Once a month, a group of undergraduates meet to keep UTMSU in check. On Friday night, the Board of Directors met to discuss and evaluate the activities of various committees.
The Board of Directors is the highest governing body of the UTMSU. Comprised of 14 elected students and the executive members of the union, it is the board’s responsibility to oversee matters of budget and policy.
Executives presented their reports, reflecting on the achievements of the past month and updating the board on important matters. In particular, president Vickita Bhatt discussed Quality Services to Students, the council responsible for the operation, development, and maintenance of student services.
Bhatt reassured the board that the UTMSU will represent the financial concerns of students. UTMSU, said Bhatt, will not support any unjustifiable fee increases without student consultation. Currently, the UTM administration supports increases in services such as the Health and Counselling Centre, Shuttle Service, and the Career Centre.
Board members Gustavo Gutierrez and Peter Buczkowksi showed concern for the extent to which positions within the UTMSU were advertised. While the WUSC coordinator, a paid position, and Division II job postings were listed on the UTMSU website, some board members were displeased with the lack of posters, newsletters, and Facebook announcements advertising the availability of the positions.
According to VP Gilbert Cassar, posters were put up after the Christmas break, once the issue had been raised by board members. He added that UTMSU was occupied with the upcoming Erindale College Council meeting and, as such, certain administrative duties were not given as much attention.
“For things like the Montréal Reading Week trip, Facebook events and groups are made and emails are sent out constantly through newsletters,” said Buczkowksi, a Division III director. “The UTMSU newsletter was not utilized. Facebook was not utilized. And this applies to a lot of job postings.”
Bhatt clarified that issues with hiring procedures can be addressed at the Ministry of Student Services.
“I see no concerns because we’ve had so many applicants. Record amounts of people are applying to our jobs,” said Bhatt. “Let us know and we’ll work with your suggestions.”
Two students ran for the vacant position on Division II. Keshav Uppal and Jeremy Cruz made speeches before the board, both highlighting student services and finance as their main concerns. After extensive debate by the board, Cruz won the position in Division II.
Extensive attention was given to the upcoming elections and the details that were decided upon by the Elections and Referenda Committee. Beginning Monday, February 28, candidates for the UTSU (St. George) will begin their campaigns. Instead of holding the two elections at the same time, UTMSU will hold off until after UTSU candidates have completed their campaigns. This means that UTM students can look forward to a month of student union elections.
“It is unfortunate that for some people [elections are] chaotic and annoying. But it is very exciting. It’s coming to school and finding balloons and flyers and finding people jumping up and down screaming while you’re having lunch,” said Mariya Hassan, a Division III director. “It can be a little annoying, but a lot of us do get excited. There’s so much excitement, including the drama and the newspaper articles that come with it. If you find it annoying then I’m sorry, but I guess that’s just who you are.”
Bhatt explained that since UTSU’s election nomination period begins this week, UTMSU would not have had enough time to advertise for nominations and give notice to members, as per their constitution. As a result, the UTMSU elections will begin in March.
Other board members disagreed with those who were enthusiastic about experiencing two consecutive elections.
“In March, when students have a lot of tests and papers to write, it’s going to be extremely tiring to have to go through two elections,” said Robert Ciszek, a Division III director. “A lot of campaigning happens through class speaks and it can be very disruptive. We should have some limits on how many class speaks are aloud to be done.”
The UTSU elections schedule stretches from February 15 until March 10. On the other hand, UTMSU elections will take place from March 7 to 24.
Students can find UTMSU’s constitution and policies at utmsu.ca, or attend the next board meeting in March.