Transparency, a Canadian flag, and a stop to “self-righteous political correctness.” These are the beliefs of the Scarborough Campus’ Union Reform Club (SCU Reform), an emerging student movement against the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU).
Formed in early September 2018, SCU Reform is now a club recognized under Ulife and is comprised of an unknown number of students who want to change the culture of the SCSU.
SCU Reform President Anup Atwal, a fourth-year student, said that up to 300 students could be in his club. The Varsity was unable to verify that number.
SCU Reform claims that the SCSU lacks transparency on budgets, is not upfront about issues, and is not accessible.
In an email to The Varsity, the SCSU wrote that it “welcomes… and encourages students to become engaged in proposing new ideas for the upcoming year,” and that it “relies on member engagement to ensure that the diverse and ever-changing needs of students continue to be attended to, as [they] advocate for them to be met.”
The SCSU also noted that it is planning to change its outreach tactics to a more “on-the-ground” member engagement. It is hoping to better inform students about the SCSU’s services, campaigns, and events.
The SCU Reform website highlights that, while it does not want to end the SCSU, it also does not want UTSC students to be “tainted” with “petty identity politics” and “never-ending controversy.”
“My battle is not with any individual director or executive,” said Atwal. “It’s about the structure of the institution and [SCSU] not caring [about the student body].”
Atwal said that the ultimate goal of SCU Reform is to get more students engaged in student elections, to force the union to listen to them, and to discourage voter apathy.
“Voter apathy leads to this… bottleneck effect in which you have a small cluster of ideas operating on a $1.1 million budget.” He added that, of “13,500 students, less than 2,000 voted. That’s not acceptable.”
According to its website, dedicated SCU Reform members study SCSU documents, such as Board of Director packages and the SCSU Constitution and Bylaws. They also discuss ways to change the union.
In the works is an account of the 2018 SCSU elections and the controversies surrounding it.
Three candidates ran to head the SCSU in 2018. Nicole Brayiannis, the current president; Deena Hassan, who was disqualified twice; and Ray Alibux. Alibux is now a member of SCU Reform.
“The reason I joined SCU Reform was because I wanted to see more transparency within how the SCSU was being run,” wrote Alibux to The Varsity.
He complained about the lack of transparency when he entered the elections for the first time. “They don’t lay out anything. If you want to enter the system, you have to already be part of the system.”
The SCSU said that, this term, it has organized the “biggest Frosh available at UTSC.” They are also “looking forward to” opening the Chatime in the Student Centre, hosting a Mayoral Transit Debate, and campaigning for a more accessible education.