During the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting on January 23, members voted on motions involving student fees, and Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Winter General Meeting (WGM) quorum. The board also talked about providing anti-Semitism training to executives following suggestions from members of Jewish Student Life.
The board also discussed finances. The SCSU’s December 2020 income statement reported that the SCSU made $192,902.63 in revenue and spent $234,757.45, making the group’s net loss $41,854.82. The SCSU’s largest expense was $127,500 for subsidiaries, which are companies held under the SCSU, including Rex’s Den.
Student society fee adjustments and quorum
One of the first motions that the board passed at the meeting was ensuring that all SCSU society and Student Centre fees remain unaltered for the 2021–2022 academic year to ease the financial burden for students. UTSC could have increased its fees, which have been approved to increase every year in accordance with the cost of living, but it voted not to. The cost of living is defined by the Consumer Price Index.
The current student society fees are $27.98 per session for full-time students and $1.73 per session for part-time students. Student Centre fees are $41.68 per session for full-time students and $12.48 for part-time students.
In the January BOD meeting package, the SCSU cited COVID-19 as being an influencing factor in the decision to leave fees unchanged, writing that the pandemic “has exacerbated the financial burden UTSC students face.”
By passing the motion, board members also voted to continue the World University Students of Canada program fee. “We use that fee to support refugee students with any financial [insecurity] that they have,” SCSU President Sarah Mohamed explained when motivating the motion.
Finally, board members approved the AGM and WGM Quorum Act, which proposed that every director of the SCSU collect 25 proxies for the AGM and WGM.
The BOD package described that, “[in] the past, the Union has dealt with situations were [sic] general meetings could not be conducted due to the lack of quorum.”
During the meeting, Kanitha Uthayakumar, SCSU Vice-President Equity, proposed providing anti-Semitism training to all SCSU board members. Uthayakumar said that the idea was originally brought to her attention by members of Jewish Student Life at UTSC.
“[The SCSU is] going to be in contact with folks from Jewish Student Life and provide possibly a motion for the February board meeting,” Uthayakumar said.
The SCSU voted to reaffirm its commitment to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at its AGM in November. The BDS movement aims to pressure Israel into changing its policies toward Palestine through boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Critics of the movement characterize BDS as anti-Semitic, while proponents distinguish their criticism of the Israeli government from discrimination against Jewish people.
The motion was met with resistance from the co-presidents of Jewish Student Life at UTSC, who claimed at the meeting that the motion to reaffirm commitment to BDS was “silencing the voices of another group and blatantly ignoring critical facts and context.”
In a statement to The Varsity, Jewish Student Life at UTSC Co-President Yardena Rosenblum wrote: “It is evident to those who have experienced antisemitism on campus that the SCSU is not adequately meeting our concerns. In order for [the] SCSU to work towards improving this atmosphere, Jewish students at UTSC urge SCSU to take further equity training in order to represent the entire student body.”
The SCSU did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment.