On March 31, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) held its penultimate Board of Directors (BOD) meeting, where members ratified the spring election results and approved the report of the Chief Returning Officer (CRO).
In his report, CRO Elias Ancer noted that the union ordered over 5,000 ballots but only used 2,700. Ancer further mentioned that three per cent of the ballots were spoiled — a statistic not included in his official report.
The BOD ratified the unofficial election results, approving Gulfy Bekbolatova as the incoming UTMSU president. Since no part-time or Mississauga Academy of Medicine students ran for associated positions on the BOD, those spots remain unfilled.
BOD chair, Kayla Weiler, said that the number of abstentions exceeded the number of votes in favour of the Housing Our University Students Equitably (HOUSE) Canada and Regenesis UTM referenda, leading them to fail. HOUSE Canada is a national organization working to create affordable housing for students and UTM Regenesis is a UTMSU–recognized student group promoting sustainability initiatives. Both referenda asked students to approve a five-dollar fee for full-time students devoted to designing and developing affordable housing and sustainability initiatives, respectively.
Executive reports and other business
UTMSU President Maëlis Barre presented a motion that would allocate $15,000 to cover the operational costs for UPass, UTM students’ MiWay transportation pass. Executive Director Felipe Nagata demonstrated that the virtual UPass will consist of a QR code that changes every five seconds to prevent students from sharing the code. The motion was approved.
Barre discussed receiving funding from the UTM administration to expand the UTMSU Student Centre. The UTMSU is currently discussing the feasibility of the expansion with other student unions.
Vice-President Equity Reagan Roopnarine highlighted that the union is collaborating with Community On Campus — an organization that works with students with intellectual disabilities — to create a community space within their food centre. Roopnarine also highlighted a consent forum hosted by the UTMSU in response to students’ concerns about the continued employment of Professor Robert Reisz and online bullying. The UTMSU has also begun working with the Queer and Trans Alliance, organizing a clothing drive and opening a free store where students can access gender-affirming clothing.
Barre said that she spoke to ICI Télé — a French television network owned by CBC — about Reisz’s employment to encourage coverage on the issue given that “the university still hasn’t done anything.”
Vice-President External Alistair Kirk and other executive members attended the Canadian Federation of Students Lobby week to discuss certain demands and campaigns including the Education for All campaign, fairness for international students, grants for students instead of loans, sexual violence supports for postsecondary students, Ontario Health Insurance Policy for all, and transit equity. The UTMSU also recently published its international student handbook.
The final UTMSU BOD meeting of this year will take place on April 28.