In an unprecedented and unexpected move, the Department of Management has decided that beginning next year it will no longer support the Undergraduate Commerce Society (UCS).
Currently, UCS shares a special relationship with the department, unlike all other academic societies on campus, which are overseen and funded entirely by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students Union (UTMSU). In his official announcement last Friday, Chair of the Department of Management Hugh Gunz said, Management can no longer condone or support the irresponsible practises fostered by such a corrupt club culture, referring undoubtedly to the recent Biz Frosh episode between UCS, UTMSU, and the University administration regarding UCSs lewd and offensive cheers during their orientation event. As such, we are cutting our ties to UCS as an organization, added Gunz.
Gunz also stressed that the move will not affect commerce students enrolled at UTM in any way, since they are still free to join the UCS on their own volition without any form of reprisal from the department. However, much of the events and incentives advocated and initiated by UCS over the years, such as the annual Show me the Green competition and various recruiting and networking workshops are now under the stark possibility of ceasing to exist altogether — all down and dependant on the projected limited funding the society will receive from here on. During past years, the Department of Management has funded a large portion of UCSs hefty $45,000 budget.
The move is being cited as a symbolic one, to show that the Department of Management is committed to the highest ethical and moral standards possible. In an era of growing cynicism about business practises, it is of the utmost importance to give the impression of being socially responsible, said Gunz. Our department and the University are fully committed to equity and fighting discrimination of all forms.
The UCS executive was apparently caught off-guard by the change in policy. Ive no idea what Gunz is thinking, said visibly upset UCS President Jyotin Handa. Im still wondering if all this is a joke, because I dont even think hes allowed to do this, added Handa.
On Sunday March 29, a number of commerce students began to gather outside the UCS office, in the hopes of seeing some sort of notice or word confirming all the rumours. They wont answer my E-mails, text messages, nothing, complained second-year Commerce student Opiate Chang, referring to the UCS executives who have not been available for comment or communication the last few days. Its bad business practise not to reply within 24 hours, she noted, as others around her nodded.
When asked to comment on this development, UTMSU Vice President Equity Saaliha Malik expressed delight. UCS has been very slow to adopt changes to their constitution in the way of promoting equity and eliminating discrimination. Although she looks forward to forcing UCS to implement those changes, Malik also said that the Student Union will not exercise undue influence over the UCS executive or their activities. We dont care what they do as long as they promote equity, she added.
UTMSU President-elect Joey Santiago could not be reached for comment, but the UTM Movement online Facebook group had several messages related to the UCS issue. How can the Student Union stand by and let the University attack our clubs like this? was one such posting, all of which were clearly opposed to UCS falling under the unions control.
It is expected that the UCS executive will appeal the decision made by the Dept. of Management to cut them off from affiliation and funding, although it is not yet certain whether or not the Erindale Governing Council will deign to hear their case.