The UTMSU’s October Board of Directors (BOD) meeting took place on October 28 and November 1. At the meeting, the BOD ratified the fall by-election results, appointed new directors to committees, heard executive reports on the union’s October events and current initiatives, and introduced upcoming events and initiatives across campus. 

By-election results

At the October BOD meeting, the UTMSU ratified by-election results for division directors. Every fall, the UTMSU holds by-elections to appoint two first-year representatives as Division 1 Directors, two part-time representatives as Division 3 Directors, and one Division 4 Director to represent the Mississauga Academy of Medicine. The by-election ran from September 19 to October 5.

Out of six candidates, students elected Arnav Nagzirkar and Tham Paweewan to represent Division 1. Chidalu Edchi ran uncontested to represent Division 4, and no part-time students ran to represent Division 3. 

Of the 318 votes cast, Paweewan received 27 per cent and Nagzirkar gained just under 24 per cent, a total of 87 and 76 votes for each candidate, respectively. Although every UTMSU member is eligible to vote in by-elections, only 16 students voted for Division 4 candidate Edchi. 

As per the UTMSU’s bylaws, the BOD approved the destruction of ballots, but students can still view election results online

Currently, three students represent Division 1, 11 represent Division 2, and one represents Division 4. No students represent Division 3. 

Appointment of committees

After the BOD ratified the election results, the new directors became eligible to join the UTMSU’s wide array of committees. 

The BOD appointed Niguel Walker as the Executive Review Committee’s Chair. Nagzirkar, Paweewan, and Eddy Zhang all joined the budget committee, while the Policy and Procedures Committee gained members Cyrus Mena, Annie Bhaskar, and Nagzirkar. The BOD also elected Walker, Mohammed Safwan Zahid, Edechi, and Paweewan to the Organizational Development and Services Committee; Nagzirkar and Zahid to the Green Grants Committee; Robert Le, Zinah Alsleman and Nagsirkar to the Bursary Committee; Bhaskar, Alsleman and Mena to the Elections and Referenda Committee; and Charlotte Wang, Le, Zahid, and Paweewan to the Clubs Committee. 

Executive reports

At the meeting, the UTMSU’s president and vice presidents presented reports detailing the work they have been doing and highlighted upcoming events and initiatives. 

Suraqa Noor, vice-president university affairs, reflected on academic advocacy and noted that the UTMSU’s “lobby week” will occur during the winter semester. 

According to Noor, the UTMSU met with Amrita Daniere, interim vice-principal, academic and dean, to call on the university to extend the credit/no credit period. Noor explained that they decided to lobby for this change because “a lot of students have raised concerns about how the credit/no credit deadline is on the last day of classes, which does not really give them much time to decide on whether it is feasible to credit no/credit the course given that they still have an exam left.”

Noor is also working with the Study Room Working Group and the Dean of Student Affairs, Mark Overton, to address the lack of individual and group study spaces on campus. 

Fatima Yakubi, vice-president student life, highlighted UTMSU’s Hallo-week activities, including its first pub night since 2019. 

UTMSU President Maëlis Barre, highlighted events that the UTMSU ran during October, including a banner drop on October 24 in the Davis building. The banner drop was part of the union’s “Education For All” campaign, which focuses on reducing university tuition fees, especially for international students. 

Barre and Reagan Roopnarine, vice-president equity, both sit on the UTMSU’s food advisory committee. According to Barre, they are currently lobbying UTM to lower food prices and provide services “that are diverse and accessible for students.” 

The UTMSU is also reviewing U of T’s sexual violence and sexual harassment policy. “As it stands, [the policy is] not survivor-centric,” said Barre. The UTMSU was present at the “Too Little Too Late” Protest held by the Prevention, Empowerment, Advocacy Response for Survivors project in September, which condemned U of T’s acceptance of the sexual violence policy review recommendations. 

Upcoming events

The UTMSU’s Annual General Meeting will be held on November 24. Other upcoming UTMSU events include Job Readiness Support Program events, Audit Training for Campus Groups, and Multicultural Week. In addition, the UTMSU’s professional headshot service is slated to restart in November. 

The agenda for the BOD meeting included the presentation and approval of the UTMSU’s audited financial statements. The UTMSU did not receive the statements from the financial auditors by the meeting time; the statements will be presented at a later date. 

The November BOD meeting is tentatively scheduled for Friday, November 18.