Call for electoral reform of UTSU


UTSU’s Special General Meeting, a replacement for November’s Annual General Meeting whose agenda was rejected by union members, is set to take place on Tuesday, February 5. The new agenda includes proposed amendments that failed to make the agenda at the AGM.

Four amendments in particular, proposed by the opposition, have been submitted for inclusion, along with routine business carried over from November’s failed agenda. These four amendments, submitted by Trinity College co-head Samuel Greene and seconded by Benjamin Dionne, the president of the University College Literary and Athletic Society, address procedural issues, such as reducing the number of signatures required  to run for executive office at the union and ending the practice of proxy voting on the union’s Board of Directors. Proxies are forms enabling students who cannot attend the meeting to have other students vote on their behalf. A fully completed form can confer on one student the votes of up to 10 others. Perhaps the most prominent proposed amendment is to implement online voting.

UTSU’s Annual General Meeting at St. George in November ended abruptly after the attendees failed to approve the agenda, which was defeated by an unofficial tally of 999 votes against and 905 in favour.

The meeting ended just after the reform-minded Greene urged members not to vote in favour of the agenda because, he said, it had been created through an “unfair, untransparent, and undemocratic” process and did not truly reflect student concerns.

Several proposed reforms to UTSU’s policies were quashed a week before the AGM because, it was announced, the amendments had been submitted too late to be vetted by the Policy and Procedures Committee and the Board of Directors. Before receiving a hearing at a general meeting, amendments must first be approved by the Policy and Procedures Committee, and then by a supermajority of the union’s Board of Directors.

According to some, including Greene, the deadline was purposefully not advertised in order to prevent the proposed changes from coming up in time for the AGM.

On the Monday before the AGM, the Trinity College Meeting unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in UTSU. The motion was moved by Greene and called for the resignation of UTSU’s VP internal, Corey Scott.

In response to growing calls for electoral reform, the union opted to hire a lawyer to conduct a review of current electoral procedures and policies.

Shepherd has repeatedly promised to implement electoral reform before this year’s UTSU election.

The Special General Meeting will be held on February 5 at 6 p.m. in room 2158 of the Medical Sciences Building.

All UTSU constituents are eligible to attend the meeting. UTM full-time undergraduate students are members of UTSU, paying $60 per year to the organization. UTSU provides the health and dental plan for students at the Mississauga campus.