Seventeen of the 51 sitting members of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors have missed enough board meetings to effectively abandon office, according to new attendance records supplied by UTSU executives. One director who effectively abandoned office later officially resigned and was replaced by another, who subsequently also abandoned office, bringing the total to 18. There are 57 positions on the board, six of which are currently vacant.
According to Section 2 of the union’s Bylaw X, a Division I or II director “shall be deemed to have delivered their resignation, confirmed by a simple majority vote of the Board” whenever said member has failed to send regrets for two missed meetings, failed to attend three consecutive meetings or any four meetings regardless of sent regrets, or failed to attend any three committee meetings.
In December 2017, The Varsity reported that 29 per cent of sitting members had missed enough meetings to effectively abandon office. That number has risen by four per cent.
Division I and II directors include everyone except University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union directors, General Equity Directors (GED), and members of the UTSU executive. At least one of the resignation conditions outlined in the bylaw has been met by 17 sitting board members, constituting exactly one third of all sitting directors.
The records show that New College Director Chengye Yang, St. Michael’s College Directors Myron Atta-Mensah and Garnet Ryu, Trinity College Director Nish Chankar, University College Director Anushka Kurian, Woodsworth College Directors Sara Zamani and Justin Zelnicker, At-Large Director Stephanie Hovdestad, Faculty of Dentistry Director Joanna Man, Faculty of Pharmacy Director Jakov Krezic, Computer Science Director Lisa Guo, Rotman Commerce Director Kevin Wang, and Transitional Year Program Director Osman Osman, who have all effectively abandoned office, have not been replaced. Only Faculty of Music Director Rebekah Tam, who abandoned office and later officially resigned, was replaced by Victor Cheng.
However, Cheng is among four Division I and II Directors who have abandoned office since The Varsity’s last analysis, along with University College Director Kshemani Constantinescu, Social Sciences Director Amanda Harvey-Sánchez, and Faculty of Law Director Aidan Fishman.
The Varsity’s attendance calculations are based on the UTSU’s attendance record spreadsheet. It includes board meeting attendance at 10 scheduled meetings and the Annual General Meeting.
More than half of the Division I and II Directors who have officially resigned have been replaced. Danja Papajani and Andrew Sweeny, former Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering Directors, have been replaced by Jeff Dryden and Aron Sankar. However, neither former University College Director Aidan Swirsky nor former Mathematical & Physical Science Director Wilson Wu have been replaced.
There have also been two newly elected Division I and II Directors: New College Director Sharon Ma and Emma Campisi, representing the Faculty of Kinesiology. Neither were elected as the result of a resignation or abandonment.
Of the non-Division I and II members of the Board of Directors, Vice-President University Affairs Carina Zhang was replaced by Adrian Huntelar, and Vice-President Campus Life Stuart Norton was replaced by Ammara Wasim. Of the three GED positions left vacant by Huntelar, Gaby Garcia Casanova, and Ted Williamson, only one has been filled by June Marston. The status of the other two formally vacated is unclear. “I believe there are others, who simply have not attended any meetings yet,” wrote UTSU Board of Directors Speaker Billy Graydon in an email to The Varsity.
Attendance at the board meetings continues to be low. Since The Varsity’s last analysis of board attendance, there have been four meetings: November 25, January 26, February 11, and February 24. Attendance prior to those meetings was, on average, 55 per cent; since then, the average attendance for the most recent four meetings has been 49 per cent.
*Adrian Huntelar resigned as a GED when he became VP University Affairs. He has since not been replaced as a GED, which is why he’s represented twice here.
**A good attendance record is defined as either not being in violation of Bylaw X, or having missed less than five meetings but not being subject to Bylaw X.
Editor’s Note (March 16): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Max Xi, Emma Campisi, and Sharon Max were appointed to their positions. They were in fact elected.