Student elections, Online Voting, and New Clubs
By Isaiah Hazelwood
The evening of November 17th, students gathered in the George Ignatieff Theater and over Zoom for the second Trinity College Meeting (TCM) of the 2022-2023 year. The agenda included elections for student positions in Trinity Governance, changes to the allocation of money for clubs, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow online voting, and approval of mandates for several Trinity College clubs.
The opening announcements concluded with a reflection of the stress of ongoing midterms and expressed the common student sentiment as a quote from John F. Kennedy: “Help, I’ve been shot.” The joke earned chuckles from the audience, but also reflected a truth seen in the number of students absent from the TCM. Only the first two rows of the theater were full, so the minimum of 30 people required to start the meeting was met after online attendees began joining the Zoom call. Attendees hoped for increased attendance after exams end and students become available again. Nevertheless, the TCM Chair Chelsea Tho proposed moving the following TCM online for more convenient attendance.
Following opening announcements from the Student Heads, the TCM voted on candidates for several unfilled governance positions:
- Alex McLean was elected as the Chief Returning Officer, who supervises the upcoming Trinity College governance election in the spring semester.
- Kaelem Moniz was elected as a member-at-large of the Trinity College Board of Stewards, which reviews constitutional changes and club mandates.
- Megan Yeung was elected as a member-at-large of the Finance Committee, which is a standing committee of the TCM responsible for the finances of the TCM and Trinity clubs.
- Eduard Haertel and Megan Yeung were elected as TCM Equipment Curators, who are responsible for maintaining the audio-visual equipment at TCM events.
- Alex McLean and Dalia Golcovo were ratified as upper-year advisors to the First Year Committee, which is a group of first-year students representing the needs of all first years to the TCM.
Several governance positions were left unfilled due to a lack of student candidates. These positions, including member-at-large of the Finance Committee, Residence and Non-residence Heads of Fourth Year, and Residence Head of Third Year, will be re-opened for candidates at the following TCM.
After filling student positions, the TCM voted to approve an amendment to the TCM’s Fiscal Policy. While each Trinity College club was previously permitted to maintain an individual bank account, many clubs led to large combined bank fees. In addition, club bank accounts complicated the process of clubs overspending from their assigned budget or returning surpluses to the Finance Committee. To reduce bank fees and improve supervision of club finances, Imran Koehnen presented an amendment to consolidate all finances into a single Finance Committee bank account which will reimburse clubs for operation expenses. The amendment also increases the maximum budget of new clubs to $700, from $400, to assist with new student clubs.
Following the approval of the Fiscal Policy amendment, Tourang Movahedi presented an amendment to the TCM constitution. Most proposals presented at the TCM, like the previous amendment to the Fiscal Policy, take effect immediately after voting. However, amendments to the TCM constitution, including his, require approval of a two-thirds majority at two consecutive TCMs. Tourang’s amendment introduced online referendums for TCM constitutional amendments: after an amendment is presented at a TCM, an online vote on the amendment would be open for 7 days. Tourang hoped “to make [voting] more accessible … for commuters and non-res students who can’t make the TCM regularly,” and included an additional clause so “online referendum voting can also be used to vote on things which aren’t constitutional amendments, at the discretion of the TCM chair.” This amendment received over two-thirds support, so will be voted on again at the following TCM before taking effect.
As the final item of the TCM, Trinity College clubs presented mandates and budgets for approval by the TCM. Many clubs previously proposed budgets at the first TCM or previous Finance Meetings, but clubs presenting at this TCM included:
- Trinity College International Friends, which pairs first year international students with upper year international students for mentorship.
- Trinity College Multicultural Society, which holds events to raise awareness and appreciation for all cultures.
- Trinity College Book Club, which meets regularly to discuss books.
- Trinity Women in Leadership, which provides mentorship for female-identifying students and encourages female leadership.
- The Trinity Times, which provides student journalism for Trinity College and the U of T Campus.
The TCM ended with satisfaction from the representatives of approved clubs, the newly-elected student leaders, and all the students attending to support the Fiscal and Constitutional Amendments. If any students are interested in attending the following TCM or submitting proposals to Trinity Governance, follow their Instagram page to receive updates and reminders about upcoming meetings.