The University of Toronto Students’ Union plans to vote on several bylaw amendments, including the addition of vice-president advocacy and the removal of the positions of vice-president external and vice-president university affairs from the executive committee during their Annual General Meeting on Monday, October 30th.
“The current division of labour is inefficient and we’ve been made a point of addressing inefficiencies this year,” stated UTSU’s president Matthias Memmel in an email to The Medium. “Ultimately, the amendment reflects how things have been done for many years, so very little will actually change.”
The VP advocacy will be responsible for chairing the Student Advocacy Commission, representing the UTSU to other student unions, and will focus on promoting the academic interests of the other UTSU members. According to Bylaw VIII in UTSU’s bylaw amendments, this new VP position will combine aspects of VP external and VP internal.
The position of VP external was responsible for representing the UTSU in communications with other post-secondary student unions, as well as national student organizations. The VP external also functioned as the official representation to the Canadian Student’s Federation.
VP university affairs functioned as the acting president in the absence of the union president and VP internal, as well as handled all communications between the union and college, faculty, academic councils, and the central administration. VP university affairs was also responsible for chairing the Academic and Student Rights Commission.
The UTSU president will be responsible for some of the VP university affairs job duties, as well.
“The duties of the VPUA would be split between the president and the new position of VP Advocacy. The VP advocacy would be responsible for academic advocacy as well as external advocacy, and the president would become responsible for relations with the university and relations with other student societies,” Memmel wrote.
If the amendments for Bylaw VIII are approved, both positions of VP external and VP university affairs will be removed from the UTSU’s executive team for the next academic year.
UTSU also seeks to implement a new student advocacy committee under Bylaw XI that would focus on establishing collaborations with outside organizations and advocate for academic and education-based issues.
The union also plans to address concerns regarding its autonomy when joining outside organizations.
According to the AGM agenda, “The UTSU shall not become a member of any organization from which the UTSU would not be able to withdraw via a vote of the Board of Directors,” and “The UTSU shall not enter into any perpetual agreement that cannot be terminated by a vote of the Board of Directors.”
Last year, the UTSU has released multiple statements declaring their interest in leaving the Canadian Federation of Students due to disagreements with some actions, such as the delayed releasing of audit reports.
The UTSU’s AGM will be taking place on Monday 30th at 6pm at the St. George Campus. All members of the UTSU will be eligible to vote on the proposed bylaw amendments, including all members of the UTMSU.