On November 18, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) Board of Directors (BOD) held their eighth meeting. In preparation for the union’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 24, the UTMSU moved to approve amendments to their bylaws to make them more accessible. In addition, the UTMSU voted to remove two BOD members for not attending the previous three BOD meetings, and approved the UTMSU’s 2022 financial statements.
At the meeting, the BOD preliminarily approved changes to bylaws, which must be adopted at the AGM. Maëlis Barre, president of the UTMSU, explained that they reworded their bylaws to make them more accessible and open to more individuals and groups. One proposed change would allow the individual designated to chair a meeting to pass that responsibility to another.
Barre explained that this amendment would allow executives who suddenly become unavailable to pass the duty of chair, limiting the need to reschedule meetings around certain individuals.
According to Barre, the amendments also remove the University of Toronto Students’ Union from the bylaws, since the UTMSU no longer operates under the UTSU. Another amendment changed the wording in the bylaws regarding “clubs” to “campus groups”; Barre explained that campus groups can include “clubs, academic societies and levy groups.” The UTMSU also amended the bylaws so that its BOD and committees are not required to be physically present on campus for their meetings.
According to the current bylaws, UTMSU BOD members would be deemed to have delivered resignation if they fail to attend three consecutive meetings. During the pandemic, the UTMSU introduced a limit of missed meetings that triggered resignations to ensure that BOD members weren’t penalized for missing meetings over the summer that not all members could attend. The amendments proposed by Barre would reverse this policy, allowing BOD members to deliver any resignations prior to September 1.
For these amendments to take effect, students must approve them at the upcoming AGM. The UTMSU encourages students to sign up for the UTMSU’s AGM which is happening on Thursday, November 24, from 6:00–10:00 pm ET.
Removal of Division 2 directors
The UTMSU also affirmed the resignation of two directors from Division 2, the division representing full-time undergraduate students. Minal (Eesha) Syed and Gabriel Horan did not appear at the three previous meetings and, according to bylaw 10, effectively delivered their resignation.
Barre explained that the UTMSU tried to reach out to Syed and Horan through different means, but the two directors did not respond.
Felipe Nagata, executive director, explained that the UTMSU is “pretty lenient” regarding BOD members’ attendance, but the number of meetings members can miss is limited. “It’s a privilege to be in the positions that we’re in,” said Nagata. He explained that BOD members have to meet their responsibilities and “if we’re unable to do that, we can leave space for students who actually want to be here and actually participate.”
UTMSU and Blind Duck audited financial statements
Wehnan (Berry) Lou, UTMSU vice president internal, presented the financial statements for the UTMSU and the Blind Duck, the UTMSU’s pub, to the BOD. According to the statements completed by Yale PGC, the Blind Duck experienced a $29,496 deficit in 2022. The pub’s wages and benefit expenses more than tripled, rising from nearly $59,000 to $192,555. The costs of serving supplies, office and general, and amortization — an accounting procedure used to reduce the cost of a loan — also increased from 2021. Despite these increases in cost, the Blind Duck’s 2022 deficit is still lower than the 2021 deficit, which totalled $58,536.
According to the UTMSU’s financial statement, the union ended the 2022 financial year with $1,851,883 in net income. The statement broke down revenues and expenses into categories.
In the first category, finance, the UTMSU’s revenue increased across all streams. Lou explained that the increased revenue resulted from the full return back to in person, which increased demand for services including lockers, photocopiers, and the Infobooth. The UTMSU brought in $630,062 under the finance category.
In the second category, representing the student centre, the UTMSU’s revenue included a shuttle bus subsidy. InfoBooth wages expenses increased from just under $19,000 in 2021 to just over $34,000 in 2022. The InfoBooth allows students to visit a UTMSU representative in person regarding student U-Passes, lockers, shuttle bus tickets, and more.
However, the repairs and maintenance expenses went from over $55,000 to under $5,000 and telephone expenses were completely cut out.
The third category focused on social activities and planning. One of the main expenses included in this category was orientation, which cost just over $154,000. Meanwhile, the revenue made from tickets and sponsors of orientation was just over $60,000. The UTMSU ended up with a $181,817 deficit in this category.
The Academic Societies Affairs Committee dropped their academic awards expense from $3,500 to $370. This allowed the UTMSU to earn a profit of $14,744 in this category, up from $1,505 in 2021.
The World University Service of Canada, which funds refugee students, had an excess of revenue totalling just under $47,000. The Duck Stop, the UTMSU’s convenience store, suffered a deficit of $9,380.
Executive reports and upcoming plans
In his report, Alistair Kirk, UTMSU vice president external, noted that the UTMSU’s housing support clinic will be operational next semester. The UTMSU will also publish its International Student Survival Guide at the beginning of the winter semester.
Reagan Roopnarine, UTMSU vice president equity, explained that the UTMSU has started planning events for Black History Month. Roopnarine also highlighted a food drive for the UTMSU’s food centre, to be hosted in collaboration with the Centre for Student Engagement. The UTMSU also received a donation from Hart House towards the food centre.
Lou explained that the Job Readiness Program will host a LinkedIn profile picture taking session and a LinkedIn workshop on November 23. According to Lou, the UTMSU is also requesting a bus that goes directly from Milton to the UTM campus in an effort to help commuter students. Additionally, the UTMSU’s operating budget will be presented at their December BOD meeting.
The UTMSU will host exam destressors from December 5–8, as students prepare for fall semester exams.