On January 15, UTMSU held its fourth commission meeting of the year, led by president Joey Santiago. About twenty students gathered in the UTMSU office in the Student Centre.
Several items were brought to the table, including a Haiti Coalition. Santiago began the meeting by stating that the commission meeting is open to every student at UTM. This is a safe space and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Rules and regulations were explained and four new attendees were co-opted, whereby new members were asked to introduce themselves and state why they want to be part of the commission.
One of the first motions brought to the table was Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. Walied Khogali, a member of the UTMSU, discussed the importance of taking action against prorogation. By proroguing Parliament from December to March, they [Parliament] are suspending democracy, said Khogali.
A petition of 400 signatures had been collected (the goal is to collect another 600 signatures).
Santiago explained that a discussion of the expansion of the Student Centre has been in the works for many years. With a project as big as this, you want to do it right, said Santiago. The main advantage for students is a planned food court in the Student Centre. It was stated in previous discussions that the university administration only wants food courts run by food services, not students. Discussions on the topic are ongoing.
For now, the UTMSU commission is planning on starting a committee, which will discuss and plan the expansion. This committee is open to all students at UTM and the first meeting is planned for next week. A formal committee will consist of project planners, architects, the Vice President, UTMSU and the members of the student committee. The goal of the expansion is to find what is best for UTM students and make it happen.
The UTM commission brought forth the idea of a Haiti Coalition, stating that its intention is to collect food, clothing and money for relief efforts in Haiti. Collection areas will be set up in CCT and the South Building, with monitors in both locations displaying news coverage of the devastating natural disaster. All students are welcome to join the coalition as well as donate anything they can. The UTMSU will match fifty cents to each dollar donated, with a maximum of $5,000 on top of all donations that will be collected. UTM will be working alongside the Red Cross and World Vision in collecting donations.
Other motions discussed included starting a bursary of up to $1,200 for Accessibility students and allowing them an option to opt-out of the U-Pass, thereby saving them $97 a year.
Upcoming events on campus were also brought to the table, including Expression Against Oppression Week from February 1 to February 4, which will include the discussion of global issues and two speakers, Angela Davis and Denis Edney, at the St. George campus; Water Awareness Week, taking place at the beginning of February; the screening of the documentary Flow and a guest lecturer; Montreal Reading Week, which includes different packages for students to choose from, and Pride Week from Jan. 18-22. Commission training is also being planned for this month, where students can learn the necessary skills needed during commission meetings as well as those needed to run campaigns alongside UTMSU.