Social media rife with U of T news, both serious and silly
NOV 23, 2012 | BY YUKON DAMOV
UTSU event pages are a particularly volatile and active corner of U of T’s social media landscape. Prior to September’s UTSU Emergency Townhall, conversation on the event’s Facebook page was preoccupied with the purported absence of former Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Glen Murray, at the actual event.
Today, UTSU is hosting their Annual General Meeting and City Councillor Adam Vaughn is the guest speaker. The event’s Facebook page is full of useful information: samosas will be served as light refreshment, “John Smith and 8 other people are going,” UTSU is hosting another event tomorrow night, and, oh, proxy voting forms were due November 16.
The first post, on November 7, was from Felicity Ni and read, “I have class from 6-9. :( Can I get someone to proxy for me?” It was a harbinger of what would later become a controversial topic: proxy voting.
Two days later, Sam Greene posted four proposed bylaw changes to be discussed at the AGM. Without any knowledge of student politics, a reader would not recognize him as head of the Trinity College Meeting, the highest level of student government at Trinity College. He didn’t mention whether the proposals were submitted by TCM. Proposal 1 would amend UTSU “By-law III, Meetings, 4. Proxy” to read “Proxies not permitted.”
By Monday, Nov 19, proxy voting had become newsworthy of print while the rhetoric on Facebook intensified. The Varsity published an article entitled “Opposing factions battle for proxy votes” Monday morning.
That evening Calvin Mitchell, Trinity’s representative on the UTSU Board of Directors, posted a particularly incendiary part of the article on the event page. Allegedly, a “petition” passed around at a Hindu Students’ Council Diwali event was actually a proxy form. The students were supposedly told that this petition was countering one signed by “15,000 to 16,000 Trinity students” which called for the abolishment of the Hindu Students’ Council.
“This has to be enough to at least initiate an investigation into the UTSU,” posted Ramin Gharavi in response.
Shaun Shepherd and UTSU vice-president-internal, Corey Scott, who were linked in another response to Mitchell’s post, did not comment.
Things intensified when a photo of a text sent by Noor Baig, VP Equity, was posted and admonished for entreating a friend to come to the event “because there are a lot of randoms who are going to be there just to make a mess.”
The post garnered 139 replies. The reply that garnered the most “Likes,” at about halfway through the thread (read at 2:15 am Thursday morning), was a video posted by Benjamin Dionne: a clip of Ron Burgundy entitled, “That Escalated Quickly.”
On the same event page, Sam Greene announced Sunday evening that the next day’s TCM meeting would include a motion of no-confidence in the UTSU Executive. It would be resolved TCM would condemn the UTSU for “(i) Refusing to accept legitimate proposals for discussion at the AGM; (ii) Uttering intentionally false, obfuscatory, and misleading statements about deadlines and rules for the AGM; and (iii) Uttering intentionally false, obfuscatory, and misleading statements about deadlines and rules for the AGM.”
The motion also called for Corey Scott, responsible for these actions as VP Internal, to resign and for TCM and other campus stakeholders to present a letter of complaint to Jill Matus, U of T Vice Provost Students, outlining that UTSU has infringed upon university bylaws by its “egregious conduct in relation to the AGM.”
After some discussion in the thread, Jonathan Scott, President of U of T Young Liberals and former head of TCM, replied, “btw: this passed, unanimously.”
The AGM takes place this Thursday, 6-9PM, at the Medical Sciences Building RM 3153. WIll the event page figure in the discussion? Will UTSU acknowledge the criticisms expressed on the page? Find the Facebook group 'UTSU Annual General Meeting with Adam Vaughn' by clicking here.
- Subtitle: UTSU Facebook event page generates debate and acrimony ahead of AGM