This past weekend saw an eventful University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors meeting, in which several important motions were discussed.
During an in-camera portion of the meeting, the board voted to undertake legal action for which legal counsel was present.
Details of the action itself have not yet been made public, and the nature of the action is expected to surface later this week.
Engineering Society Fee Agreement
The board of directors voted to pass the signing of an agreement between the UTSU and the Engineering Society (EngSoc). The agreement allows for EngSoc member to remain members of the UTSU, while allowing for both organizations to maintain their autonomy.
According to the contract, which is renewable each year, the UTSU shall have a voting seat on EngSoc’s Board of Directors, to be filled by a member of the UTSU executive committee. A majority of two thirds of the UTSU and EngSoc executive committees is sufficient to call for a re-negotiation of the contract.
In order to avoid duplicate services, the agreement outlines which services the UTSU shall provide and which fall under the purview of EngSoc.
Financially speaking, 50 per cent of the fees that EngSoc pays to the UTSU shall be remitted under the contract, and both parties have the power to terminate the agreement with a two thirds majority vote by either body’s board of directors.
Impeachment of the KPE director
Auni Ahsan, director for Victoria College, moved to impeach Earnest Manalo, director for the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education on the grounds that he has not been fulfilling his duties as a director. Ahsan alleged that Manalo has yet to hold office hours, attend a meeting of the Board of Directors, join a committee or commission, or inform his membership of the union’s activities.
When the motion came to be discussed, Manalo explained that he was working two full-time jobs during the summer; that he was undergoing medical treatment, and that he had not had access to his UTSU email address. Ahsan later withdrew his motion to impeach Manalo.
Board of Directors structure proposal endorsement
Plan B, a proposal to restructure the board, was moved by arts & science at-large director Khrystyna Zhuk and seconded by Daman Singh, University College director. Natalie Petra, the mover of an alternate board restructuring proposal, withdrew her motion when elements of her proposal were incorporated into Plan B.
Ben Coleman, UTSU president, moved the motion to endorse Plan B on the grounds that it has the majority of colleges and faculties on board, that it retains the autonomy of colleges, faculties, and UTM, and that it ensures representation for marginalized students.
Several directors, including Ryan Hume of University College, Hashim Yussuf of UTM, and Steve Warner of Victoria College, voiced their opposition of the proposal, citing fairness among their reasons not to endorse.
Grayce Slobodian, UTSU orientation coordinator and former vice-president external, is the mover of the competing board proposal to be discussed at the Annual General Meeting. She said that it would be inappropriate for the board to endorse one proposal over another.
The motion to endorse Plan B passed, and the AGM will be held on October 7.
Letters of support
The UTSU voted to send a letter to the Chiefs and the Wet’suwet’en People of the Unist’ot’en Camp, who are opposing companies wishing to build oil and gas lines on their territory. The letter states that the UTSU has pledged to hold a solidarity action in support of their right to self-determination.
The board discussed the suitability of the union getting involved in ‘political’ issues, a discussion that came up earlier this summer with the announcement of a motion in favour of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel set for the Special General Meeting later this year.
A letter calling on the Federal Government to accept more refugees also passed.
With files from Tom Yun.