UTM closing at 5:00 pm

Classes or events that start before 5:00 pm will end at 5:00 pm

UTM closing at 5:00 pm

Due to severe weather conditions, UTM will be closing at 5:00 pm today.

An email announcement was sent out to students shortly after 3:00 pm. All UTM classes, tutorials, labs, tests, meetings, and other on-campus activities are cancelled.

In addition, classes or events that start before 5:00 pm will end at 5:00 pm.

Shuttle buses between UTM and Sheridan College are also cancelled, as are all School of Continuing Studies classes.

This marks the fourth time the campus has been closed this year. UTSC and UTSG remain open.

Bazaar By The Varsity: INFAMY 2

Bazaar By The Varsity: INFAMY PART 1

Blues women sweep rival York Lions in straight sets

Alina Dormann posts a game-high 13 kills and eight digs

Blues women sweep rival York Lions in straight sets

On Friday, the Varsity Blues women’s volleyball team, ranked eighth nationally, swept the York Lions 30 to extend their winning streak to five. Having not dropped a set since February 1, the Blues continued their dominance in a swift three-set sweep at Kimel Family Field House in the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.

Both the Blues and Lions came out strong offensively throughout the first set. Featuring short rallies from both sides, neither team was able to establish a lead beyond three points in the back-and-forth affair early on.

However, strong serving from the Blues allowed the team to distance themselves and establish a quick lead at 1610. Service aces from All-Canadian right-side hitter Alina Dormann and third-year left-side hitter Brianna Patrick, coupled with kills from second-year middle Jenna Woock, closed out the first set 2519.

York came out swinging in the second set, with kills from Lions’ outside hitters Sarah Williams and Olivia Kim pushing York ahead early with an eight-point lead.

Trailing at 157, the Blues made a key substitution that saw second-year setter Rayn Perry step onto court. Immediately, Perry threw York’s defense off guard with a deceptive dump, and her chemistry with middle hitter Woock quickly shifted the momentum.

The Blues came alive with an explosive 141 run, with impressive kills coming from Dormann and fifth-year veteran Anna Feore. Fourth-year middle hitter Anna Licht led with a game-high five blocks, as the Blues’ outstanding defense in the second set held the Lions to a poor .059 hitting percentage.

Pouring in tough serves after tough serves, the Blues capitalized on the stumbling Lions, who were unable to set up plays with their faulty first touches. Riding on momentum, the Blues managed to make a comeback, with another dump from Perry capping off the second set at 2520.

The third and decisive set saw the return of second-year setter Hayley Goodwin and featured multiple intense rallies. The Blues continued to execute well-practiced plays and displayed their tireless defensive work ethic, carving out an 1812 lead. Deadly swings by Dormann and back-to-back blocks posted by Woock and Licht proved too strong for the Lions, forcing two timeouts by York in the third.

Despite York’s efforts to regroup, the Blues easily took a 71 run to win the set at 2516 and close out the match.

Anna Feore led the game with an outstanding 0.526 hitting percentage in her 10-kill performance.

Alina Dormann continues to dominate the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference in her fourth season, as she posted a game-high with 13 kills, which put her atop the leaderboard for most kills in the OUA at 251 and the highest hitting percentage of the OUA at 3.92 kills per set. Dormann is making a strong case for herself to be the frontrunner of the OUA Most Valuable Player award and is poised to win the award for the second year in a row.

With the win against York, the Blues sit in second place of the OUA’s East Division. Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Blues can look forward to their hunt for the OUA title.

Graduate Students’ Union elections voting begins today

Four executives running for re-election

Graduate Students’ Union elections voting begins today

The 2019 election period of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) has begun.

Four current executives are running for re-election to their positions. Branden Rizzuto, Christopher Ball, Sophie McGibbon-Gardner, and Leonardo José Uribe Castano are running for Finance, Academics & Funding Divisions 1 & 2, Academics & Funding Divisions 3 & 4, and Civics & Environment Commissioner, respectively. Castano’s position is uncontested.

Executive-at-Large Maryssa Barras, who took up the duties of Internal Commissioner after the previous officeholder, Lynne Alexandrova, was pushed out of her position in November, is running for External Commissioner against first-year Social Justice Education (SJE) PhD student Jacqui Spencer.

Alexandrova is running for University Governance Commissioner against Lwanga Musisi, a second-year SJE PhD student.

Running against Rizzuto are Kim Borden Penney, an SJE doctoral student and former financial professional, and Julie Marocha, who has served as the President, Vice-President Membership, and Events Coordinator of the Toastmasters International Toronto Engineering Club of Speakers.

For Academics & Funding Commissioner Divisions 1 & 2, Ball is running against Jarir Machmine and Norin Taj, a PhD candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Vice-Chair of the UTGSU Equity and Advocacy Committee.

Gurdeep Singh, a PhD student in Cell and Systems Biology and the former co-president of the Cell and Systems Biology Graduate Union, is running for Academics & Funding Commissioner Divisions 3 & 4 against McGibbon-Gardner.

Two candidates are facing off for Internal Commissioner — Sevgi Arslan, a second-year SJE PhD student and former Ontario Public Interest Research Group Treasurer, and Adam Hill, a second-year PhD student who used to serve on the Society of Graduate Students and the Education Students’ Council of Western University.

The UTGSU represents more than 18,000 graduate students across all three campuses at U of T.

Voting will be exclusively online, and will take place from February 27 to March 5 at simplyvoting.com. Candidate statements can be found on the UTGSU’s website.

SCSU board refuses to ratify newly-elected Vice-President Operations Rayyan Alibux

Concerns stem from Alibux’s comments during elections, position is now vacant

SCSU board refuses to ratify newly-elected Vice-President Operations Rayyan Alibux

In an unexpected move, the Board of Directors of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) voted against ratifying newly-elected 2019–2020 Vice-President Operations Rayyan Alibux on Tuesday, based on concerns over private comments made during the election.

Following the recent SCSU elections, which concluded on February 7, the SCSU board was supposed to ratify all of the incoming Board of Directors in one motion. However, Director of Sociology Theresa Louise Lagman motioned to separate votes on the executives to allow for individual discussions.

Director of Physical and Environmental Sciences Zakia Fahmida Taj challenged the motion to ratify Alibux, citing an article from The Underground, in which Alibux is identified as writing, “I hope this chat is never leaked,” in a group chat in response to apparent “transphobic comments.”

“I have had students come up and tell me [after the article was published]… they [had] already voted them, [but] they would change it if they could go back to it,” said Taj.

Alibux told The Varsity that since he lives 25 minutes away from UTSC, he was unable to show up to the meeting in person or in time to present his case.

Newly-elected Vice-President Equity and Alibux’s slate-mate Tebat Kadhem was present at the meeting and asked the chair, Caitlin Campisi, whether Alibux could speak for himself over the phone. 

“I’m going to say no,” said Campisi. “We’re not going to allow folks who are not board members to phone in to a meeting they’re not formally a part of.”

In a later email to The Varsity, Alibux wrote that the SCSU never gave him notice about the ratification in advance, though, according to Alibux, the SCSU claimed that it had but would not provide evidence to him.

At the end of the discussion, Lagman proposed that the board vote on Alibux’s ratification by secret ballot.

Campisi confirmed that this was allowed since there has apparently been precedent for it.

The results of the secret ballot were five against Alibux’s ratification, two in favour, and two abstentions, meaning that the motion to ratify Alibux failed.

In an email to The Varsity, SCSU President Nicole Brayiannis wrote, “When there is a contentious debate, it falls within SCSU’s bylaws and processes to call for a secret ballot.” Brayiannis referred to Robert’s Rules of Order, which governs how board meetings are held and allows for secret ballots.

She added that it was not about “withholding insight” from the public, but rather a recognition of the sensitivity of the topic.

“Therefore, to be considerate of personal circumstances, I called for a secret ballot to ensure that folks would be able to cast their vote in a safe and comfortable manner.”

A student present at the meeting asked, “Why [are] the current Board of Directors… voting to… ratify the individuals elected by the student body?”

Campisi replied that, according to the Elections Procedures Code, candidates cannot be deemed elected until they have been ratified by the board.

The code states that “the Board, at its discretion, may refuse to ratify any singular Director or Executive office election, upon the recommendation of the Elections Appeals Committee [EAC].”

The EAC’s job is to review “appeals made by candidates regarding the decisions of the Elections and Referenda Committee,” which would be on subjects such as demerit points.

However, since there were no violations posted against Alibux to be appealed, he contends that the board had “no backing” in refusing to ratify him since there was no way for it to have a received a recommendation from the EAC. He added that he did not receive word about any violations or appeals to the EAC regarding himself.

At the board meeting, another student asked what happens when a candidate does not get ratified.

According to Campisi, Alibux’s position, Vice-President Operations, will be considered vacant and an interim executive will be designated to the position until the vacancy is filled.

“Given that they ratified the [Chief Returning Officer (CRO’s)] report and I had a clear majority that was not due to vote-tampering of any sort, they have no legal grounds for refusing to ratify me, in both their own bylaws and the Not for Profit Corporations Act,” wrote Alibux to The Varsity.

The CRO Philip Scibor’s report had been earlier carried as it was presented, though there were concerns from students present about its thoroughness. The report confirms that Alibux did not receive any demerit points.

“Aside from the fact that they cannot legally refuse to ratify me when the students have voted me in, they are clearly trying to obscure the voting process,” wrote Alibux.

In her email to The Varsity, Brayiannis noted that the SCSU “is taking the current matter very seriously and is investigating next steps.”

Editor’s Note (February 27, 1:15 pm): This article has been updated with details from the CRO report after The Varsity received it from Brayiannis. 

Editor’s Note (February 28, 11:30 am): This article has been updated with comment from Brayiannis.