Board of Director’s Meeting
The Scarborough Campus Students Union held its Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 26, 2016. The meeting was in session as 14 newly-elected members for their respective academic departments, were present as the official members.
Once settled, VP of Equity, Nafisa Mohamed, read the equity statement, followed by the student union’s president, Jessica Kirk, who gave a rundown of the approval of minutes, approval of CRO reports and the ratification of new members. Sitharsana Srithas, VP of External Affairs, updated the members on the Fight the Fees rally that took place on Nov. 2.
Afterwards, all the directors gave a brief update on changes and decisions made by their department for improvements around campus. Yasmin Rajabi, the VP of Operations, gave a presentation of the budget for the SCSU, speaking to both current and expected expenses for the remainder of the academic year. Thomas Wood, VP of Academics and University Affairs, updated members about the events SCSU is thinking of having to help students de-stress from the hectic school year.
Annual General Meeting
At the Annual General Meeting on Nov.16, Kirk spoke about the success of the Fight the Fees campaign as well as the National Day of Action. The SCSU has been vocal, both on and off campus, about the high tuition fees students in Ontario pay. The National Day of Action campaign was an organized rally to fight for free education.
Next, the receipt for the 2016-2017 SCSU Audited Financial Statement motion was approved. The financial statement included a independent auditors report, and the statement of financial position. The statement was discussed to get the opinions of the directors on operations and changes that are and will be made to the net assets and cash flow during the 2016-2017 academic year. The full financial statement is set to be made available on SCSU’s website.
Kirk then talked about the lobby document, a list of demands for the university presented to UTSC’s upper admin. Some of the notes included in the document were the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, mandatory equity training for staff and faculty, transit issues, and more student space. Kirk mentioned that the executives had proactive conversations with the administration and are continuously following up with them to make sure that they follow through on the discussions.
Kirk continued by talking about the Council on Student Services (CSS). Students part of CSS discussed how services can be improved in the Student Center, such as Health and Wellness, as well as how students can make more use of the Academic Advising and Career Center. The SCSU worked with these students as well as student unions, departmental student associations, and equity service groups to make a report on concerns with the Draft Sexual Violence Policy. Some of the concerns included the investigation processes and the language used in the policy.
Rajabi then talked about some of the things she had done around campus. She mentioned new microwaves had been purchased and should be installed soon. She further agreed to put two microwaves in heavily used areas, as well as add microwaves to different locations around campus. Rajabi also acknowledged student concerns on the rising cost of parking at UTSC. She said, “It’s an important cause, as parking is really expensive. Strategy wise, I can’t do this on my own.” She suggested that a full strategy be made up, as just asking university officials to decrease parking rates won’t work since the university will not easily forgo places where they can make money.
Next, Srithas spoke about transit issues at UTSC. She, alongside other SCSU members have been talking with TTC officials to increase bus services at UTSC. Now, the TTC has implemented changes that allow the 198 Rocket Express bus, that had been running every 12 minute to be running every 10 minutes. Srithas says that they will continue to talk about transit issues with officials.
VP Campus Life, Trina James, shared the events that took place on campus so far, which included the clothing drive that had all proceeds go to the Yonge Street Mission. James highlighted past collaborative events with various associations on campus like karaoke night with AOA (The Association of Accountancy) and the annual UTSC on Ice with the athletics department to get students excited about the upcoming activities on campus.
Wood spoke about events and forums that took place under his portfolio. The academic forum, a meeting that took place in October, was created so students could meet with SCSU executives. The students could discuss academic concerns, issues, and experiences based on the barriers to education that they face, including the lack of study space at UTSC. Wood plans to increase the frequency of this forum by hosting one every month.
Finally, VP Equity, Nafisa Mohamed talked about her ongoing work on campus. This includes attending the Racialized and Indigenous Student Experience Summit (RISE). Mohamed, along with three other students, attended the summit where the aim was to have students come together and develop a common vision to combat racism and colonialism.
Mohamed also highlighted UTSC’s involvement at the Canadian University Queer Service Conference (CUQSC). SCSU sent four representatives to CUQSC consisting of one representative from the Racialized Student Collective (RSC), Scarborough Campus: Out, the Women & Trans* Center, and another student who was not affiliated with a group or club on campus. At the conference, the representatives were able to network, attend workshops, and be part of a much larger discussion on how to create safer spaces on campus.
There was also a motion for Haitian Relief that was submitted by Caribbean Connections on behalf of their Outreach Director Dominic Stephensons. Stephensons said that Haiti is in need of food, water, and medical equipment. This motion was approved, and $500 will be donated towards the cause.
The SCSU encourages all students to talk to them about any issues, events, donations, or problems with study spaces.