The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) — the union’s largest gathering of the year — will be held on October 30 in Walter Hall. The meeting is open to all UTSU members and is a chance for members to direct their questions or concerns to their union representatives. In advance of the AGM, The Varsity looks into how the meeting will be structured and how students can participate.
The UTSU’s membership includes full-time undergraduate students at the St. George and Mississauga campuses, and students in professional faculties, the Toronto School of Theology, the Transitional Year Program, and those on a Professional Experience Year Co-op.
The meeting is conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, a manual of parliamentary procedure, and will begin with a presidential address from UTSU President Anne Boucher, followed by an executive question period.
In order for the meeting to begin, a quorum has to be met with 75 members. Out of this, 50 members must be physically present while the remainder may be through proxies. A proxy vote is when a member appoints another member to act as their representative through a proxy form. The deadline for proxying a vote was October 21.
The standout item on the agenda is the endorsement of the separation of the UTSU and University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU).
Ratification of the separation can occur in one of two ways. The first is a three-quarters majority vote at a joint meeting of the UTSU and UTMSU Board of Directors and a three-quarters majority vote at the AGM between the UTSU and UTMSU board members and executives. The second is a two-thirds majority vote at a joint meeting, and a simple majority referendum across both campuses.
Also on the agenda are resolutions submitted by members, which will be introduced by Vice-President Operations Tyler Biswurm. Of note is a resolution for the UTSU to “go on record as opposing the Ontario government’s anti-democratic ‘free speech on campus’ mandate, and refuse to participate in its implementation.”
Premier Doug Ford’s requires student groups to comply with their university’s free speech policy. According to a press release on the Ontario government’s website, “institutions consider official student groups’ compliance with the policy as condition for ongoing financial support or recognition.”
If the resolution passes, the UTSU will refuse to abide by Ford’s policy after the January 1 deadline, and the Ontario government will have to determine whether U of T is violating the mandate and if provincial funding should be pulled.
Provincial funding made up 29 per cent of U of T’s operating funds last year.
Another motion proposed by a member is a discussion on amending the Elections Procedure Code of the UTSU. The amendment, which is pending approval at the general meeting, would prohibit cross-campaigning, or the ability of candidates to campaign for one another. This would eliminate slates from UTSU elections and each candidate would not be allowed to campaign for other candidates.
The AGM agenda and other information can be found on the UTSU’s website.