The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) held its monthly board meeting on October 24. The meeting took place on Zoom, where executives reported to the board about their municipal elections outreach and the steps they have taken to address sexual violence on campus and to revise academic policies.

The SCSU recaps its October municipal elections outreach

At the meeting, SCSU executives reported that they had participated in many events in October to encourage UTSC students to vote in Toronto’s municipal election, which was held on October 24.

Executives reported that on October 13, they and executives from the University of Toronto Students’ Union had jointly held a Toronto mayoral debate at the Student Commons on the UTSG campus. At the event, nine mayoral candidates spoke about their campaigns and addressed student issues. The SCSU also livestreamed the mayoral debate at Highland Hall for UTSC students who were unable to commute downtown.

SCSU Vice-President External Thai Dillon Higashihara coordinated the event, and wrote in the October board meeting package that the event was the “magnum opus” of the SCSU’s efforts to engage students to vote. He also attended a tri-campus roundtable about civic engagement on October 12.

Ultimately, incumbent Jennifer McKelvie won the city councillor seat for Toronto’s Ward 25 Scarborough—Rouge Park municipality, the electoral district where the UTSC campus is located, as voter turnout in Toronto’s municipal election hit a record low of around 30 per cent of eligible voters.

Advocacy activities

At the meeting, SCSU executives reported that on October 7, some of them — along with some SCSU full-time staff — had supported and attended a protest downtown titled “Too Little, Too Late.” Organized by The Prevention, Empowerment, Advocacy, Response, for Survivors Project — a U of T student-led, trauma-informed initiative supporting survivors of sexual violence — the protest sought to challenge U of T’s recent acceptance of sexual violence policy review recommendations. 

To enable UTSC students to join the protest, the SCSU offered its members PRESTO passes. At the event, SCSU President Michael Sobowale offered remarks of support and solidarity.

In an email to The Varsity, Sobowale wrote that the SCSU attended the protest because students “have the right and ability to voice their displeasure in the most appropriate avenue.” 

Sobowale also reported that, on October 3 and 21, some SCSU executives and full-time staff discussed the creation of a sexual violence survivor grant with representatives from UTSC’s Office of Student Experience & Wellbeing, Registrar’s Office, and the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre.

Vice-President Academic & University Affairs Amrith David reported that the SCSU has sent its draft course retake policy to various departments on campus. From there, the SCSU will present the policy before the UTSC’s Academic Affairs Committee (AAC). During the September AAC meeting, Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean William Gough had said that the UTSC administration would be revising its course retake policy in light of recent changes to the policy at the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) and UTM.

David also reported that the SCSU has been working on a revised credit/no credit policy. Since September, the draft of the policy has been under review at the UTSC Dean’s Office. “We have made significant improvements with both policies and we hope to have the policies passed through this year,” wrote David in the October board meeting package.

David also met with Assistant Dean Student Success and Career Support Varsha Patel to discuss a potential collaboration between the SCSU and UTSC’s Academic Advising & Career Centre to establish work study positions within the SCSU.

Annual General Meeting on November 23

The SCSU will hold its Annual General Meeting on November 23 at 4:00 pm. The AGM is held every fall semester and serves as an opportunity for general members — that is, students paying fees to the SCSU — to vote on and change the SCSU’s bylaws and policies, among others.