Author: Erin Calhoun

UTSU Elections 2017: We The Students

The Strand talked to the We The Students slate about an accessible and active UTSU for students.   The Strand: How will you make a more transparent UTSU? We The Students: The fact that many students and clubs feel underserved by UTSU, and even more are unfamiliar with what a student union can do for them, is a testament to why we need new leadership in the UTSU. We The Students wants to increase transparency and accessibility of the UTSU by talking to students directly about issues that affect them—tuition fees, sexual violence, and mental health; making ourselves visible on campus so students can access us directly and making sure UTSU representatives are open about what they are working on, and advocating for, on students’ behalf.   TS: How do you plan to allocate funds/advocate for higher waged student jobs/paid internships? WTS: If elected, we plan to build on the momentum on campus and in the city for better wages by lobbying the Office of the Vice-Provost Students and the Governing Council to provide UofT students with meaningful jobs and wages on campus. We will need to work together with professional faculty councils and the University Administration to advocate for students—particularly those in professional faculties—to get better internship opportunities in their fields that pay them a decent wage to help offset the disproportionately higher costs of their tuition. Within...

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UTSU Elections 2017: Demand Better, Mathias Memmel

The Strand sat down with UTSU slate, Demand Better’s Presidential Candidate, Mathias Memmel, to discuss the current reality and future of the UTSU. The Strand: Last year you wrote an article for The Varsity questioning whether the UTSU was worth saving and now you’re running for president. Can you elaborate on that decision? Mathias Memmel: In that article I ended with the conclusion that the UTSU is worth saving but only under a pretense that it would be saved for all students and that’s the guiding philosophy with this team. Students don’t trust the UTSU too much with anything and many of them would prefer that the UTSU be disbanded. I don’t blame them for that, especially when you have an organization that consumes more than half of its annual budget on staff salaries and leaves little left to do anything useful for students. some student unions prioritize advocacy and service, and the UTSU is good at neither. I think that’s the fundamental problem, and, with our team, the idea is that the UTSU can be saved as an institution but it’s got be rebuilt from the ground up. It’s a team dedicated to the complete reinvention of the UTSU. TS: How do you plan to change the image of the UTSU with your slate?  MM: So, I think a lot of people get elected into the UTSU with...

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Pass the sugar, please

Canadian university students take a non-traditional route towards paying off student debt Many college and university students in Canada are investing in relationships with sugar daddies to supplement the costs of rising tuition and living expenses. A sugar baby/daddy relationship is a consensual relationship between two adults where the sugar daddy often provides their partner with material or monetary goods within the relationship. The two parties often share intimacy, companionship, or friendship. U of T is recognized as having the highest number of students, sitting at 683, in Canada involved with SeekingArrangement, one of the leading sites that connects young adults, “sugar babies,” with successful, wealthy adults, “sugar daddies/ mommas” with the interest of engaging in a relationship. Ryerson University falls second on the list of with 577 registered students and University of Guelph, third—with 554. SeekingArrangement caters towards students utilizing their services to find relief from tuition, student debt, and other school related costs. In a press release from the site, it is stated that nearly 207,000 out of roughly 1.7 million students in Canada are utilizing the site as an alternative method of financial aid. On December 15th, the provincial government of Ontario set an overall tuition increase cap of three percent for another two years. Students in Ontario are already paying the highest average tuition for undergraduate degrees for 2016/2017, at $8,114. The lowest average for undergraduates is in Newfoundland and Labrador at $2,759. Brandon Wade, CEO and founder of SeekingArrangement, stated in a press release, “instead of waiting for the government to take action, their students are...

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VUSAC Finance Chair resigns

On December 2nd, VUSAC Finance Chair Nicole* resigned from their position. Co-Presidents Rahul Christofferson and Stuart Norton considered the termination of Nicole due to the neglect of fiduciary responsibilities.  Nicole posted a Facebook status catalyzing the recent discussion around mental health and trans representation around campus. A post by VUSAC that stated the reasoning behind their decision followed their status. Nicole stated their decision to resign was due to the conflict created with the Council relating to their admittance “to a hospital for suicidality”, which resulted in a neglect of their responsibilities within VUSAC. In the Facebook post, Nicole stated...

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