January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

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U of T pushes student vote

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

The University of Toronto administration has pressured a campus student group to hold a referendum, a move that could put into question the existence of another student group.

According to an unnamed source from the Student Administrative Council, the administration at U of T has the right to intervene in student political affairs based on a section of the university’s 1972 act, which itself refers to a 1942 act. “The university can dictate what the student council can and can’t do,” the source said.

“The university basically influenced [the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union] into doing this referendum,” said Chris Ramsaroop, president of the Association of Part Time Undergraduate Students, the student group threatened by a referendum of part time students to join the SCSU and end their association with APUS. “They don’t have the right to interfere in student politics.”

In an e-mail obtained by The Gazette, to SCSU President Dan Bandurka and several other student politicians, U of T assistant director of student affairs, Jim Delany, pressed the need for the SCSU to hold the referendum.

“It would be acceptable, having demonstrated the intent to collaborate, to ask such a referendum question to part-time undergraduate [University of Toronto Scarborough Campus] students without the consent of APUS,” Delany said in the e-mail.

“The referendum is something that has been ongoing,” Bandurka said, noting that for the last three years there were discussions between SCSU, APUS and the SAC (which represents all three of U of T’s campuses). “Just this summer, we got into serious negotiations with SAC.”

According to Bandurka, the referendum was prompted by a need for proper representation after unprecedented growth in full-time enrollment the Scarborough Campus has experienced in recent years. “We’re taking the brunt of the growth from the double cohort,” he said.

Ramsaroop said APUS opposed the referendum because of the university administration’s interference, adding such a move would threaten representation of part-time students at Scarborough Campus. “There’s been a concerted effort to get rid of the student voice.”

“They’re concerned that part-time students won’t be properly represented — APUS has been very, very unwilling to sit at the table,” Bandurka said, adding APUS sought a court injunction, but an agreement was made earlier this week when both sides settled out of court.



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