The Toronto School of Theology Graduate Students’ Association (TGSA) will hold a referendum to decide on whether or not to leave the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) for the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU).
A ‘yes’ vote on a referendum would withdraw the TGSA from the UTSU; joining the UTGSU would be a separate process.
At a February 24 meeting, the UTSU Board of Directors passed a motion to approve the TGSA referendum. The TGSA is the only graduate student association whose members are also members of the UTSU — all other graduate student associations are a part of the UTGSU.
“Earlier this year, the TST graduate students expressed interest in leaving the UTSU for the UTGSU. We don’t represent graduate students, so we decided to allow a referendum,” UTSU President Mathias Memmel told The Varsity. The referendum also requires that the UTGSU confirm its acceptance of TGSA members by March 9.
The UTGSU represents over 18,000 students across 115 different departments. Their work consists of lobbying national and provincial issues on behalf of the students, holding community building events and campaigns. Like the UTSU, they offer various services such as health and dental insurance, advice, grants and bursaries, and access to a workout space.
U of T policy requires every student to be a member of one of the four representative student committees: the UTSU, UTGSU, Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students, or Scarborough Campus Students’ Union.
Should the referendum pass, the TGSA would withdraw from the UTSU, including the UTSU Health and Dental Plan. This plan includes health and dental, vision care, and travel insurance. It also allows students to add spouses or financially dependent children for an additional fee.
Currently, the Toronto School of Theology enrols approximately 40 graduate students. Memmel said that undergraduate theology students do not need to worry about this change. “They won’t be affected by any of this,” he said.
Editor’s Note (March 5): A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the UTMSU as a representative student committee. It is not.