Controversial clubs deserve funding too

Having an unpopular opinion shouldn’t mean being denied student union recognition

Controversial clubs deserve funding too

At the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) debate on March 21, the candidates for Vice-President Campus Life — Yolanda Alfaro of the Compass slate and Spencer Robertson, who ran as an independent — were asked about their positions on the UTSU funding clubs that are considered ‘controversial.’ The example given was Students for Life, a pro-life group known for its graphic signs and forthright, provocative campus demonstrations.

Alfaro, who was ultimately elected to the position, gave what seemed like a perfectly sensible response. She insisted that, if a decision were made to deny funding, that decision would not be about discriminating against people’s beliefs, but rather it would have more to do with student safety.

The funding of pro-life groups on campus is an issue that has been brought before the courts. Earlier this year, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union was in court facing a lawsuit by three members of UTM Students for Life. Similar suits were brought by pro-life groups at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a ‘men’s issues’ group at Ryerson University. Another lawsuit with a pro-life group was previously settled in favour of the Ryerson Students’ Union in 2016.

Even if the UTSU does not have a legal obligation to fund certain provocative, controversial, or unpopular clubs, it should adopt a policy that allows for a wide range of views to be supported as clubs on campus. This is the case even if those views are controversial or only held by a minority of students.

On its face, Alfaro’s response at the debate was the right one. She made the crucial distinction between groups that hold unpopular beliefs and groups that represent a threat to student safety. Groups that incite or threaten violence, or that have openly discriminatory or hateful agendas that target marginalized populations, should not get funding. The UTSU — and by extension, all students — should not be involved in sustaining those types of clubs on campus.

But when I reached out for Alfaro for comment, she blurred that distinction to the point of nonexistence. While she provided that her “stance is not quite directed towards controversial clubs, because not everyone would share the same idea of ‘controversial’ as me,” that caveat didn’t hold up. Of Students for Life, she said, “When demonstrations start happening on campus that can be triggering to folks who just want to feel safe walking to class, that’s where I disagree.”

Alfaro is implying that coming into contact with Students for Life can be damaging to students’ safety or wellbeing. Given that Students for Life poses no physical threat to safety, however, the source of concern stems from the group’s expression of its pro-life views, which are upsetting to many students.

Alfaro’s argument therefore blurs the crucial line between ‘controversial’ and ‘harmful,’ because it suggests that the articulation of a position itself can pose a threat to student safety if the view is offensive enough. While we need to be sensitive to the reality that some students may be adversely affected by a group like Students for Life, not recognizing or funding a group for that reason sets a dangerous precedent.

As long as the UTSU is in the business of supporting political and advocacy groups, being considered ‘controversial’ should not be a barrier to funding. First and foremost, there is the problem that Alfaro herself recognized: the UTSU should not be put in charge of deciding exactly what views students can handle being exposed to. Being the arbiter of political opinions on campus is beyond the VP’s job description, and giving the UTSU the ability to deny funding based on those opinions is incompatible with open discourse.

The perceived broad unpopularity of a group or the position it represents should not be a barrier to funding either. Even if the number of people who support Students for Life is dwarfed by the number of people who oppose it, that shouldn’t be a reason to deny the group funding. Broad support or interest is just not something we typically expect of our student clubs. There is already a minimum amount of popularity that a prospective club needs to have before it is recognized in the first place: the UTSU mandates that a club has a membership list of at least 30 people to qualify for even the minimum level of funding. Attracting interest that far exceeds the names on that list should simply not be a consideration as far as recognition or funding goes.

Finally, and most importantly, we ought to acknowledge that a diverse student body is bound to have a diverse set of beliefs, and that a wide variety of those beliefs ought to be given a platform even if many of us find some of those beliefs disagreeable.

It doesn’t help to pretend that abortion is no longer a contentious issue, either on campus or in Canadian society more broadly. Any issue so complex is bound to generate a huge array of differing views that goes way beyond the ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’ dichotomy. And we can see in politics that the question is still open, even if we would prefer it settled: leaders of major parties in both the upcoming provincial and federal elections are known to have pro-life views and voting records.

Open and equal discourse is constructive discourse, and constructive discourse is a goal worth striving for. This means protecting the distinction between ‘harmful’ and ‘controversial.’ Clubs that threaten the physical safety of students are one thing. But ‘controversial’ is in the eye of the beholder, and we should make sure that there is room on campus for disagreeable and unpopular views, as well as for the students and clubs that promote them.

Zach Rosen is a second-year student at Trinity College studying History and Philosophy. He is The Varsity’s Current Affairs Columnist.

One UTM’s victory was a foregone conclusion

Re: “Uncontested One UTM slate sweeps UTMSU executive elections”

One UTM’s victory was a foregone conclusion

According to the unofficial results of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections, held from March 20–22, 2018, the One UTM slate has won all five executive positions. Given that all executive candidates on the One UTM slate ran unopposed — a first in my three years at UTM — their victory was unsurprising.

The lack of opposition against One UTM discouraged me from voting during the elections, because their victory seemed like a foregone conclusion. Though I was approached to vote by both student volunteers as well as by members of One UTM, I still doubted whether my one vote would make a difference. I suspect many students had similar thoughts — the votes cast for each executive position was around 1,930 students, which accounts for approximately 13.5 per cent of over 14,000 students who represented by the UTMSU.

Though I agree with many of One UTM’s platform points, I still wish that there had been at least some competition, in the form of another slate or independent candidates, to allow for debate. Debating would allow the student body to see how exactly One UTM candidates would reach its goals, namely by exposing any flaws or inconsistencies in their claims or plans.

Hopefully future UTMSU elections will not be plagued by such a lack of competition.  For now, however, I look forward to seeing what changes One UTM will bring to UTM, and especially whether it will deliver on the promise of eliminating the $55 Student System Access fee that was central to its platform.

 

Zeahaa Rehman is a third-year student at UTM studying Linguistics and Professional Writing and Communication.

The Breakdown: UTSU and UTMSU elections

What you need to know ahead of the campaign and voting period

The Breakdown: UTSU and UTMSU elections

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) spring elections campaign period will begin on March 19, with voting taking place from March 26–28.

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections will run in a similar period, with campaigning set to begin on March 12 and the voting period falling between March 20 and 22.

Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about the upcoming elections.

What is the UTSU?

The UTSU represents all full-time undergraduate students at UTSG and UTM who have paid the membership fee of $18.76 per session. As the union represents around 50,000 students, this means that the UTSU receives well over $1 million in membership fees each year. In the 2017–2018 academic year, the revenue from student fees was projected to be $1,858,818.53.

Students also pay a variety of other fees to the UTSU, many of which are refundable. These include a $0.50 orientation fee, a $162.28 Health and Dental Plan fee, and a $10.24 fee for the Student Commons, which is set to increase in 2018–2019. In total, students pay $194.49 to the UTSU per semester, of which $163.28 is refundable.

The union uses its operating budget of over $3 million to advocate for students and provide services, such as “running the student health & dental insurance plan, funding campus clubs, and offering grants to students in need,” according to its website.

Recent advocacy campaigns of the UTSU include their initiative to create a Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) and its commitment to improve the proposed Mandated Leave of Absence Policy. The UTSU website also lists various campaigns, including food security, housing, and sexual violence.

The UTSU operates through an executive team of seven students as well as a 57-member board of directors. The Executive Committee consists of the President and six Vice-Presidents. A designate from the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) also sits on the Executive Committee. The elected board members represent either a college, faculty, academic field, or the Transitional Year Programme.

What is the UTMSU?          

All undergraduate students at UTM are also represented through their own student union, the UTMSU. In the 2015–2016 academic year, full-time students paid a membership fee of $14.11 per session and part-time students paid $1.04 per session. The UTMSU received $2,565,974 in revenue during the 2016–2017 school year.

Representing over 13,000 students, the union’s mission includes safeguarding the rights of students, providing services and activities, and lobbying for student interests.

The UTMSU’s services include providing bursaries, running the Blind Duck Pub, and operating the UTM Food Centre, which provides for food insecure students.

UTMSU campaigns include Academic Advocacy, which seeks to help students accused of academic offenses; Know Your Rights!, which educates students on the rights they have; and No Means No, a campaign developed by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) to fight against “sexual assault, acquaintance rape, and dating violence.”

The operations of the UTMSU are carried out by their elected 15-person Board of Directors and their elected six-person Executive Committee.

Key UTSU elections issues

The elections are sure to feature intriguing issues, board attendance and staff layoffs among them.

Attendance at Board of Directors meetings has been down this year, with an average attendance among directors of 49 per cent since November. It remains to be seen whether or not board restructuring to motivate higher attendance will play a role in the election.

The UTSU has also hired several Outreach Associates to assist with the You Decide campaign to leave the CFS. The CFS is a national organization that represents students’ unions across Canada, with provincial organizations such as CFS–Ontario, of which the UTSU is a member. Of late, the UTSU has been campaigning against the organization, which is where the You Decide campaign plays its role. Outreach Associates are responsible for collecting student signatures on a petition to defederate from the CFS. Last year, You Decide failed to reach the requisite amount and had to restart the petition. To hold the referendum, the petition must be signed by 20 per cent of students in the membership. Current UTSU President Mathias Memmel told The Varsity that the campaign is currently looking for 4,000 more signatures, which would exceed the requirement and provide a buffer.

The Student Commons, a project to create a building run by students to house student services and clubs, which has been in the works since 2007, is set to open its doors in September 2018. The project has put a strain on the UTSU’s finances, and the union will run deficits for the first five years after gaining occupancy of the building.

The extra expenses have motivated the UTSU to lay off staff such as the Health and Dental Coordinator and Clubs Coordinator, as well as to employ cost-saving measures to keep the union from going bankrupt. Memmel has said that the Student Commons financial plan must be followed with little to no deviation in order to keep the union afloat.

Of note, the election will feature a referendum for UTSG members to vote on a student U-Pass. The cost of a U-Pass could be as much as a mandatory $322.50 per semester, or $80.60 a month, depending on what is decided at a TTC board meeting on March 20.

The UTSU and UTMSU will also be renegotiating their membership agreement. UTMSU President Salma Fakhry told The Varsity in February that the goal of the UTMSU is to “strengthen the contract” between the two unions, as UTM students make up one fourth of the UTSU’s membership.

Anti-abortion group faces off in court against UTMSU over club recognition

Court also hears cases against UOIT, Durham College, Ryerson students’ unions

Anti-abortion group faces off in court against UTMSU over club recognition

Three lawsuits involving student clubs suing students’ unions, alleging they were improperly denied funding, were heard by Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell on January 24 at Osgoode Hall. The eight-hour-long hearing included the suit against the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) by three members of UTM Students for Life (UTMSFL).

UTMSFL is an anti-abortion student group that filed a suit against the UTMSU in January 2016. Diane Zettel, Cameron Grant, and Chad Hagel are the three UTMSFL members listed as the applicants of the lawsuit.

The court simultaneously held hearings for two similar lawsuits. Speak for the Weak, another anti-abortion group at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), is suing the Student Association of Durham College and UOIT, while the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) faces a suit from members of the Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society.

Marty Moore is the lawyer representing the three clubs and is a staff lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), a non-profit advocacy organization tasked with “defend[ing] the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through litigation and education,” according to its mission statement. It has also represented Trinity Western University in its lawsuit against the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The UTMSU and RSU are being jointly represented by Alexi Wood and Jennifer Saville of St. Lawrence Barristers LLP. Woods and Saville previously represented the RSU in Grant v. Ryerson Students’ Union, 2015, another case involving a anti-abortion student club denied recognition from its student union. The judge sided with the RSU in that case.

Legal questions             

While defending the clubs, Moore spoke of the close relationship between student unions and the publicly funded universities to which they are attached.

“If the University of Toronto Students’ Union decided to adopt the Bahá’í Faith and expressly made it a part of its documents in accordance to its letters patent, I think we would understand that its relationship with the publicly funded institution would begin to have to jeopardy there,” argued Moore. “The reality is that public institutions and the common law, which applies to public institutions, should take into account the fundamental values that apply on that campus.”

“[These are] not the arguments that I’m putting forward today, but I do recognize that that is one of the possible approaches that a court could take,” said Moore. He cited Rakowski v. Malagerio, 2007, a case also presided over by Perell, in which it was decided courts had the authority to intervene in student union policies.

Saville told the judge that student unions are private corporations, regardless of the fact that they operate on public university campuses, citing the Grant v. Ryerson Students’ Union case, where the judge ruled that student unions aren’t subject to public law. Wood expanded on this, adding that all UTMSU members, including those involved in the UTMSFL, had the right to vote on or run for the UTMSU Board of Directors and shape the union’s policies if they disagreed with them.

Perell responded, “There are some things where democracy is not the answer. Hitler got elected, with due process.”

UTMSFL’s case

Moore forewent any allegations of ideological bias; the crux of his submission was the allegation that the three unions went against their own policies and bylaws.

The UTMSFL members allege that the UTMSU informed them that the club would not be granted official club status due to its anti-abortion stance. In his submission, Moore told the judge that the UTMSU subsequently changed its reasoning and attempted to deny the club for technical violations. It is alleged that the UTMSU told the club, which only had three executive members, that it needed four executives in order to qualify for official club status and that it had to amend its constitution to be compliant with the UTMSU’s requirements and elect a fourth executive at a general meeting.

“[Then-UTMSU Vice-President Campus Life Russ Adade] kept on coming up with new requirements, including, at the end, ‘I have to be present at your meeting when you vote.’ The applicants said, ‘Fine, come to our meeting. We’ll do a re-vote. We’ll re-enact our constitutional amendments,’” Moore told the judge.

The applicants also allege that Adade brought five people who were not members of UTMSFL to attend the meeting and vote against the election of the fourth executive.

Wood pointed out that in cross-examination, Adade denied allegations of stacking the deck at that meeting and actually tried his best to help UTMSFL meet the UTSMU’s requirements to qualify for clubs funding.

“We have an affidavit from Mr. Adade, who says he doesn’t do that, and we asked him on cross and he denied it on cross. He said that these members attended on their own,” Wood told the judge. “They had come to him, they had talked to him about [UTMSFL] and he said, ‘If you have issues with [UTMSFL], go to the meeting on the 23rd and talk to [UTMSFL] there.’”

Wood also told the judge that UTMSU-recognized clubs are required to be open to all UTMSU members and that all UTMSU members can therefore vote in the club elections. The only exception, Wood said, is if the club lays out different voting rights in its constitution. “[UTMSFL] did not put into their constitution any restrictions on who could vote,” she continued.

According to Wood, Adade sent an email to UTMSFL after the general meeting, explaining the next steps and expressing willingness to continue working with the club to get its club status approved. The student union board then received an email from Moore saying that UTMSFL was commencing legal proceedings.

It is unknown when the court will reach a decision, although the decision for Grant v. Ryerson Students’ Union came out nearly 10 months after the hearing.

Bylaw amendments take centre stage at UTMSU AGM

Signature threshold to hold general meetings raised, grievance policy adopted

Bylaw amendments take centre stage at UTMSU AGM

Bylaw amendments were the main topics of discussion at the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on November 23 in the William G. Davis Building at UTM. Major changes included an increase to the number of signatures needed for calling a general meeting, as well as a new policy for how students can bring forward grievances they have against the union.

At the start of bylaw amendment discussions, University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Vice-President External Anne Boucher motioned to externalize four of the proposed amendments, including the two mentioned above. The motion passed, which required those four to be discussed and voted on separately from other amendments. These discussions represented the bulk of the yearly meeting.

Signatures for general meetings

One of the amendments put forward increased the number of signatures required to call general meetings to five per cent of the UTMSU membership, which currently consists of over 13,000 students, making the new quorum approximately 650 students. The previous requirement was 250 students, and the original raise proposed in the amendment was 10 per cent of the membership, or 1,300 students.

During the discussions, Boucher voiced concerns that 10 per cent was too high, suggesting the number be changed instead to 500 signatures, or approximately four per cent of the membership.

After extensive debate, UTMSU President Salma Fakhry was the one to propose the successful motion of the number being lowered to 5 per cent as a compromise to the 10 per cent that was originally suggested, which she called a “standard” number.

Boucher responded by saying, “I just wanted to let the room know that the UTSU’s is only one per cent, so it’s not actually standard.”

Grievance policy

A new bylaw was passed detailing how members can bring to attention grievances that they may have against the UTSMU. According to the bylaw, this is to ensure that the union can “make itself an open and accessible space to all members.”

The bylaw states that “any such Grievance shall be put in writing and addressed to the Grievance Officer, who shall be the President of the Union.” The officer will meet with the concerned parties and, depending on the grievance, may direct the complaint to a relevant committee. The resolution will be decided by a majority vote of committee members present at the meeting.

Boucher proposed an amendment to the bylaw, saying that there should be more than one Grievance Officer, and that they should “function as an impartial appellate board.”

“The reason why I am proposing this change is just in the case [of] a grievance against an executive member or the president themselves. It’s very hard to be impartial and non-biased in this position,” said Boucher.

Fakhry spoke against Boucher’s proposal, saying, “We’d rather very much keep it to the decision making of the board to compile the Executive Review Committee if such an occurrence or such a grievance were to come against the executive.”

Finances

Other notable AGM events included the approval of the financial statements of the UTMSU and of The Blind Duck pub, a division of the student union. UTMSU Vice President Internal Vikko Qu explained that the World University Service of Canada program ran a $24,000 deficit to financially support an additional refugee student whom “the administration refused to support” aside from registration.

In addition, Qu said that The Blind Duck is running a deficit, which UTMSU Executive Director Munib Sajjad clarified was due to the executive’s decision to not increase the price of food despite the increase in cost of sales.

Qu also mentioned that club expenditures went down because some clubs did not collect their funding cheques or pass audited financial statements, and that Student Centre expenditures were diminished because there were fewer events held on campus this year.

The UTMSU also voted to switch auditors of the financial statements from Charles Havill, CPA to Glenn Graydon Wright LLP, as Fakhry said the former no longer exists.

UTMSU executive candidates face off in debate

Election to take place March 7–9

UTMSU executive candidates face off in debate

The campaign period for the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections are in full swing, and the executive candidates faced off at UTM’s Blind Duck Pub in a two hour debate on March 1.

There are two slates competing in this year’s election compared to four last year. No incumbents are running for re-election, and two of the candidates are UTMSU associates. The slates, Fresh UTM and UTM First, presented platforms that advocate for international student rights, U-Pass expansion, and healthier food options on campus.

President

Running for President with Fresh UTM is Salma Fakhry, who is Associate to the UTMSU Vice-President University Affairs and Academics. Her platform includes providing accessible education and reviewing UTM’s student centre expansion.

Alex Gignac is UTM First’s presidential candidate. Gignac’s platform advocates for a tier rewards system for club funding, which would see more funding provided to new clubs that participate in more events.

Additionally, he advocated for U-Pass expansion throughout Brampton and Oakville. All UTM students are provided with a U-Pass, which allows for unlimited access to MiWay for a mandatory fee charged to their student accounts.

When asked about the student centre expansion, Fakhry stated that at the last UTMSU Annual General Meeting, students voted ‘yes’ on a student centre expansion.

Fakhry said, “We must consult our student body. We cannot do this alone… We must lobby with the administration to find… an accessible funding model that actually takes pressure off students. We don’t want students to be paying extra money, because this is their right and this is their space.”

Gignac stated that he also advocates for the expansion: “We’re going to have to sit down with the university because the most important thing is that they cover a good chunk of the expenses… There will be no increased tuition for the student centre.”

Vice-President Internal and Services

Vikko Qu from Fresh UTM is running unopposed for Vice-President Internal and Services. His platform focuses on expanding limited accessibility and study space on campus.

Qu proposes making the U-Pass GTA-wide. When asked how he plans to establish a GTA-wide pass, Qu noted that he was involved in the GTA U-Pass conversation last year as Associate to the Vice-President Internal.

“What will happen this year is that first, we’ll consult the students by running surveys, by collecting data, by collecting information. And second, we’ll be talking to our levy groups, clubs and societies, and third, we’ll be running a referendum so that our students can vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’  [on whether] they want a GTA U-Pass,” Qu said. “We’ll present all the information to the government, to Metrolinx, so our students’ demands can be consented.”

Vice-President External

Ali Taha is UTM First’s candidate for Vice-President External. Taha, who currently serves on the UTMSU Board of Directors, stated that his goal as Vice-President External would be to unite the three campuses. He also aims for a diversity of opinions on campus.

Jose Wilson is running for the same position with Fresh UTM. Wilson’s platform is centred on activism for part-time students.

The Vice-President External candidates were questioned at the debate on how they planned to reinstate the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) for international students.

Taha stated that, after some research, he learned OHIP was rescinded for international students in 1994, as the government did not feel it was feasible to implement the program for international students.

He noted that re-instating the program for international students would be very difficult and instead advocated for increased support for international students. “I would like to see more support and services for international students, like international ambassadors to be able to be appointed as [the point of] contact for international students when they get here,” said Taha.

Wilson noted that he is an international student, that he understood how expensive the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is, and how it lacks coverage.

He said, “I remember a conversation with [Qu] where he mentioned that in order to take a ride in an ambulance, you would have to pay $500, because the ambulance does not take the UHIP coverage… We want to take a look at lobbying MPPs and premiers about re-instating OHIP for international students.”

Vice-President Equity

Sagal Osman is running for Vice-President Equity with UTM Fresh. She cites her experience as an executive with the Black Students’ Association as a reason for her involvement. Osman wants to expand safe spaces on campus in addition to combating Islamophobia, sexism, and racism on campus.

UTM First’s Vice-President Equity candidate is Mduduzi Mhlanga, who wants to focus on finances and on-campus affordability.

The Vice-President Equity candidates were asked about how they planned to implement the Sexual Violence Policy at UTM.

Osman stated that she would like to see “an annual review of this policy. We need constant change so that we can keep advocating and keep implementing policies that keep communities spoken for and included.”

She noted that the policy provides support for perpetrators and wants to see the policy edited to make it “survivor-centric.”

“Our human rights need to be advocated for and spoken for, and if we can’t do that then we need to change that right now,” Osman said.

Mhlanga countered by saying he believed it was far more important to “find a solution that works and stick with it.”

“But overall, I believe that UTM is a very safe campus… so I believe that we have made real strides in achieving equality and equity despite sexual orientation, despite ethnic identification, despite your gender,” Mhlanga stated. “I believe that for this policy, it’s far more important to hear student’s opinions and see what they think needs to be changed, and then try to advocate for that change as well, once we again make sure the solution is viable.”

Vice-President University Affairs

and Academics

UTM First candidate Christina Khokar wants students to have a better understanding of tuition fees, along with more information sessions related to tuition. Khokhar advocates for increased opt-out options from fees and levies.

Fresh UTM candidate Maya Tomkiewicz stated that students are often unaware of what is included in student policies. She is advocating for increased visibility of these policies on campus.

When asked what the governing council on campus does, Khokhar stated that UTM operates as a democracy. “I also want to improve this process by having a longer election period so we can get across to more people… right now, our voter turnout is only 35 per cent… I think everyone should have a voice… and I think everyone should recognize the value of these elections,” she said.

Tomkiewicz clarified that the UTM Campus Council is a subsection of the Governing Council: “They make decisions about different issues like academic policies, parking fees, tuition. Unfortunately, there is very little student representation on this council.”

Tomkiewicz then advocated for further representation of students on the council.

Voting takes place from March 7–9 at Davis Building, Instructional Centre, CCT Building, and Deerfield Hall.

Former UTSU President Munib Sajjad hired as UTMSU Executive Director

Sajjad moves to full-time role with union after serving in part-time capacity

Former UTSU President Munib Sajjad hired as UTMSU Executive Director

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) has filled the vacancy created after the departure of the union’s Executive Director.

Munib Sajjad, who had served as University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) President in the 2013-2014 year, was hired as the UTMSU’s new Executive Director on August 18.

Prior to his hiring as Executive Director, he had filled a similar position in the union called the Executive Coordinator since July 11.

According to the job description, the Executive Coordinator was a part-time position with duties that were identical to those of the Executive Director, with the exception of financial responsibilities. UTMSU President Nour Alideeb told The Varsity that the union has since discontinued the Executive Coordinator position.

Alideeb did not participate in either the Executive Coordinator Hiring Committee or the Executive Director Hiring Committee after having recused herself to avoid a conflict of interest.

Last year, Sajjad served as the Vice-President, Internal, for the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union before leaving both roles.

Sajjad replaces Walied Khogali, who had had been heavily involved in student unions for nearly a decade. Khogali was on the executive of the Students’ Administrative Council — now commonly called the UTSU — and later as chair of the UTMSU before becoming the union’s Executive director.

Sajjad could not be reached for comment.

When asked about the UTMSU’s recent shifts in staff, Alideeb said that she hopes these changes will improve the union’s service delivery and advocacy efforts.

“We hope to better accommodate our students needs. We want to better serve our members, clubs, and academic societies, so whatever changes we make will reflect the commitment of better advocacy and services that will benefit our members.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Munib Sajjad was formerly the Executive Director for the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS). In fact, Sajjad was the Vice-President, Internal for APUS.

UTMSU announce changes to staff

Union announces departures of Executive Director and Services Manager

UTMSU announce changes to staff

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union’s (UTMSU) Executive Director Walied Khogali and Services Manager Nausheen Adam are parting ways with the union.

According to the UTMSU memo, Khogali will vacate his position on August 19 to accept an opportunity in the not-for-profit sector. Khogali supported the executive committee with projects such as the U-Pass program to all undergraduate students, the consolidation of the Erindale Part-Time Undergraduate Students (EPUS), and the Campus Councils at UTM and UTSC.

Khogali served as president of UTMSU from 2007–2008. Prior to that, Khogali was Vice-President, UTM of the Students’ Administrative Council — now referred to as the University of Toronto Students’ Union — in the 2006–2007 academic year.

Khogali returned to UTMSU as Chair of the Board of Directors, before becoming the Executive Director in 2011.

In the memo, UTMSU President Nour Alideeb remarked, “We would like to wish Mr. Khogali all the best as he contributes his passion and skills to our communities with zeal, tact and integrity, all characteristics we expect from a change maker.”

Adam, former Services Manager at the UTMSU, has been working with the union since September 2014. Adam vacated her position on August 11.

Alideeb said that Khogali and Adam “will play a pivotal role in promoting the values and goals of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) in their new positions.” She also told The Varsity that the union has struck hiring committees to fill the roles.