The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) held an emergency Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on September 23, where it passed a motion to hold a referendum among UTM students about expanding UTM’s Student Centre.
At its regular monthly board meeting on October 6, the board voted to increase staff and executive wages and heard reports from the union’s executives about upcoming initiatives and events.
Emergency BOD meeting
During the first emergency BOD meeting, the UTMSU’s board voted to hold a referendum to expand the Student Centre. The referendum question will ask students whether they support the implementation of a Student Centre expansion levy fee, which would start at $10 per student per semester from fall 2024 to spring 2027 or until the building expansion opens, at which point the levy would increase to $30 per student per semester until the union finishes paying mortgage payments.
The proposed plan for the student centre expansion includes additional multipurpose and multifaith spaces, better student-led food services, and improved shared areas for campus groups.
The UTMSU will host a question-and-answer session about the referendum on October 18. UTMSU students will be able to vote from October 24–26 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at voting stations across the campus, including in the William G. Davis Building, the Communication Culture & Technology Building, the Instructional Centre, Deerfield Hall, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, and the Kaneff Centre.
October BOD meeting
On October 6, the UTMSU board approved a motion to raise the hourly wages of its part-time staff to $17. This decision comes in response to Ontario’s recent increase in the minimum hourly wage from $15.50 to $16.55. The motion on the agenda emphasized that the current minimum wage falls short of meeting students’ financial needs.
During executive reports, Okikioladuni (Kiki) Ayoola, vice-president external, reported that the union has held meetings with the co-presidents of the UTM Pre-Law Organization and members of Downtown Legal Services, a legal clinic run by the Faculty of Law that offers legal support to students and low-income people. The union hopes to revive housing support clinics offering legal information and advice to students. These clinics aim to assist students who are struggling with landlord and tenancy issues, like safety regulation violations.
The UTMSU also started working on a public campaign called the Transit Advocating Party to advocate for better transit after it attended the City of Mississauga Transit Advisory Committee’s meeting.
Jasnoor Sandhu, vice-president campus life, highlighted upcoming events during the UTMSU’s Halloweek festivities, including a campus groups carnival, movie night, pub night, and Halloween-themed breakfast.
Sandhu also mentioned potential collaborations with other clubs and encouraged club members to get in touch if interested.
Ruth Alemayehu, vice-president equity, reported on her meetings with student clubs to discuss the student centre expansion and said that she and her staff have launched a form where students can submit feedback on campus accessibility.
President Gulfy Bekbolatova highlighted the progress of the union’s peer support program, which the UTMSU launched last year. The program, which provides virtual meetings with trained UTMSU students, is now fully operational.
Bekbolatova discussed the UTMSU’s process for running the student centre expansion referendum, which include engaging with campus groups, discussing referendum question content, and planning campaign logistics.