On April 29, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors approved a $250,000 donation for a project to make the Medical Sciences Building entrances more accessible, as well as $50,000 for a project to digitize the union’s archives. The spending approval occurred during the final meeting of the outgoing 2017/2018 Board of Directors.
The $250,000 donation was made toward the Landmark Project, which is an initiative by U of T to beautify the St. George campus while also making it more accessible. The donation comes from the Wheelchair Accessibility Fund (WAF). WAF is bankrolled by a $1.00 per session levy collected by the UTSU to make UTSU events and services accessible.
Specifically, the UTSU wants to improve accessibility for the north and east entrances to the Medical Sciences Building. There are plans to replace the stairway entrances from King’s College Circle and from Queen’s Park with wheelchair-accessible ramps. In recognition of the donation, the new entrances will be named after the UTSU, with the current proposal being “The UTSU Welcome Path.”
At the board meeting, outgoing Vice-President Internal Daman Singh made it clear that the money for the donation is not taken from the UTSU’s operating budget, as this money “can only be used with approval from the board on capital accessibility projects.” Currently, the UTSU estimates that there is over $1.5 million in the fund.
In addition to the Landmark Project donation, the outgoing board also voted to allocate $50,000 from the WAF for the UTSU’s project to digitize its archives. These funds will go towards expenses such as hiring DOCUdavit, a document scanning and storage company. The UTSU announced on April 20 that it had been in the process of digitizing all documents from its 100-year history to be made available to the public on April 23. As of press time, the archives are not yet public.
Singh said that the UTSU is undertaking this project because “anything that the UTSU has that can be public should be public.” He added that exceptions would be made for documents relating to human resources issues, for privacy reasons.
The approval of this expenditure was the last major action taken by the outgoing Board of Directors. The new board, which met directly after the outgoing board’s meeting, approved all items on its agenda, including the transfer of signing authority, a spending authorization resolution, and the election of a finance committee composed of members of the board.
As the incoming Vice-President Internal, Tyler Biswurm described that the spending authorization resolution acts as a provisional budget in the transitional period between boards. The resolution approved $316,124.58 in spending based on the actuals of last May.