The UTSU failed to ratify an elected board structure in time for its deadline on October 14.
Two possible board structures were debated at the union’s annual general meeting held at St. George on October 7.
Due to changes in the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, UTSU is required to revise its board structure to be compliant with the new law.
The elected board structure proposed by UTSU directors Khrystyna Zhuk and Daman Singh was elected over a second one proposed by former UTSU VP external Grayce Slobodian. Zhuk’s proposal, however, failed to reach a two-thirds majority in the subsequent vote to ratify the structure.
Zhuk‘s proposal featured six appointed, rather than elected, equity directors each responsible for managing one of the following portfolios: racial, women, transgender, LGBQ, indigenous, or disability issues, and also included a clause that would not allow candidates running for UTSU VP equity to run as part of a slate; instead, they would run as an independent.
Another change that the proposal would involve was that Zhuk’s proposal would allow colleges and professional faculties to run internal elections to elect members to the UTSU board of directors and that UTSU’s VP campus life would also be an elected position.
According to legal counsel present at the AGM, Zhuk’s proposal would be considered compliant to the CNCA.
Following Zhuk’s presentation, Slobodian presented the proposal she motioned, which was seconded by Suryana Thappa.
The proposal called for 12 equity directors with portfolios dealing with the following issues or stakeholders: international students, mature students, LGBTQ students, first-year students, indigenous peoples, resident students, and matters involving athletics, disabilities, women’s rights, or sustainability.
Slobodian’s proposal also included VP campus life as an elected position.
Following the presentation of both board structure proposals, students voted on which of the two proposals they preferred. With 607 votes in favour of Appendix A, and 529 in favour of B, Zhuk’s proposal was elected over Slobodian’s.
Following the election of Appendix A, a series of amendments were made to the proposal.
Natalie Petra, an executive on the Arts and Sciences Students’ Union, moved to add a mental wellness commissioner, international student issue commissioner, and a VP of professional faculties to Zhuk’s structure. The amendments were jointly approved by Zhuk and Singh.
Additional amendments approved included the elimination of a clause that originally required candidates for UTSU’s VP equity to run as independents instead of as part of a slate.
The full list of changes to the elected board structure is published in a publically accessible document made available by UTSU.
The decision to pass the board structure required a two-thirds majority to successfully be implemented. The final vote was 562 in favour and 455 against, resulting in a failure to ratify Zhuk’s proposal.
UTSU’s legal counsel, Andrew Monkhouse, addressed concerns about UTSU dissolving if a structure was not fully passed at the meeting. According to Monkhouse, the union would not dissolve.
The Medium reached out to both UTSU president Ben Coleman and UTSU VP internal and services Ryan Gomes to learn of the next steps and when UTSU plans to hold a vote to ratify the elected board structure. Coleman and Gomes did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
Amendments to agenda
At the beginning of the meeting, Petra withdrew her motion, which requested UTSU consider and research the use of electronic voting methods at physical campus polling stations during UTSU elections. Stating she would like to do more research on the accessibility of the proposal, Petra’s motion withdraw was seconded and the item was removed from the agenda.
Madina Siddiqui, president of the Afghan Students Association, moved to add an item to the agenda, which Siddiqui claimed was submitted by the deadline to be included on the agenda. The item was added to the agenda.
Another item was also added to the agenda by a first-year student who argued that he was not able to submit his motion to be included on the agenda by the deadline as he was not enrolled in U of T by the deadline.
Remaining agenda items
The meeting, which lasted approximately five hours, was adjourned while on item three of the agenda.
The successful motion ended the meeting without having addressed several items on the agenda, including the approval of last year’s annual general meeting minutes, the union’s audited financial statements, and the presidential address from UTSU president Ben Coleman.
The meeting was called to order at approximately 6:10 p.m. and was shortly after interrupted by the Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad, a marching band made up of U of T engineering students. The band was escorted out of the meeting by security provided by UTM’s Blind Duck.
Also evicted from the AGM was Joshua Calafato, one of UTSU’s applied science and engineering directors. The exact reason for his removal was not made known.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. It originally said that Grayce Slobodian was formerly UTSU VP internal. She was in fact UTSU VP external. A notice for this correction was printed on October 26, 2015.
Also, it originally stated that the deadline was October 17. It was October 14, the end of the one-year grace period after the original deadline of October 14, 2014. A notice will be printed in the November 30, 2015 issue.