Lynne Alexandrova, a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), held the role of internal commissioner on the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) for seven months in 2018.
“In 2018, what I thought of as commendable was, instead, met with mistrust and blocked by the more influential co-executives,” Alexandrova explained in regard to initiatives that did not get implemented to enhance its accessibility.
These initiatives, which Alexandrova plans on building upon, include a tri-campus symposium for graduate students instead of a lottery bursary, as well as upgrades to the building that houses the UTGSU.
In addition, Alexandrova sees fault with the UTGSU’s decision to end the memorandum of agreement with the OISE Graduate Students’ Association, highlighting the report by the Ad-Hoc Course Union Investigation Committee, which found 20 constitutional violations in the association’s April 2019 elections, “amounted to misrepresentation.”
Sophie Bourret-Klein is a master’s student in the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE and the graduate coordinator for the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at OISE.
“I will bring strong leadership, organization and community building skills to the role of Internal Commissioner as I believe in a transparent student union with a diverse student body that will bring meaning and actionable change to the University of Toronto,” wrote Bourret-Klein in her candidate statement.
The Varsity has reached out to Bourret-Klein for comment.
Adam Hill, a PhD student at OISE specializing in curriculum and pedagogy is the current UTGSU internal commissioner and is running for re-election for the coming academic year.
“I wanted to ensure continuity,” Hill explained, noting that only one other current executive is running for re-election.
As far as the UTGSU’s handling of issues that arose in the past year, including the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) — the provincial mandate that allowed students to opt out of fees that were considered “non-essential” — Hill believes “it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Hill elaborated that the SCI created a lot of unknowns for the UTGSU. However, he said that he was proud that the SCI was quashed in court and of the role that the UTGSU played as intervenors in the case.
Some of Hill’s goals should he be re-elected are to bring as many dormant course unions as possible into the UTGSU, as well as every OISE graduate unit.