Former UTSU executive director, Sandra Hudson was hosted by UTMSU during a Black History month event titled “Blackness and Policing” on February 6th. This came a few months after settling a lawsuit with the UTSU leading students to voice their criticism. Hudson was previously sued by UTSU for taking over $277,000 in unemployment pay after being fired from her position in 2015.
In 2015, UTSU filed a lawsuit against Hudson and two other executives after “amounts improperly paid” were given to Hudson following her dismissal from the union. The suit had also listed that Hudson was given over $97,000 in overtime hours. Hudson had settled the lawsuit in November 2017 with an undisclosed amount of money.
Sagal Osman, UTMSU’s VP equity, stated that Hudson was chosen based on her work with Black Lives Matter Toronto.
“Sandy Hudson is a highly chronicled and respected community organizer hailing from the student movement. Her work in CFS and Black Lives Matter Toronto has given her the experience and expertise to speak on the impacts of anti-Black racism in police organizations in Toronto, Peel, and across the country,” Osman stated.
“Our campus, and ultimately, we as a society are at an integral time to actively think about dismantling anti-blackness at all levels,” she added. “We must begin thinking about how to support black students that are dealing with police institutions. We could not have picked a better person to have that dialogue on our campus and it was a privilege to have her.”
UTMSU announced Hudson as their featured speaker on the day of the event. The union’s event page featured a short biography of Hudson’s background and history with BLM Toronto. Her affiliation with UTSU was not discussed.
Osman did not specify why the UTMSU did not choose another BLM spokesperson who as had no ties to UTMSU or UTSU.
UTMSU associates have noted that keynote speakers have been paid for UTMSU events in previous events.
Osman did not address The Medium’s question on whether Hudson received compensation for her speech.
The Medium also reached out to UTSU’s president Mathias Memmel for comment regarding UTMSU’s decision to feature Hudson following the settlement, but did not receive a response, as of press time.
Currently, the UTSU and UTMSU are renegotiating the agreement that binds them as sister unions. The unions have disagreed on issues in the past, such as maintaining membership to CFS, and the UTSU’s decision to dismiss two employees in May of 2017.