I am pleased to see the UTMSU attempting to address allegations against them as this is rarely done by these individuals, who have had more than their share of scandals this year including mismanagement of proxy votes, a more than generous $1,000 donation toward a legal defence fund, questionable use of student dollars towards a protest and now denying a student attendance at a Canadian Federation of Students meeting.
I personally found the letter submitted by the UTMSU a poor excuse for trying to portray any resemblance to anything true or factual as they claim in their letter.
I will try to help break down the issues and provide UTMSU with much needed clarification for the facts that they so desperately want addressed.
Firstly, in their letter, UTMSU seems to believe that The Medium published more than one article on the matter. This is the first fact I will address.
There was only one news article published on the matter. What is published on the opinion page is not in any way promoted as a news article—it is, surprisingly enough, an opinion, voiced by our Editor-in-Chief, any reader of our newspaper who wishes to have their voice heard, and other editors.
Secondly, in their letter, UTMSU claimed that neither the President nor the VP external mention Ms. Marottas affiliation with The Medium as a reason for her application being rejected when they were interviewed by The Medium. The attempt to address any sort of fact in this case is deeply flawed. Im not quite sure who exactly wrote this letter, which was signed by all members of the executive committee, but they must have skimmed through the part where VP external Henry Ssali is quoted saying he felt disheartened that the executive committee voted to deny a fellow student [also a UTMSU stakeholder] from attending the CFS semi-AGM because of her affiliation with another campus organization. This was in fact a direct statement from Ssali, and was confirmed by Santiago, who shared with me that executive committee members had concerns with Ms. Marottas position.
I realize it may not be ideal that executive committee members felt the need to go on the record to discuss the reasons behind this decision, which was clearly supposed to be left behind closed doors (the same doors that UTMSU boasts are open to all students). This, however, is not The Mediums fault—had no UTMSU executive felt the need to voice his disagreement and concern with a decision made by the Union, he simply wouldnt have done so.
UTMSU also believes that The Medium somehow spun the story to portray them in a negative light. I propose the opposite: how about the UTMSU stops making poor decisions that bring themselves into the pages of The Medium?
In my interview with the President, Joey Santiago did not state that the reason Ms. Marotta was denied was due to the colour of her skin. Nor did The Medium state that it was. We did, however, further explore the policy implemented by the CFS that offers students who belong to a minority group a discount of $75, and we quoted Ssali, who had concerns with this being the reason for Ms. Marottas rejection. For the members of UTMSU, who skimmed through this part too, Ssali said he never had problems sending delegates because I never registered any student out of the constituency groups.
UTMSU also claims that not all members agree with the implementation of this policy. I must ask: if not all members of UTMSU agree with this policy (according to their letter), why has this issue not been raised to the Canadian Federation of Students? Why is it being followed by the student union?
And while UTMSU raises their concerns over accommodation costs for the meeting and wisely spending student dollars—well, its a shame this has only kicked in now. With a track record of spending nearly $975 on the same individual to attend three CFS meetings this year alone, a member who, by the way, is not an elected representative, I wonder if pricey accommodation costs and student dollars were considered then.
I do give credit to the UTMSU for identifying the messy situation that has resulted from their decision making, and though I agree there has been miscommunication (especially in their letter trying to address facts), I believe miscommunication can be prevented when honest answers are given and strategic lies to discredit The Medium is put to an end.
P.S. This is not a news article