U of T refuses to recognize two student referenda
By Laura Katsirdakis
Two referenda were held at the University of Toronto Scarborough
Campus on Jan. 20 and 21, asking students if they would consent
to be represented by the Scarborough Campus Student Union rather
than the campus-wide student groups. One of the two referenda
was not ratified by the referendum convener, and as a result,
the university’s administration will not recognize the
results of either election.
Full-time students, who are currently represented by the Students’ Administrative
Council, voted 63 per cent in favour of transferring power
to the SCSU. Part-time students, who are represented by the
Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students, voted 82 per
cent against joining SCSU.
“There’s already been two and a half years of
work on this,” explained Dan Bandurka, president of the
SCSU, referring to the attempt to officially move student representation
from SAC to SCSU. Sixteen days before the referendum, U of
T administration demanded a separate referendum be held addressing
part-time students, he said.
The campaign to solicit votes from part-time students was
therefore quite short, Bandurka noted.
“I felt APUS was illegally campaigning on campus,” said
Adam Webson, referendum convener, explaining why he did not
ratify the results of the part-time students’ referendum.
“[APUS] felt this was a threat to their organization;
they didn’t recognize it and felt they were outside of
the campaign rules,” Bandurka said, explaining that APUS
campaign tactics included direct mail, telephoning part-time
students and setting up a booth adjacent to the voting area
on the referendum day.
“The whole process was illegal,” said Chris Ramsaroop,
president of APUS, noting plans to hold a referendum were agreed
upon by SAC and SCSU without consulting APUS. “We were
not involved in the process — then out of the blue a
referendum was called.”
Ramsaroop explained that APUS’s goal was to “educate
our members and let them know that the process was wrong.”
Jim Delaney, assistant director of student affairs at U of
T, confirmed the two referendums would not be recognized by
the university. “SCSU includes full time and part-time
students — it would be improper [to reorganize student
representation] without having part-time student input.”
When asked why the university informed SCSU of the necessity
of a referendum for part-time students so soon before the full-time
student referendum was planned, Delaney explained that the
governing council of the university had to be consulted.
“The governing council recognizes who is the formal
representative of students [according to] the University of
Toronto Act of 1947,” Delaney said, when asked why the
university intervened in the referendum and why their approval
of the results was necessary.
“We are very disappointed in the university,” Bandurka
“The university administration never looks out for the
interest of students,” Ramsaroop said. SAC was unavailable
“We will be meeting with the university to talk about this,” Bandurka
said, adding he did not know what would happen next.