At last Thursday’s annual general meeting, more than $1.5 million worth of UTMSU assets were reported, and members voted to remove VP part-time affairs from the UTMSU executive, as well as to request that UTSU postpone its second special general meeting, slated to take place this Wednesday.
UTMSU was unable to provide attendance numbers of the meeting as of press time.
Prior to the start of the meeting, Division 3 UTMSU director Hashim Yussuf distributed an emergency resolution, which he moved to be added to the agenda.
Yussuf’s motion called upon UTMSU to request UTSU to postpone its second general meeting to January 28 to deal with the ratification of a compliant board structure, among other items on the agenda.
“It will be hard to make sure members from UTM can make it out to the UTSU general meeting when it is so close to the UTMSU AGM,” read part of the resolution. The resolution also alleged that there was “a severe lack of accommodation for students with disabilities at the last AGM”, and called on accommodations needing to be made at the upcoming special general meeting.
Currently, UTSU already has a special general meeting scheduled for January 28 to address multiple student-motioned items left unaddressed at the October 7 AGM; the main items planned for this Wednesday’s meeting are votes to approve bylaw amendments and pass a compliant board structure, among other items on the agenda.
UTSU’s SGM comes after the union failed to ratify a board structure compliant with changes made by the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act at the union’s October 7 meeting. As previously reported by The Medium, UTSU missed the October 17 deadline to pass a compliant board structure, but is in no immediate risk of dissolving, according to legal counsel provided to UTSU.
When voting to add the item to the agenda, which requires unanimous consent, UTSU VP internal and services Ryan Gomes objected, causing the motion to fail.
Yussuf brought forward the motion again later in the meeting, this time with unanimous consent, which ultimately led members to vote on the resolution.
Shortly thereafter, Gomes apologized for his original objection to adding the resolution to the agenda, calling it a mistake.
“I didn’t realize that the motion required unanimous consent,” said Gomes. “At the end of the day, this is a decision of Mississauga students and you all have the right to debate it and vote on it”.
According to Gomes, UTSU scheduled the meeting to be held on November 18, as that is the week the UTSU AGM is usually held, but was bumped up to early October this year.
“We’ve actually had discussions about this with UTMSU executives,” said Gomes. “As it stands right now, we don’t believe in changing the date of the AGM.”
Bylaw amendments pass
Passed by a unanimous vote at the AGM, UTMSU removed the VP part-time affairs position from the union’s executive as of May 1, 2016.
“We didn’t feel like the position is needed anymore,” said UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe.
Also voicing support for the change was UTMSU’s current VP part-time affairs, Amir Moazzami.
“All of the things that VP part-time does can be done by the rest of the executive team,” said Moazzami. “[The change is] a good thing”.
As previously reported by The Medium, the removal of the position would result in UTMSU hiring two coordinators—a mature students coordinator and part-time students coordinator—to help reallocate work typically conducted by the VP part-time affairs.
Also present to support the removal of the position was Richie Pyne, VP internal at the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students downtown.
“On behalf of APUS, we support the bylaw changes being made,” said Pyne.
The financial audit passed at the AGM reported $1.5 million worth of assets retained by the union, up from UTMSU’s $1.1 million assets in 2014.
The financial statements report no cash listed under the 2015 list of assets and a bank overdraft of $39,276. In 2014, UTMSU retained $5,286 in cash with no reported overdraft.
UTMSU VP internal and services Francesco Otello-DeLuca also reported a raise in UTMSU staff wages from $12 to $13 an hour effective January 2016.
As of April 30, 2015, UTMSU accounted for $186,498 spent on frosh week orientation, up from the $152,979 spent in 2014. Revenue from ministries, the graduation formal, and orientation totalled $345,837, while expenditures for the three line items totalled $382,768, leaving UTMSU in a $36,931 deficit in social activities and planning.
Finances as of the same date report that the Blind Duck ran a deficit of $32,917, with sales reaching $427,343.
With regards to academic societies, $48,504 of an available revenue of $65,634 was allocated to 20 societies on campus leaving $17,130 unspent. Expensing $6,976, the Undergraduate Commerce Society led the pack with the largest amount spent.
Following the approval of UTMSU’s audited financial statements, Charles Havill Chartered Accountants were reappointed as UTMSU’s auditors.
In an email sent to The Medium several hours prior to the meeting, UTMSU executive director Walied Khogali informed The Medium that no audio or visual recordings were to take place during the meeting and photographs were to only be taken by UTMSU staff.
“With regards to video footage and audio recordings, please note that we received complaints in the past of photographs and videos being taped without the consent of our members,” wrote Khogali. “To promote participation at the annual general meeting, we restricted the use of those devices at the meeting to UTMSU staff, who must seek consent from participants before photos are published.”
“Students will be sharing their experiences, which can be sensitive. We hope that you and others will respect the wishes of UTM students that want to participate at the meeting, without fear of being reported on without their consent,” Khogali continued. “Staff of The Medium or other publications can choose to record students that voluntarily participate in the interview after the meeting is concluded.”
At the meeting, Agbeyegbe said that photographs could be taken during the meeting after those in attendance were asked to self-identify if they did not want to be photographed.
A student identified as “Dwayne” approached the mic during the portion of the agenda designated as “Other Business” to discuss parking costs on campus.
“I feel like there needs to be better regulation on the prices as it concerns parking,” said Dwayne. “I find parking prices to be way too expensive on campus.”
In response, Moazzami encouraged students to send all concerns to UTM’s chief administrative officer, Paul Donoghue.
“F— it, just email him,” said Moazzami referring to Donoghue. “Email him and call him and let him know that these parking fees are pretty ridiculous.”
Khogali proceeded to pull Donoghue’s contact information up on the projector.
Trans issues raised
UTMSU LGBTQ coordinator Jasbina Sekhon discussed issues related to trans and gender-diverse students at UTM.
“Students aren’t being served the way that they could be served,” said Sekhon, who also identified past issues related to transphobia at the university level and within UTMSU. “Trans and gender-diverse students are an independent group that need addressing. This is a very real issue.”
Syrian WUSC student
VP external Naveed Ahmed announced that UTMSU will sponsor a second refugee student through the World University Service of Canada program. The student, who will be from Syria, will be sponsored in January 2016.