The Erindale Part-time Undergraduate Students intends to hold a referendum next month for part-time students to vote on whether they want access to the eight-month U-Pass and the summer U-Pass. All current part-time students will be eligible to vote.
During the fall/winter session (September to April), any student taking 2.5 credits or fewer is considered part-time. Over the summer session, any student taking 1.0 credit or less is considered a part-time student. A student that is considered full-time in the fall/winter session does not automatically carry their full-time status into the summer session.
The Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students represents part-time students at all three U of T campuses throughout all three semesters and is based out of the St. George campus.
EPUS dissolved in 2007 after a referendum attempting to amalgamate the local part-time union Student Administrative Council and the Erindale College Student Union resulted in a legal dispute. The union reformed last summer after part-time students were promised a summer U-Pass, but at the last minute were made ineligible because APUS—which has jurisdiction over EPUS—decided the U-Pass would not be useful to a large enough portion of part-time students.
Gilbert Cassar, the president of UTMSU, explained that when part-time students were not able to access the U-Pass, the contract negotiated with Mississauga Transit was affected and Mississauga Transit changed the U-Pass fee to over $200. Students had already voted to pay a fee of $85 for the summer U-Pass, so UTMSU renegotiated with Mississauga Transit and they settled at $140.
The UTMSU Board of Directors voted to subsidize the $55 per-student difference for those enrolled full-time so that eligible students could still get the U-Pass. The subsidy came to approximately $140,000 and was taken from the contingency fund, an emergency reserve.
If EPUS passes the U-Pass referendum, part-time students will have access to the U-Pass at rates already negotiated between UTMSU and Mississauga Transit for summer 2012 and for the 2012/13 fall/winter session.
Cassar said the U-Pass is “100% guaranteed at $85 plus inflation” for all summer students, part-time and full-time, if the referendum passes.
The EPUS referendum is scheduled for March 6 through 8.
In the event that a TA strike causes classes to run into the summer, Cassar promises that UTMSU will negotiate with Mississauga Transit to extend the U-Pass to accommodate extra classes.