UTMSU was noticeably absent from UTSU’s special general meeting held Wednesday where a board structure was officially passed following over a year of consultation and rejected proposals.
The meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m., over an hour late.
Partway through the proceedings, The Medium confirmed that UTMSU did not Skype into the meeting, held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
In a statement released to The Medium on Sunday, UTMSU said that it is considering “lobbying and legal action to prevent the implementation of the changes” and next steps will be determined at the UTMSU board of directors meeting, scheduled to be held on November 30.
UTSU president Ben Coleman said at the meeting that UTMSU made an official request to UTSU on Monday to participate in the meeting via Skype. According to Coleman, UTSU responded to the request on Tuesday to confirm that UTMSU could Skype in.
According to UTMSU’s statement, “Staff of UTSU officially responded to the request on Wednesday, November 18 at 2:03 p.m., less than three hours before the registration of the Special General Meeting.”
However, UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe told The Medium shortly after noon on Wednesday that “[UTMSU was] able to get folks to allow us to Skype in and we will be participating that way”. At the time, Agbeyegbe was unsure of where UTMSU would Skype from.
Agbeyegbe did not respond to follow up requests for comment.
Last Monday, Agbeyegbe sent an email to UTMSU members asking students to contact him in the event that they were interested in attending the meeting via Skype.
According to the email, UTMSU requested that UTSU reschedule Wednesday’s meeting for six reasons, which included “a severe lack of accommodation for students with disabilities at the last AGM” and issues related to the scheduling of the meeting so close to UTMSU’s own annual general meeting the Thursday prior.
Agbeyegbe said in the email, “It will be difficult for UTM commuters to come out again” to the UTSU meeting held six days following the UTMSU AGM.
“There is no need to pass any bylaw amendments as the UTSU already passed bylaw changes to be compliant with the CNCA,” said Agbeyegbe in the email. “Postponing the general meeting to January 28th will have no impact on the organization.”
The email also indicated “a need to have a fresh start to the consultations regarding a new board structure”, calling on the union “to do more consultation and come back with a better board structure for the union”.
Also mentioned by Agbeyegbe was a petition organized by U of T Afghan Students Association president Madina Siddiqui, which called upon UTSU to postpone the meeting until January 28, the date of the union’s special general meeting scheduled to address items put forth by UTSU members at the union’s original October 7 AGM agenda.
The board structure passed at the meeting on Wednesday was an amended version of the Zhuk/Singh proposal elected at UTSU’s AGM in October. The structure received a final vote of 2,076 in favour, 44 opposed, and 1 abstention.