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TCSA Reveals Plans, Events, and Strategies for the 2023/2024 Academic Year

Written by
David King
and
and
October 17, 2023
TCSA Reveals Plans, Events, and Strategies for the 2023/2024 Academic Year
Graphic by Evan Robins

The Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) Board of Directors convened for their second meeting of the academic year on October 15th, following an eventful first month back for the Association—which included an executive resignation, a by-election, and several promotional events under the Association's belt.

The meeting consisted mainly of Executive Report presentations for the period of September 17th to October 15th, and began with Vice President Student Health & Wellness, Bri Policicchio. 

Policicchio began with a brief overview of her Committee obligations, starting with a joint meeting she had with the FoodService Advisory Committee. This included discussions of turning the dining area of now-defunct ‘76 Sips into a new weight room in the Athletic Centre, citing “increased demand” for workout space. 

During her report, Policicchio also brought up conversations Association executives and staff had been having regarding the events of Head of the Trent (HOTT). Specifically, she mentioned the event coinciding with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which drew criticism from Indigenous students and community members

Policicchio would later detail her community cleanup event following HOTT, describing it as “successful in the aspects of student and community feedback” in light of  her previous admission of the destruction of HOTT wrought. She later delved into events she facilitated, which included September 26th’s Harm Reduction Fair, overseeing the deployment of the Party Safer kits which contain drug testing equipment, information cards and “Nightcap®” drink-spiking prevention scrunchies. VP Policicchio spoke to the success of this kit, expressing students’ appreciation for this particular initiative.

VP Campaigns & Equity, Alexx Bodden, was next to present her Executive Report, starting with another update regarding her involvement in Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) committees and planning for CFS’ “National Day of Action” on November 8th. Bodden discussed meeting with the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA) about the Day of Action to ensure that departments and faculty were informed on student absenteeism during the Day of Action. 

Following the presentation of her report, VP Bodden was asked by Gzowski College Cabinet President, Emily Johnston. about the framework Bodden was planning for the National Day of Action. Bodden noted that CFS was providing chartered buses from Peterborough to Toronto for the event, and Bodden herself was planning an array of preparatory events—most notably a banner drop and the facilitation of t-shirts to demarcate “the sea of Trent Green.” VP Bodden also noted that she was waiting for the newly elected VP University and College Affairs to facilitate Town Halls regarding this event and “to give the membership a platform to voice their opinions, concerns and suggestions,” according to the Executive Strategy Plan presented later in the meeting. Bodden left soon after giving her report due to illness. 

The Executive Reports concluded with the President’s Report, delivered by Aimee Anctil, the first item of note being Anctil’s facilitation of an interview regarding the potential transit strike with ATU 1320 President Cory MacLeod, alongside General Manager Tracy Milne and Lady Eaton College Prime Minister Noah Edwards. During the time allotted for questions, Gzowski College Cabinet President Emily Johnston asked Anctil for more details surrounding what the TCSA’s response to a potential transit strike might look like. Anctil described discussions arofund showing up to “march,” even though TCSA has “no firm word” from ATU 1320 on their strike. Anctil was explicit in the position to not hire outside contractors during the strike. When pushed further about how students will be impacted by this strike, should it occur, Anctil brought up how the Association has been in discussions for potential mitigation measures like carpooling, and more drastic possibilities, such as advocating for the outright hybridization or cancellation of classes.

Shortly thereafter, Board Resource Manager Wendy Walker, in her role as Board Election Officer, then presented the results and overview of the Fall Election. Walker noted how it was the first year the Elections Committee utilized infraction forms, detailing the infraction, its recipient, and what election by-law was violated. This was implemented as a transparency measure, as there were more infractions given out during this by-election than usual, which resulted in the removal of Vice President University & College Affairs candidate Moeez Khawar as a result. 

The results of the Election were then ratified, with only 1,126 students submitting a ballot out of 10,120 registered undergraduate constituents for an overall turnout of 12.02%. Prime Minister Edwards inquired about an overview of election policy, to which Walker stated that she would be reviewing applicable bylaws at the recommendation of former Board Resource Manager Matt Seaby, who was brought in following concerns regarding breaches in referendum procedure this past spring.

Following the presentation of the first draft budget and the Executive Feedback Committee Report, the Executive Strategy Plan was unveiled by President Anctil. The plan is a 23-page document detailing events, campaigns, and overarching goals for this TCSA administration. A large focus for President Anctil was facilitating outreach for a “Student Staff Union,” with Anctil doing what she coined “comparative studies” by consulting students and campus unions in early October. 

Another looming point for the TCSA is the sheer amount of campaigns and “de-stressors” being held during the school year. The most prominent of these being the introduction of “The Call is Coming From Inside The House,” a campaign facilitated by VP Campaigns and Equity Alexx Bodden, presented in her absence following her earlier departure, and the continuation of the“Excaliburnt Out” campaign in the form of its sequel, “Excaliburnt Out 2.0: All for One One for All.” 

The Excaliburnt Out campaign, the brainchild of President Anctil since her term as VP Campaigns and Equity during the 2022-23 academic year, would seek to continue the programming to “lobby [against] the university’s enrolment increases” and “demanding an enrolment freeze to address the ongoing issues that over-enrolment perpetuates on campus.” 

During the question period, Otonabee College Commissioner Jonathan Nayler  asked about the Excaliburnt Out report, to which President Anctil replied that the report had already been distributed to key stakeholders like President Leo Groake. At the time of publication, Arthur has inquired about receiving a copy of the report but has not heard back.

Additionally, the “The Call is Coming From Inside The House” campaign purports to “highlight issues unique to Trent and call upon the university to implement change,” according to the Strategy Plan document obtained by Arthur. Initiatives include striking a student task force to “collect data” to “develop” and “execute the action plan for this campaign.” 

“This year Trent needs to realize they can no longer blame issues on just university in general, the point is, Trent the call is coming from inside the house,” the plan states. 

Another sticking point for the Executive Strategy Plan was the “lobbying” of City Hall, with the President and VP Campaigns & Equity spearheading “protests and demonstrations,” and efforts “coordinated to push the Association’s agenda, and further residents’ awareness of how students are impacted by the City council’s influence.” 

When pressed on the question of delegations to council, Anctil presented the possibility of “workshops” to “ensure that students understand what their rights are municipally” and “try to have further involvement politically.”  The keystone issue for TCSA’s mobilization as it relates to City Hall seems to be transit, as “reduced services will be a primary focus of the Association.”

After the Executive’s presentation of their Strategic Plan, LEC Prime Minister Noah Edwards motioned to clarify that TCSA will not hire scab labour in the event of an ATU 1320 strike. Edwards cited how hiring outside contractors was bad optics and “harms” existing relationships with “other unions on campus.” The motion passed with one abstention.

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