Last year, Fresh UTM was elected on a platform that promoted making fees more affordable for students and increasing student services. The elected team consisted of president Salma Fakhry, vice-president university affairs and academics Maya Tomkiewicz, vice-president internal Vikko Qu, vice-president equity Sagal Osman, and vice-president external Jose Wilson. The executives have been in office since May 2017 until the end of April of 2018.

President

Among the points Salma Fakhry mentioned in an introduction video posted on the UTMSU’s Facebook page in September this academic year, was that for her term in office, her “eyes are on the Student Centre expansion.” The UTMSU has not presented any information to students regarding an expansion or held a referendum to poll student’s opinions regarding an expansion.

Previous UTMSU executives have lobbied for an expansion but have stated that the project will be costly and require time to develop a concrete plan. The UTMSU has argued that the Student Centre is at maximum capacity due to the large increase of student enrolment and how more space is needed.

Fakhry has taken a leave of absence from March 5th to March 22nd, which coincides with the campaign period of the current UTMSU executive elections.

She has not respond to The Medium for comment on her team’s campaign points last year and their achievements this year.

Vice-president university affairs and academics

Announced on their Facebook page on March 21st that the UTMSU has been lobbying for two new grade forgiveness policies for students over the course of the academic year including a midterm deferral policy and a course retake policy.

According to the Facebook post, the midterm deferral policy would allow students to take an exam or to submit an assignment with no further documentation required.

The course retake policy would impact the grades shown on a student’s transcript if they have taken the same course twice. The policy would only show the second mark achieved if a student retook a course for their degree. Currently, if a student retakes a course at UTM, the original mark would still be a part of the student’s CGPA, even though both marks would be visible on a student’s transcript.

“This has been a long discussion at UTM for the past six years. We now have made significant growth and headway in negotiation and guidance with the UTM dean of academics, UTM registrar, and various department chairs who now see the merits of an academic policy that seeks to forgive students for a mark that damages their GPA so long as they seek to get a better mark the second time around,” read the UTMSU Facebook post.

“We are committed to ensuring academic policies exist to preserve and ensure greater mental health for all students. We recognize that first and second year is daunting for many, where they may not have all the skills necessary to achieve the best marks,” the post continued.

Vice-president internal

According to the UTMSU’s introduction video in September 2017, a part of Vikko’s Qu campaign points was to provide new services for students and continue to work towards a new GPA UPASS. In September, the UTMSU handed out pamphlets to students picking up their UPASS to survey who would be interested in a GTA transit pass. The results of the surveys were not released by UTMSU.

During Qu’s election period, he stated that they would be hosting a referendum following the survey collection data. The UTMSU has not released any updates regarding their work on a larger UPASS or their negotiations or held a referendum following the transit survey in September.

Qu did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment on his work this past year.

Vice-president equity

One of the main campaign points that the vice-president equity, Sagal Osman, focused on was opening the Equity Centre for UTM. “This year, she is focused on opening UTM’s first ever Equity centre,” stated UTMSU president Salma Fakhry in UTMSU’s executive video in September 2017.

Fresh UTM promised to open the equity centre since September.

The Medium in October 2017, “The UTMSU is very excited to have our own equity service centre. Not only will it be a space for folks to access valuable information and other types of resources, but it will also be a safe space that allows individuals to decompress and organize with other community members that they identify with.”

A sign on the room in the Student Centre reads “Coming soon” and has been posted for over a year. The centre has not been established and the space has remained unused.

Osman did not respond to request for comment on her work as vice-president equity this year.

Vice president external

Jose Wilson pledged to bring more food trucks on campus to provide more food options to students. A poutine and Beavertail food trucks could be commonly seen outside the CCT building several times a month over the course of the year.

Wilson also promised to promote the Fight the Fees campaign on campus. Last year, a National Day of Action was held downtown in Queen’s park to protest high tuition fees. This year UTMSU hosted a Provincial Day of Action in the Student Centre, which included a banner drop detailing points regarding free tuition, cheaper transit and OHIP for international students.

Wilson also did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment on his work in office this year.

The UTMSU has established several different bursaries for students to assist with textbooks, accessibility needs, and child-care needs. The team has also helped host a Tax Clinic to help students file their taxes. Other promises made by the team included OHIP coverage for International students, and making university life easier and more accommodating for international and part-time students.

None of the current UTMSU executives responded for a comment on any of the work they have done while in office this year.