SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

Arjun Kaul is a fifth-year Neuroscience, Cell & Molecular Biology, and English student running uncontested to be Vice-President Operations.

Kaul has been involved with administrative affairs and communications at the U of T United Nations Society, the Secondary School Interactive Crisis Simulation, the Neuroscience Association for Undergraduate Students, and U of T’s team in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition.

Kaul plans on restructuring the UTSU’s bylaws and finances amid provincial cuts to postsecondary education, specifically keeping in mind the impacts of the Student Choice Initiative on union resources.

The Student Choice Initiative is the provincial government’s mandate for an opt-out option for certain student fees starting September.

“We are going to need to scale something back in order to… project what we have and… make sure the projects that we have currently in development go forward,” he said.

Kaul specifically plans to scale back certain programs and initiatives, such as orientation, to compensate for the loss of funding..  

When asked why he would cut orientation costs, Kaul said that this is because the UTSU does not play a major role in each college’s orientations. Instead, he wants to prioritize “essential” student services such as student aid and the health and dental plan.

Kaul also wants to create a sense of transparency within the UTSU’s bylaws, publish detailed meeting minutes on time, and make the elections process accessible to the student body, referring to the nomination period. He also wants to rewrite the bylaws in order to make them “flexible” around the UTSU’s needs.

When prompted on the issue of the Student Commons, Kaul said that it is a “moot point” by now since the plans have already been in place for a decade.

“If someone wanted to radically restructure the way that the Student Commons is being built, that was a problem for five years ago.”

On the problem of historically low board attendance, he believes that forcing resignations through the union’s Bylaw X should not be the first course of action in encouraging attendance. Instead, he proposed having meetings at more accessible times or holding multiple sittings.

Disclosure: Kaul is a staff writer for The Varsity.

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