The Trent Part-time Student Association (TPSA) passed its referendum to merge with the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) with an 84% vote in favour. This merger has been in the works since the beginning of the school year and incorporates the two student associations into one.
The merger will be substantially implemented over the summer and changes will come into effect September 1. The TCSA will be hiring a student position to work on implementing these changes, which will involve reviewing the TCSA Constitution and getting part-time students included on TCSA Health and Dental insurance.
Up until September 1, the TPSA will continue to represent part-time students. As summer students are all part-time students, the TPSA is planning on maintaining all of their current programming and advocacy work. Current TPSA President Ashley Bonner, in an interview with Arthur, said that she is hoping that the TCSA will be open to collaborating
with the TPSA over the summer to host these events for summer students.
In the fall, during the TCSA by-elections, the future part-time student constituency of the TCSA will elect two new board positions to represent them. The TCSA will also offer a job for a part-time student in the office.
In terms of services, part-time students will be able to opt-in to the TCSA bus pass for $277. In the original proposal, this opt-in fee was slated as $262 with a $20 additional fee. This fee has since been scrapped. And due to the TCSA’s referendum question to increase the charges for the bus pass, the fee will now be increased.
In the fall, part-time students taking 2.0-3.0 credits will be automatically included in the TCSA’s Health and Dental Plan, with an option to opt-out. Students taking 1.5 credits or less will have the option to opt-in.
Additional to all of this, part-time students will now be eligible to receive all of TCSA’s regular programs like exam care packages, etc.
The referendum process had a slight hiccup with the online voting mechanism. Bonner recounted that as she and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) were doing promotions for the vote, many part-time students told her that they had not received the email that had the link to the ballot. The issue was resolved by the IT department late in the week so Bonner motioned to the TPSA board to extend the voting period, which was unanimously passed. It was for this reason that the voting period was extended until Monday March 16, giving students an opportunity to vote.
The referendum was also exceptionally close to not making its quorum. With quorum being 131 submissions (15% of the part-time student body), the referendum received just 132 votes. Bonner said, “I wondered if we were going to reach quorum, but luckily there were a few people who came through!”
This represents an exciting time for students and will hopefully mean a student association that can best represent its constituents. Bonner’s enthusiasm shone through the whole interview. She said, “I’d like to thank everyone that voted. I’m very happy, and it’s not necessarily with the result, but I’m happy that everyone came out to vote.”