The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union’s (SCSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 14 focused heavily on meeting procedures, extended debates on amendments, and several equity-related motions. The six-hour meeting was also a platform for discussion on the audited financial reports from the 2017–2018 year, executive reports, and questions about space issues at UTSC.
The AGM began with welcoming remarks by Wendy Phillips, the Indigenous Elder at UTSC. She acknowledged the mishaps at the previous AGMs in the past and requested that everyone “be kind to one another” and to work with the SCSU.
SCSU President Nicole Brayiannis made the first motion for the approval of the agenda, which was uncharacteristically followed by a long debate and hostility from a few students.
Anup Atwal, President of the Scarborough Campus’ Union Reform (SCU Reform) Club, led the debate, arguing that his motions in the agenda were “heavily amended, edited, and didn’t reflect what he needed to say.” The SCU Reform Club was started this year in protest of what students saw as the SCSU’s lack of transparency, engagement, and good governance.
Atwal called for his motions to be removed, which was followed by a heated argument between him and the speaker about the legality of the bylaw committee to amend motions.
Ray Alibux, who was involved in last year’s controversial SCSU elections, tried to add another motion to the agenda, asking to remove SCSU Political Science Director Raymond Dang. However, the speaker halted his motion, claiming that it was slander.
After the agenda was approved, the AGM moved on to the auditor’s report of the 2017–2018 financial year, which was presented by Yale and Partners. The auditor’s report passed quickly, and the discussion moved on to the executive reports presented by the SCSU.
Executive reports serve as a platform to show all the work that has been done by the SCSU so far and give students a chance to address any concerns. Students asked questions about the lack of recreation rooms on campus, overcrowded study rooms, and the lack of 24-hour food options on campus.
The SCSU acknowledged that these problems existed and said that it was working with the university to find solutions.
The equity-related motions submitted by students included increased funding to the Muslim Chaplaincy and the UTSC Women and Trans Centre.
The motion for the former proposed funding $25,000 a year to the Muslim Chaplaincy, which students opposed because they said that it was not fair to favour one chaplaincy, and that funding should be the university’s responsibility.
This motion passed with extensive amendments, including striking the proposal for funding just the Muslim Chaplaincy, making provisions to open up discussions to give more support to all chaplaincies at UTSC.
The next motion, regarding changing the period for the Fall and Winter General Meetings, passed quickly with hardly any debate or opposition. This motion included presenting a revised operating budget at every meeting and including director updates in the upcoming Winter General Meeting.
Similarly, after five hours of discussion at the AGM, the Board of Directors-related motion made by Raymond Dang was directly called to question and passed quickly. This motion included the election of a Vice-President Campus Life and the introduction of one elected international student representative as a voting member on the Board of Directors.
Around 10:00 pm, the AGM finally arrived at the last motion of the day, which proposed a $7,000 donation to the UTSC Women and Trans Centre for its 2019 conference, “Making HERstory.”
Discussion was heavily focused on where the money would come from as well as what it would be used to buy.
SCSU Vice-President Equity Chemi Lhamo made an amendment to reduce the amount of funding requested by the Women and Trans Centre, as the SCSU usually has a cap of “$5,000 for all entities.”
Brayiannis agreed with her and said that “$2,500 was the most reasonable amount they could allocate to the conference.”
The amendment was passed and the contribution was decreased from $7,000 to $2,500. Subsequently, the AGM was adjourned, having run for six hours.