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TCM approves multi-faith prayer and meditation space, mandates EQC equity training

Chair acknowledges privacy breach at past meeting
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The Trinity College Meeting held its eighth meeting on March 15. HAYDEN MAK/THE VARSITY
The Trinity College Meeting held its eighth meeting on March 15. HAYDEN MAK/THE VARSITY

The Trinity College Meeting (TCM), Trinity College’s student governance body, held its eighth meeting of the 2020–2021 academic year on March 15. Members approved a proposal for a multi-faith prayer and meditation centre at the college, and passed a constitutional amendment requiring all Equity Committee (EQC) members to attend at least one equity and diversity training session per academic year. 

At the next meeting, members will be voting on a sweeping motion to abolish the six head positions and replace them with an executive council comprised of one president and 10 vice-presidents.  

Privacy breach

At the beginning of the meeting, TCM Chair Anjali Gandhi acknowledged a privacy breach at a previous meeting. In a post to the Trinity College Meeting 2020–2021 Facebook group, Gandhi wrote, “An unidentified individual with moderator access during meetings, either as the privilege of being an elected TCM Exec member or an Administrative Work-Study Student, viewed and shared private information on how a student voted.”

However, she went on to write, “We have strong reason to believe that the TCM Exec did not conduct the act, but if anyone has any evidence, we ask that you bring it forward.” 

The TCM currently conducts all meetings on Blackboard Collaborate, and votes are carried out using the poll function. Only TCM executives and other site moderators have access to how members vote. 

TCM executives have notified Dean of Students Kristen Moore of the breach, and the Dean of Students Office will be conducting a formal investigation. The Dean of Students Office has revoked moderator privileges from certain individuals, according to Gandhi. 

The Varsity has reached out to the Office of the Dean of Students for comment.

Multi-faith prayer and meditation space approved

TCM members voted to establish the first multi-faith prayer and meditation space at the college. The project was proposed by second-year student Dania Kassim and passed unanimously with three abstentions. 

According to the proposal, the space will be created by refurbishing an existing room. It will have a “minimalist style to ensure inclusivity to the diverse belief systems,” but will be fitted with prayer and yoga mats. The project will cost $15,000 and is expected to be completed by the end of August.

“Having a multi-faith prayer and meditation room would help make Trin so much more inclusive and allow people — no matter their backgrounds, their beliefs, [or] their faith systems — to…  ground themselves [and] maintain their mental well-being in whatever way they see fit, whether that be through meditation or through prayer,” Kassim said at the meeting.

“The heart and soul of this project is to accommodate as many people as possible and make [Trinity College] as inclusive as possible.”

Mandatory equity and diversity training for Equity Committee members

TCM members also unanimously approved a constitutional amendment making it mandatory for all new EQC members to complete at least one equity and diversity training session each academic year. The motion was brought forward by EQC Chair Dylan Alfi and was seconded by Tourang Movahedi, a member of the committee. 

The policy requires the EQC co-chairs to organize at least two equity and diversity training sessions each year. It also increases the number of mandatory committee meetings in each academic year from four to eight. 

“We wanted to make sure future Equity [Committee] chairs and equity committees are being held to a higher standard of expectations because we believe equity to be a very central and important concept to everything we do as a college, and as a community,” said Alfi. 

Head of Non-Resident Affairs Cindy Lui supported the motion, but asked about the repercussions for failure to attend a training session. Alfi said that if members failed to attend at least one of the two training sessions provided, the onus would be on the committee co-chairs to hold the member accountable. But if the co-chairs do not organize at least two training sessions, they may be impeached, according to Alfi. 

Since the motion is a constitutional amendment, it will need to be ratified again at the next TCM meeting. 

Other constitutional amendments, student levies approved

In addition to the EQC amendment, TCM members also voted for 10 other constitutional amendments. The amendments were proposed by the Constitutional Review Committee and are meant to “reflect current practices or improve clarity.” They will need to be passed again at the next meeting to be formally ratified.

Members also approved the student levies for the 2021–2022 year, which fund various student societies, publications, services, and governance bodies at the college. The motion had previously been approved by the Finance Committee.

Fees for a majority of categories are decreasing, including the heads fee, the TCM general fund, and the Trinity College Drama Society fee. Total fees are expected to decrease next academic year from $74.99 to $45.50.