By Edward Djan
The Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) appointed new vice-presidents operations and education at the October Board of Directors (BoD) meeting.
Spyros Zarros was appointed to be the new vice-president operations after Salar Syed resigned from the position in August.
Syed sent an email to The Eyeopener in the summer where he said his time at the TMSU has “been extremely challenging.” He also alleged the students’ union has “not been able to achieve anything impactful.”
Former TMSU Senate representative Nathan Sugunalan was appointed to the position of vice-president education as well, after Umar Abdullah announced his resignation from the role at the July BoD meeting.
Abdullah said at the July meeting that he was leaving for another opportunity.
Joel Kuriakose, the Board of Governors representative, alleged during the meeting that the appointments of both Zarros and Sungunalan went against the TMSU’s bylaws, citing bylaws 6.101 and 6.102.
Bylaw 6.101 states that if a position on the executive becomes “vacant in either summer or winter terms; an interim appointment by the president will be made and ratified by the Board of Directors by a 2/3 majority vote.”
Bylaw 6.102 further specifies that, “for vacancies during the fall term, there will be a by-election.”
Gerges responded to Kuriakose’s claim by telling the board that since both vacancies happened in the summer, it is within her power to appoint new people for the open positions.
Gerges also acknowledged that the bylaws can be difficult to understand. “We all know there are a lot of issues with the current bylaws, which is why the governance committee is doing a deep dive to change them.”
While Kuriakose did abstain from both votes to appoint Zarros and Sugunalan, the motions ultimately passed.
The two will serve in their respective positions until the end of the 2022-23 term, which ends in April 2023.
Athletic groups funding
A tabled motion from last month’s BoD meeting to release $18,100 in promised funding by the old TMSU executive to some non-varsity athletic groups has been referred to the finance committee.
The motion to refer was brought by Sugunalan, who said during the meeting that he wanted the newly appointed VP operations to have a say in the decision.
“We have a vice-president of operations, who is responsible for spearheading that committee. I think this will be a lot smoother than maybe the first time around,” Sungunalan said.
The decision to refer came after a report looking into the promised funds was presented to the student groups committee prior to the meeting.
According to vice-president student life and events Ozi Molokwu, the report and the student groups committee found that the process of applying for athletics grants needs to be changed to ensure uniformity in requirements from year to year.
The committee also found that the funds should be released to the affected non-varsity athletic groups, with Molokwu adding that “the process was laid out and funds were promised.”
The meeting went in-camera to present the findings of the report to board members not present when it was talked about at the student groups committee meeting.
The original motion to release the funds to the non-varsity athletic groups was brought forward by Gus Cousins at the September BoD meeting. “It’s now on [the TMSU] to follow through on those things,” he said at this month’s meeting.
During September’s BoD meeting, a motion to treat non-varsity athletic groups who apply for grant funding as affiliate groups until April 2023 passed.
The motion allows non-varsity athletic groups to apply for up to $2,500 in funding each academic year. Cousins said during last month’s meeting the motion was important since there was previously no formal way for non-varsity athletic groups to apply for funding.
A motion brought forward by Gerges to create a rebranding committee tasked with looking at various factors, such as costs, was passed.
Gerges said the committee is open to any board member to join and will comprise of at least the following:
TMSU board members:
- President: Marina Gerges
- Vice-president operations: Spyros Zarros
- Three faculty directors
Staff members (non-voting members):
- Graphic designer & coordinator: Ranj Dheria
- Communications coordinator: David Jardine
- Executive director: Reanna Maharaj
- Director of programming: Corey Scott
The TMSU is rebranding after the university’s decision to change its name to Toronto Metropolitan University.
Recently, the TMSU changed its website domain from “rsuonline.ca” to “yourtmsu.ca.” Anyone using old domains to access the students’ union’s website or send emails will be redirected to the new one.
Funding for the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support
A motion to allocate $10,582 in funding to cover the cost of “orientation, operations and promotional items” for the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support (CSSSVS) was passed.
Since the TMSU does not have an approved operating budget for the current fiscal year, the board would have to approve the CSSSVS’ expenses, according to the motion.
Spooky Season Plans
A motion to earmark $25,000 towards Halloween initiatives passed. Some of the planned events include a pub night, pumpkin carving, open house and a trip to Canada’s Wonderland’s Halloween Haunt, according to the motion.
Molokwu, who is the vice-president student life and events said at the meeting that a significant part of the $25,000 is for the trip to Canada’s Wonderland.
She added that the TMSU is expected to generate “a lot of revenue” from the trip since they will be charging students for tickets.
Semi-Annual General Meeting
A motion was passed to schedule the Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) on the week of Nov. 21.
The motion also tasked the governance committee with looking into whether the SAGM would be hosted in-person, digitally or in a hybrid format.
According to TMSU bylaw 8.20, both SAGMs and Annual General Meetings (AGM), “shall be held on campus.” This bylaw was not followed during the height of the pandemic when most campus operations, including TMSU meetings, being transitioned online.
TMSU bylaw 8.18 states that SAGMs are held in the fall, while AGMs are held in the winter.