldn’t have a category representing them”. The statement in the Medium’s article referred to the fact that some students would not belong to any of the proposed categories; for example, there is currently no director specifically for representing male students, upper-years, or non-racialized students. The statement does not mean that a member of a college is barred from occupying a position on the board, such as indigenous, LGBT, or first-year director.
Are all directors for specific faculties (Arts & Science, Medicine, Law, etc.) being removed?
No, this was not claimed in the Medium. The Medium’s article said that “a number of” faculty directors will be removed. There are currently 12 categories of faculty directors, whereas in the proposed structure there are three at large directors representing the professional faculties.
Are college and faculty representatives being removed entirely?
They would sit on a committee that is privy to the information the board has, and they could make recommendations and forward motions to the board. But they would not be able to vote on any of these decisions at the board level.
Does the board structure have to change in order for UTSU to comply with the new Not-for-Profit Act?
Yes, in some respects. Most of these respects have not incurred any controversy. The controversy is related to the specific requirement is that non-profits can no longer have directors for the whole corporation who were elected by a limited portion of the corporation.
Do the college and faculty directors have to be removed for UTSU to comply with the new Not-for-Profit Act?
No, they do not. There are a number of options given the above requirement. Either these directors can be removed, or their authority in the whole corporation can be limited (via “classes”), or the restriction on which students can vote for them can be lifted. This last option is the one used in the proposed structure; that is, anybody from any campus will be able vote for the UTM directors, anybody from any background will be able to vote for the directors representing women, students with disabilities, indigenous students, etc.
Will UTSU lose its status as a corporation if the bylaw amendment motion fails?
Not necessarily. The deadline for non-profits to submit bylaws that comply with the act, which was introduced in 2011, is October 2015. If a new structure were designed, approved by the board, and passed at a general meeting before then, UTSU would be compliant. UTSU’s legal council said that “if compliant bylaws are not filed within 12 months, Industry Canada could impose compliant bylaws.” UTSU’s legal council advised the union that “if compliant bylaws are not filed within 12 months, Industry Canada could impose compliant bylaws.”
How did this structure come to be proposed?
A motion look into a new board structure to comply with the act was passed at last year’s AGM. The students commissioned to investigate it produced a report, which UTSU says was passed unanimously by the board, and the structure was formulated as bylaw amendments and packaged in the motion for this year’s AGM.
Were any other options explored?
- This is a federal act, and UTSU is federally incorporated. The current president of UTSU introduced a motion to re-incorporate UTSU provincially so that it would not fall under the restrictions of the act. This motion was voted against by the board.
- The “classes” option was also considered. This solution involves creating a class for each college and faculty, and each class has a veto in certain circumstances. UTSU’s legal counsel advised against it because of the possible slowdown of union operations, and the option was voted against.
- A structure that retains college and faculty directors but opens up voting for them to the whole student body, which is the de facto solution for all the other directors, was not considered, to the Medium’s knowledge.
Were there any falsehoods in the last issue of The Medium?
As this appendix should make clear, there were not. It is the hope of the editorial staff that if any information was important but missing, it has been added here.