UTMSU’s fifth Commissions Meeting last Tuesday focused on the upcoming UTM Town Hall and offered students a chance to bring up their concerns prior to raising them with university administration on Wednesday.
At the meeting, UTMSU’s executive director Walied Khogali encouraged students to attend the town hall and raise issues that concern them. He said that the administration has the responsibility to respond to students’ needs, and in the event that students are not satisfied with the answers given by the principal or dean, the town hall will provide them with an opportunity to ask for clarification.
Nearly 100 people attended the Principal’s Town Hall held last March, of whom Khogali claimed only about four or five were students.
Khogali also noted students’ complaints that when their questions were submitted in advance, the administration was able to prepare their answers and read them out at the town hall rather than discussing them with the students.
Khogali also mentioned that at the last year’s town hall, UTMSU president Hassan Havili—who was then VP part-time—brought up the need of having a heated bus shelter on campus. Havili had a petition signed by over 1,000 students.
When Havili presented the petition at the town hall, he was told by the administration that a proposal was already in the works for larger, heated bus waiting areas.
Topics students raised at the commission meeting included food services, fall reading week, study space, and parking issues.
Students expressed continued displeasure with the food prices on campus, and UTMSU VP external Ebi Agbeyegbe said that there are several meetings taking place with the administration to express the students’ dissatisfaction. He said that by April there should be new food services on campus.
In response to the fall reading week issue, VP equity Melissa Theodore said that students would have to choose between starting the academic year one week early or having a December break that’s four days shorter if they wanted a week off mid-semester.
Regarding the study space problem that students brought up, Khogali mentioned complaints that non-UTM students use the campus library. However, instead of restricting non-UTM students from coming to the library, he suggested that the university keep its classrooms open along with the Presentation Room and the second floor of the Student Centre so that students could have access to more space, especially during the exam period.
Other concerns included the insufficient number of lockers available on campus. VP internal and services Bryan Chelvanaigum said that some of the lockers had to be removed due to construction. He said that UTMSU will try to get more lockers.
During the meeting, Monica Scott, a career outreach consultant from the UTM Career Centre, told the students about the services available at the Career Centre, such as information on the opportunities their degrees can offer, resume-writing tips, workshops, and practice interview sessions.
Scott also said that a “Get Hired Fair” would be held in January.
Toward the end of the event, Agbeyegbe mentioned current and upcoming UTMSU events, including the free breakfast on Wednesdays and a multicultural week scheduled for the first week of the winter semester, as well as UTM’s Got Talent also in January.
The UTM Town Hall will offer students an opportunity to express their concerns and suggestions for improving the campus and ask questions of the administration directly, including Principal Deep Saini.
Principal’s town halls take place once a semester. Wednesday’s town hall will take place at Spigel Hall in Davis from 2 to 3 p.m. The next one will be held in March.