Three UTSU executives and one UTMSU representative: UTSU’s VP university affairs, Cassandra Williams; VP equity, Farah Noori; VP campus life, Shahin Imtiaz; and UTMSU designate, Jackie Zhao signed a counterstatement last Wednesday, alleging that the union’s announcement on January 24 of support for the decertification of the Canadian Federation of Students did not consult all the executive committee members of UTSU.
The announcement that supported decertification, signed by UTSU’s president, Jasmine Wong Denike; VP internal, Mathias Memmel; VP external, Matthew Thomas; and VP professional faculties, Ryan Gomes, outlined various reasons for UTSU’s decision, including being asked to approve an audit of two years that was added “without notice” to the CFS national general meeting in November 2016.
Referring to themselves as the “other half” of UTSU, the undersigned executives of counterstatement stated that the announcement was prepared prior to the CFS Ontario General Meeting, and was awaiting approval from the executive committee or the board of directors, had any “unfavourable” events taken place at the meeting.
“It is a brazen abuse of power for a subset of UTSU’s Executive to undermine the Executive Committee and Board of Directors so as to push a political agenda,” read the counterstatement.
“We, the undersigned, are not advancing a position on the CFS, but rather a position against corruption,” it continued.
“Irrespective of one’s feelings towards the CFS, it would be irresponsible to sign a statement released under such dubious conditions.”
The counterstatement further notes that “without any prior consultation,” some UTSU executives were aware that a statement on CFS would be released.
The undersigned group denies having seen it before its publication. However, they stated that they were asked, with the exception of one member, whether or not to include their names in the statement.
In an email to The Medium, Thomas, who prepared the statement supporting the decertification of CFS, stated that the other executives were asked if they wanted to sign, but Williams and Noori both responded that they did not want to, while Imtiaz was not available for comment.
“For her part, the VP UA [Williams] alleged that the UTSU has never engaged with the CFS in good faith, which is false and offensive. As for the VP Equity [Noori], she was afraid that CFS loyalists would boycott her events,” said Thomas.
Thomas wrote that UTMSU representatives are not part of the day-to-day operations and are thus never included in UTSU statements. He added that the statement “doesn’t affect Local 109 (UTM) at all.”
Williams did not respond to The Medium, as of press time.