On January 26, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) held its monthly board of directors (BOD) meeting. The board approved increased fees for its transit pass, its health and dental plans, and its overall membership fee, among others, raising full-time students’ fees by a total of $34.85 per session. The union also shared information about upcoming Black History Month (BHM) events. 

Fees climbing

The BOD passed a motion approving increases to the overall membership fee, the U-Pass fee, the health and dental fee, and other fees the union charges students. This coming year, full-time students’ UTMSU-related fees will increase from $383.06 to $417.91 per session for the fall and winter terms — an increase of $34.85. Fees for part-time students — those taking fewer than 3.0 credits combined during the fall and winter terms — increased by $32.63, from $345.97 per session to $378.6 per session. These fees differ in the summer session and for Mississauga Academy of Medicine students.

The union increased most fees based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI) — a metric released annually by the Government of Canada to measure changes in the prices — from December 2022 and December 2023. The student society membership fee increase was based on the CPI from December 2021 to December 2022. 

“Things just get more expensive, and that’s because of inflation,” UTMSU Executive Director Felipe Nagata told the BOD. “We’re not increasing fees just because we want to.”

Updates from executives: Municipal policies and microwaves

During her presentation to the board, UTMSU President Gulfy Bekbolatova discussed the union’s preparations for lobby week, an annual effort where it lobbies the City and university to implement goals related to its campaigns on topics such as free education, consent education, housing, and transit. 

Bekbolatova told the board that the union has met with “really passionate students” and professors and hopes to explore ways it can contact and lobby government officials and community leaders with significant influence in Mississauga. The union’s Instagram page includes links to feedback forms where students can share their views on the union’s campaigns and how the City and university should move forward.

Additionally, this year, the union decided to apply for money from the Capacity Building Fund — a grant offered by the Mississauga Food Bank that awards food agencies funds to expand their programming. According to Vice-President (VP) Equity Ruth Alemayehu, the union hopes to receive money it can use to buy additional appliances such as microwaves or stoves forits food bank.

Upcoming Black History Month events

UTMSU VP Campus Life Jasnoor Sandhu discussed the union’s BHM events, including a Welcome Ceremony on February 2 that aimed to bring together Black-identifying students, staff, and faculty. Other BHM events include Buy Black on February 5, where the union will host a market in the Student Centre that will include a variety of Black-owned businesses selling jewelry, clothing, thrift finds, shoes, and more. 

The union’s BHM celebrations conclude with a gala on March 1 in Etobicoke, which the union will host in collaboration with a couple of other Ontario student unions.