Within an hour and a half, three motions were approved and executive reports were made at the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) November 16. The meeting was held in the Social Sciences building with approximately 50 students in attendance.
Following an equity statement that included a land acknowledgement, SCSU President Jessica Kirk gave brief introductory remarks on the status of SCSU. The appointment of Yale and Partners as external auditors for the current fiscal year, finishing on April 30, passed shortly thereafter.
Executive reports were then conducted whereby each executive member of the SCSU team described the projects they are currently working on.
SCSU Vice-President Operations Yasmin Rajabi discussed various initiatives including a potential food bank and student-café Rex’s Den as a food and study-friendly space.
“It’s a student space, run by students, for students,” she said.
A popular component of Rajabi’s report was a discussion regarding an insufficient number of operational microwaves on campus.
Students spoke on a variety of campus issues during the question and answer session following the executive reports. A lengthy discussion regarding the microwave situation at UTSC ensued.
Kirk responded to these student inquiries: “Students are scrambling around looking for places to charge their laptop and phones as well. If we are to implement more microwaves, we also have to consider where the outlets will come from.”
Rajabi also responded to the concerns raised, conducting an informal vote by hands that asked the audience if they would prefer two microwaves in one location or the microwaves to be spread out; a majority voted for the latter.
Another popular discussion was about the lack of study spaces on campus, which was prompted by inquiries from multiple students, with the consensus being that more study-space options should be implemented.
Both Kirk and Vice-President Academics and University Affairs Thomas Wood suggested that students participate in an upcoming Study Space forum that will be hosted by SCSU. Wood also added, “Once Highland Hall is completed, there’s going to be a whole bunch of brand new study spaces as a long-term solution.”
There were two motions amending bylaws and a single motion submitted by UTSC student group Caribbean Connections. The first motion concerned Rajabi’s role and recommended that the Vice-President, Operations should have a vote in the elections for Board of Directors meetings. Currently, the Vice-President Operations and the Vice-President Campus Life are appointed positions and non-voting members of the Board of Directors.
Kirk briefly motivated for the motion, arguing that it will increase accountability and provide more agency for the Vice-President, Operations. This motion was approved with no further debate or discussion from students.
The second motion, concerning commissions, also passed without any contention. Vice-President Equity Nafisa Mohammed moved for an updated and amended commissions bylaw. These updates include changing the frequency of meetings from three times a month to once a month and allowing students to automatically become voting members if they attend one meeting. Mohammed said that this change is an attempt to increase accessibility for students.
The only motion submitted by the union’s general membership was from the group Caribbean Connections. It asked SCSU to donate $500 to a Haitian-led organization helping with relief following Hurricane Matthew last month and endorse a campaign led by Caribbean Connections called Hope for Haiti.
Kirk spoke in favour of the motion and said that SCSU designated an amount of money as a donation. With regards to affordability, Kirk said, “We definitely can [do it], this isn’t something that is out of the ordinary or out of range.”
She continued, “I think it’s really important for us to support and give back to, not only local communities, but to global communities that are impacted by things like natural disasters.”
A student asked Caribbean Connections member Dominic Stephens where the money would be going and if UTSC students can receive a report on the progress of the initiative once the money is donated. Stephens responded saying that there has been significant controversy with Red Cross, so Caribbean Connections is in the process of finding an organization to give the donations to.
The motion carried and the AGM was adjourned soon after.