The Mississauga Academy of Medicine students voted in a referendum last week on whether to join UTMSU. The 54 students in the inaugural class at MAM were all eligible to vote at the Health and Sciences complex last Wednesday through Friday.
The vote covered two questions: whether MAM students wanted to be part of UTMSU and whether they agreed to the levies and fees imposed to cover student union services.
Jon Ding, the UTMSU representative at MAM, explained that MedSoc, or the Medical Society, represents students at all four of University of Toronto’s medical schools and already covers many of the services offered by UTMSU.
MedSoc is an elected Executive Council that represents students and alumni at the Faculty of Medicine. University of Toronto has four medical school campuses. The Mississauga campus is the newest one, but there are also academies in downtown Toronto, Sunnybrook, and East York. MedSoc covers student affairs and student life and offers student support resources for the Faculty of Medicine students.
Ding says that, despite being covered by MedSoc, many students have expressed a desire to be eligible for the U-Pass service UTMSU offers. Many MAM students, like UTM undergraduates, live off-campus and do not own cars, making the U-Pass a valuable asset.
Undergraduates paid $198.14 last year to UTMSU to cover all the student services. The U-Pass cost $131.50 and, unlike the health and dental plan, cannot be opted out of or refunded.
Sarah Khan, a first-year MAM student, said that the U-Pass will likely be the determining factor for many MAM students on whether or not they want to be a part of UTMSU.
Khan said that aside from the U-Pass, being part of UTMSU would help MAM students integrate themselves into the UTM community.
“I’m still quite surprised when UTM students come up to me and ask if that ‘new white building’ on campus is really a medical school,” said Khan. “This is a clear sign that MAM needs to be further integrated on campus.”
Jon Ding, the MAM liaison, worked with UTMSU to inform all MAM students about the referendum and what the vote entailed. While Ding opted for an unbiased approach, he said, “UTMSU has been working tirelessly to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote. I really appreciate their efforts thus far.”
At the moment the vote affects the 54 students currently at MAM. By 2015, the University of Toronto hopes to increase enrolment to 216, creating a greater impact on the makeup of the student body.
The proposed increase puts greater weight on the decision, and thus greater pressure on the 54 students included in the referendum. Ding said he hopes that the students make a decision in the best interests of not only our class, but the many MAM students in the future as well.
The official results will be available this week.