The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) will hold a re-run of a referendum that failed ratification in January 2013. From January 28–30, students will have a chance to vote for or against the prospect of fee increases to cover the costs of expanding the UTM Student Centre.
If passed, the motion would raise levies to $50 per semester for up to three years to cover the building’s development. Executive members of the UTMSU decided to rerun the referendum after gathering student input. The week-long campaign for the referendum kicked off this Monday.
Expanding the Student Centre is seen as a welcome addition to a campus with a robust commuting population, according to the UTMSU. In an interview with UTM’s campus newspaper, The Medium, Raymond Noronha, UTMSU president, said that priorities included multipurpose rooms and club and society offices. He also highlighted improving food and other services as key in making the Student Centre more of a student activity hub. The Student Centre was built in 1999 for a population of about 6,000 students, less than half of current enrolment.
The university has promised to match student contribution dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $2 million, for a total of $4 million towards the expansion. The student contribution has been capped at $2 million to maximize the ratio of university to student contribution.
Last year’s referendum failed ratification due to a human error attributed to then-chief returning officer Babatumi Sodade, who resigned his position over the incident. The voter list used in the referendum included students enrolled at St. George campus, who are not members of the UTMSU, and thus were ineligible to vote.
Although it was not ratified, last year’s referendum received 60 per cent support in favour of the fee increase, with an 18 per cent turnout amongst UTM students. 1,368 of 2,258 full-time students voted yes on the referendum. A minimum of five per cent turnout of the 13,000 students enrolled at the Mississauga campus will be necessary for the referendum to be deemed legitimate.
This article has been edited to reflect the following clarifications:
— the office of the vice-provost, students no longer holds the UTSU responsible for the errors that necessitated the UTMSU referendum being re-run, out of date information appeared in an previous version;
— TCard scanners cannot be loaded with information. Scanners are used as a more efficient method of entering TCard information into an online system.