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TMSU passes motion for non-varsity athletic groups to be recognized as affiliate groups

By Prapti Bamaniya

The Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) passed a motion to recognize all non-varsity athletic groups at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) as affiliate groups until April 2023 at the Board of Directors (BoD) meeting on Sept. 20.

Gus Cousins, a Creative School director and the mover for this motion, said that prior to this, there was no formal way for non-varsity athletic groups to apply for funding. Becoming affiliate groups will allow them to apply for up to $2500 in funding for the academic year, according to the motion.

According to the TMSU Policy For Adoption Affiliate Groups, an affiliate group is “a group comprised of [TMSU] members who share an interest in academic related projects, academic programme-based issues, political views, or creating a [TMU] chapter of a third-party non-profit organization.”

Budget limits for affiliate groups were also increased by $500 at the meeting. Previously, groups were eligible to apply for up to $2000 in grant funding per academic year, with a withdrawal limit of $1000 per semester, according to the policy. Now, they can apply for up to $2500 and have no semester limit. 

This month’s meeting agenda included a motion to release $18,100 of funding granted to some non-varsity athletic clubs approved by the previous 2021-22 union. The board voted to table the motion at the meeting to be reconsidered by the finance committee within two weeks.

Faculty of science director, Sherry Pourghaz*, tabled the motion, saying she didn’t feel comfortable allocating such a large amount of money without further consideration.

“I think the finance committee should have time to consider it,” she said. “If [the committee] wants to provide that money or a limited to less amount, that would be a better option.”

Here is everything else you missed at the September BoD meeting:

Filling Vacant Positions

TMSU president Marina Gerges said the vice-president operations and vice-president education positions, which are currently vacant, will be filled within the next two weeks. 

The jobs were posted online on Sept. 9, and Gerges said she will be holding interviews for applicants and making a decision in consultation with current vice-presidents. She added that the new hires will be ratified at the next BoD meeting. 

Gerges said she would also like to fill the vacant financial controller position, but did not provide a timeline for when that would be done. She is currently using finance consultant, Priya Paul, and financial coordinator, Angelina George, to handle payroll. 

 “We are most definitely hiring a financial controller and I have been talking to my executive director constantly about this position,” Gerges said.

Gerges also said she plans to hire a short-term communications coordinator to “assist with the return on campus, the planning process, the rebranding and membership development.”

Purchasing new computers and IT support

The TMSU will spend $10,408.23 for IT support to replace computers that were damaged when a pipe burst in the Student Campus Centre last January, causing a flood.

“We are definitely in a stage of relaunching and this requires significant new purchases,” said Gerges. “This is one that is necessary to ensure that we have computers available [for] staff and executives to work from the office.” 

TMSU Chair was offered a new position as programming director

The TMSU has offered Corey Scott, the current chair of the union, a six-month contract as the director of programming. 

The purpose of this role is to aid with human resource structure, as it is currently “under-resourced and stretched thin,” according to the meeting agenda.

“My hope is that this will help alleviate the immediate needs that we have related to reopening, rebranding and meeting the needs of our members, as well as providing critical support and guidance for staff and Board of Directors,” Gerges said.

Gerges said the position of chair is now vacant and will require a hiring process.

Concerns with the vice-president equity

Members of the equity committee said vice-president equity, Areesha Qureshi, has not been communicating with them. Dalia Chami, a member of the equity committee, said that she hasn’t received emails or updates from Qureshi about equity events. Pourghaz said she hasn’t seen Qureshi participate in the events she’s planned, either. 

Olivia Okoro, another equity committee member, said she feels in the dark about equity committee planning matters.

“I would just like to request that you just get us involved,” she told Qureshi at the meeting. 

“You’re cutting events,” added Okoro, saying the committee feels out of the loop on what is happening within the equity committee.

Qureshi responded to these allegations with an apology and said she did not know she had to provide updates.

“First of all, I’m really sorry,” she said. “For whatever updates, if you want you can always reach out to me and you can email me and I will provide you with those.”

She told those with concerns to discuss their issues with her after the meeting. 

Ratifying a course union committee director

Ayra Rajpal was ratified as the course union’s committee director for the rest of the 2022-23 academic year. 

Ozioma Molokwu, vice-president student life, said the position is very important because “[The TMSU] wants to build or rebuild [their] relationship with course unions this year.” 

New Lincoln Alexander School of Law representative

Kian Rastegar was ratified as the board’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law representative. Rastegar is also currently the president of the Lincoln Alexander Law Students’ Society.

Gerges requested the next board meeting take place in two weeks to ratify chosen candidates for the vacant vice-president operations and education positions and to discuss the tabled funding motion within its deadline. 

*A previous version of this article listed this source under a different name but has since been updated to reflect the source’s preferred identification.

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