The UTM Students’ Union held elections for its Board of Directors on October 3 and the results are in.
Fall Board of Director elections are for first-year student representatives, as well as to fill any vacancies that have opened up over the summer. The winners are Division 1 first-year representatives Emile Sabga and Chia Assad, Division 3 UTMSU and UTSU Board representatives Abdi Ahmed Hassan and Andrew Ursel, both filling vacancies, and Division 4 Part-time Board member Naureen Amirali, also filling a vacancy.
“First and foremost, let me say that the level of excitement from the candidates was great,” said Delphino Gilbert Cassar, the president of UTMSU.
Several different portfolios were debated during the formal board meeting. These included the Part-Time Student Constituency portfolio to represent part-time students’ perspectives on the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing financial matters and holding UTMSU accountable.
Directors become members of various committees at UTMSU. These committees include a voicing committee, a clubs committee, a finance committee, and an organizational, development, and services committee. According to Cassar, these various committees work on specific functions of the Students’ Union, and it is the responsibility of each new member of the Board of Directors to affiliate themselves with at least one of those committees and their specific functions.
It is expected that the newly elected Board of Directors will make themselves available to students through office hours and other means, such as social media, and are expected to take part in campaigns. Cassar stressed the need to adopt policies regarding greater disclosure of information to the Board of Directors and students in order to make the institution more transparent and accountable, and to have policies in place that increase the responsibilities of the Board of Directors.
“The major objectives for this year (knock on wood)—if I had to narrow it down, I would say Student Centre expansion, leaning for academic policy reform, such as issues around dropping a course, and other concerns students have raised, such as having to pay for their final exams and not having clear indication of how their marks are broken down and compiled, and other academic issues. And [all this] generally and organically, through the Ministry of University Affairs and Academics,” Cassar said.
“We’ve also been very active on engaging the students, we’ve seen our volunteers grow, and we’ve seen our ministries become very active,” Cassar notes. “We’ve been very successful at attracting student participation.”
One of the main things Cassar hopes that Board candidates will achieve if elected is shining a more positive light on UTMSU, and to be more helpful to students by making things more open to students and ensuring that are aware of what UTMSU has to offer them in terms of funding for programs, students, and clubs. Lastly, he emphasizes the need for students to get more involved.
“The Students’ Union is what you make it to be,” Cassar said.