Three members of the UTSU Executive Committee and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) Designate have denounced the conduct of the four other Executive Committee members regarding the release of a statement in support of decertification from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), which was released last week.
Vice-President Campus Life Shahin Imtiaz, Vice-President Equity Farah Noori, Vice-President University Affairs Cassandra Williams, and UTMSU Designate Jackie Zhao released a statement Wednesday calling the CFS decertification statement a “brazen abuse of power” by the other executive members.
The original statement was signed by UTSU President Jasmine Wong Denike, Vice-President Internal Mathias Memmel, Vice-President External Matthew Thomas, and Vice-President Professional Faculties Ryan Gomes.
Imtiaz, Noori, Williams, and Zhao wrote that the statement on CFS decertification had been written and shown to a small cohort of executives, “with the understanding that the statement would be released pending approval from the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors if events at the OGM [Ontario General Meeting] were seen as unfavourable.”
Their statement goes on: “What actually occurred subsequent to the OGM was that some members of the Executive, without any prior consultation, were instructed that UTSU would be releasing that statement on the CFS, which we had never seen before, irrespective of our own thoughts on the matter.”
The authors, who signed their statement as “The other half of the UTSU Executive Committee,” did not take a position on CFS membership, but stated that they were “against corruption.”
Thomas told The Varsity Thursday that the statement supporting CFS decertification was prepared by him ahead of the OGM and circulated among the UTSU executive, at which point Noori declined to sign, Imtiaz did not respond, and Williams “alleged that the UTSU has never engaged with the CFS in good faith, which is false and offensive.”
Thomas added that the statement was sent to the board of directors of the UTSU before it was released.
“The elected members of the UTSU can and do issue statements on behalf of the UTSU,” Thomas said, adding that the statement he penned was on behalf of Local 98, which does not include UTM.
He also expressed skepticism that Wednesday’s statement was not suggestive of a position on the CFS: “The suggestion that this counter-statement isn’t indicative of a stance, at least on the part of some of the signatories, on the CFS is absurd,” he said.
This story is developing, more to follow.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect a correction made to the statement by Imtiaz, Noori, Williams, and Zhao. The previous statement referred to the NGM (National General Meeting) where it should have referred to the Ontario General Meeting.