A larger Student Centre for a larger student body
The UTMSU will be holding a referendum from November 6 to 9, where students will be campaigning for or against changes to incidental fees for the Student Centre Expansion.

The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) is home to over 15,000 students, with more students applying and accepting their offers each year. As the student population grows, so does the need for a larger Student Centre. The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) believes that the proposed expansion of the Student Centre is a crucial step forward for students, providing more resources, including a new office for student clubs and societies, a more efficient Blind Duck Pub, improved services at the UTM Food Centre, and more bookable rooms. All details are outlined in their UTM Student Centre Expansion Report.

A referendum will be held from November 6 to 9 and will be the student body’s opportunity to campaign for or against the adoption of Student Centre expansion fees, as well as an increase to Student Centre and Blind Duck fees. Students may vote between November 7 to 9.

In a recent interview with The Medium, the UTMSU explained that the primary goal of the Student Centre Expansion is to enhance the student experience. The current Student Centre was originally built in 1999, meeting the needs of 6,000 students at that time. While it has provided sufficient support and use over the years, the population of UTM is growing, and changes to the building are crucial.

The expansion project emphasizes making the Student Centre more accessible and inclusive for every student, creating an environment where students of all backgrounds and abilities can comfortably engage in campus life, access resources, participate in campus events, and find a home.

Nevertheless, the expansion will incur expenses for students, reflected through additional charges on incidental fees. The UTMSU hopes to include additional costs of $10 per semester during construction, beginning in Fall 2024 and ending when construction is concluded.

Upon the opening of the Student Centre’s expanded spaces, the cost will be increased to $30 per student per semester until project costs are covered. Students will be contributing $24 per session (as opposed to the current $12.50), subject to an annual CPI adjustment capped at 10 per cent. The contribution for the Blind Duck will increase from $3.25 to $4 per session, subject to the above adjustment as well. The contribution for student spaces will increase from $3.75 to $7.2 per session, subject to the aforementioned adjustment.

Not all students are up for these new changes. Aisha Kyruk, a fourth-year student completing a double specialist in biology and ecology, finds the expansion unnecessary to the UTM community. “I honestly don’t understand what’s the purpose of it. I think it should stay the way it is. I don’t think students should be paying for it, and I am not willing to pay these additional fees.”

The UTMSU explains that the Student Centre Expansion Levy Fee results from a previous referendum and consultations, such that “the fees are not subject to change except for inflationary adjustments.” For there to be solidified changes, another referendum would have to take place for fees to be changed beyond the 10 per cent inflation adjustment cap.

The UTMSU plans to continue using student feedback throughout the project to aid in the renovation. They explained that once the ideas and plans are set for the building, the actual expansion will be completed in stages. “Students can start seeing results as early as next year. And all this will be communicated to UTM students, and major decisions regarding design and timeline will be made alongside students as well,” the UTMSU explained.

Currently, UTMSU is planning to secure some funding from U of T to support the expansion. The university is currently committed to “give 5o cents for every $1 we raise.”

Students interested in voicing their opinions on the Student Centre Expansion may reach out to the UTMSU through email (president@utmsu.ca, vpexternal@utmsu.ca) or Instagram (@myutmsu).

Staff Writer (Volume 49); Associate News Editor (Volume 48)Razia Saleh is currently completing a Biology degree at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2020 as a contributor and continued to write for The Medium as an Associate News Editor during Volume 48. She hopes that her experience as a writer with The Medium will help her contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers. She hopes to take her interest in ongoing research within the scientific field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she paints natural landscapes inspired by her travels and enjoy a few live concerts throughout the year. You can connect with her on Linkedin.


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