Passive-aggressive encounter with UTMSU


Dear Editor,

I recently engaged in a public debate on UTMSU’s Facebook page regarding the Quality Service to Students meeting. [Editor’s note: Cuts were made to material covered in the letter from Zoya Tahir.]

I questioned them and they responded saying that the budget increase was for administrative support and not for another mental health professional. This began a debate filled with evasive answers from UTMSU. At one point, I was given this as a response to where else the money would come from to fund the HCC: “The university magically finds money from its operating budget to fund budgets that we vote down.”

To which I responded: “Magically. So you’re telling me that somebody, somewhere has a money tree? Wow, way to go for an awesomely informative response, UTMSU. My confusion has been cleared up. Thank you.”

Of course, my sarcasm, countless times, was lost on the students’ union. What frustrated me most about this encounter was not even that the budget was shot down but that UTMSU acted in a completely unprofessional manner when responding to honest questions. I dealt with passive-aggressive, attitude-filled remarks before anyone gave me an answer that was even remotely justifiable. I wasn’t the only one questioning the decisions and receiving passive-aggressive responses. I expected more from my representatives and I was supremely let down.

The worst part about all this is that ultimately, UTMSU has no problem asking the student body for $50 per person to expand the Student Centre but refuse to ask us for a measly $3 in comparison to help make a very, very important service on campus run more efficiently. I’d like to think that essential student services on campus are just as important to UTMSU as building a bigger building. I’m sharing this story because I believe, as I would of any political organization in a democracy, that UTMSU needs to have their actions challenged and questioned by the constituents they represent. I hope more students are willing to follow suit and hold UTMSU accountable and in check, and hopefully UTMSU will learn to respond better in turn.

Canya Selvakumar

Fourth-year, English

  • “Students?” Union

    I find it disgusting that they wish to increase student fees to promote the expansion of a building that is functioning fine for the number of students who use its limited resources regularly but fail to recognize the increasing need of support for mental health initiatives. The only student wide benefit would be more kitchen space in the Pub. Locker space is available campus wide, there are no line ups for the copy center or pool tables, you only need one info booth and there is bookable space beyond the SC itself. Resources to promote healthy living and mental health for students is a vitality and should be prioritized by an organization claiming to represent students. This expansion is a capitalistic endeavor that will allow UTMSU representatives an answer when asked what they accomplished during their term.

  • Corey

    The difference between the Student Centre referendum and the Quality of Student Services votes is that every student gets to vote on the Student Centre referendum. Every student has their own agency to vote as they will.

    The QSS vote is reserved to a few students, it is also the only body that students have a majority voting power. For the UTMSU, who gets elected on the basis of reducing tuition fees, they would be violating their mandate to vote in favour of the increase.

    Here is one resolution that everyone can agree on: if the HCC wants an increase they can run a similar referendum. Then every student will have the agency to vote as they wish. This was done for the Varsity Dome downtown and can be done for any student service.

    • Luke

      Well-reasoned, but missing a detail: the proposal was put together in the first place by an advisory body consisting of 10 student leader representatives and 2 HCC staff. Three of those students were UTMSU executives and staff… They themselves decided these services were necessary and costed it out to that amount. Then they voted it down. What’s the point?!


      • Diem

        They voted it down so that they can pretend like they are trying to lower fees. Perhaps they thought this small manufactured “victory” would distract students from the $50 student centre expansion increase.