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.