UTMSU’s Annual General Meeting this year will be focusing on bylaw changes, and will discuss the expansion of the Student Centre.
Currently there are nine UTMSU ministries, including the Ministry of International Students, Ministry of Student Services, Ministry of Education and Outreach, Ministry of Student Life, Ministry of University Affairs & Academics, and the Ministry of Social Justice.
According to UTMSU’s president Nour Alideeb in an email to The Medium, the agenda that will be discussed at the AGM will move to remove the “languages” around ministries, which means eliminating any references to the ministries and ministers. Since UTMSU will no longer have them, the union will have to update their constitution and bylaws.
“We noticed that with nine different ministries, it was difficult for our students to allocate nine hours-worth of their week to engage in decision-making bodies at UTM,” said Alideeb.
“With that being said, we have condensed our nine ministries into three commissions to be more accessible to our students.”
“We hope that with the conversion to three commissions, our students can tackle all aspects of the issues they care deeply about, like racism, tuition fees, access to education, and more.”
Alideeb explained that the three new commissions will be created to replace the existing UTMSU ministries.
The new commissions will be Campaigns and Advocacy, Student Life, and Student Services.
According to Alideeb, commissions focus on the “specific priorities” of the students and “ensure that our students have a say in what campaigns UTMSU runs, what events we hold, where money is spent, and what services we provide.”
The commissions will acknowledge international student issues as well.
Alideeb also explained that the commissions will attempt to create more “intersectional spaces” for students to take part in leadership roles, develop new ideas, and give back to their communities. “The goals of the commissions are to be more accessible to students,” said Alideeb. “To have student input and oversight, to create fun events, run effective and educational campaigns, and to provide cost-saving services to our students.”
The commissions will “most likely” be held once a week for an hour, in which any full-time or part-time UTM undergraduate students can join the meetings.
Student Centre expansion
When asked if a referendum will be held on the expansion of the Student Centre, Alideeb stated that there are no plans on holding a referendum this year, but affirmed that groundwork is expected to take place towards a “successful referendum” in the coming years.
“Referendums require a lot of consultation with our major stakeholders like our clubs, academic societies, levy groups, and our general membership,” said Alideeb.
“Many students have expressed the need for more student-run space, so I look forward to holding focus groups and having conversations around a Student Centre expansion.”
The last Student Centre expansion referendum took place in the 2013-2014 academic year, and failed with 1618 students voting “no”, 1548 students voting “yes”, and 17 spoiled ballots.
Other items on the agenda will include the receipt of the 2015-2016 audited financial statements for UTMSU and the Blind Duck Pub, as well as the appointment of new auditors for this academic year.
The AGM will take place this Wednesday in the Student Centre at 6:00 p.m.