UTGSU Democratic Structure

The UTGSU is a democratically-run non-profit organization, formed in 1964 and incorporated in 1999. All graduate students who pay the UTGSU fee are UTGSU Members. As a Member, you have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process of the corporation at the Annual Meeting and at the General Council through Course Union Representation or UTGSU Committee participation. See Bylaws and Policies for more details of the rules under which we operate.

Course Unions

Each graduate department has established student organization or group referred to as a Course Union. Each Course Union has a democratically-elected executive responsible to the graduate student members in its department. The UTGSU helps each Course Union create a constitution and provides funding based on its number of members and for conferences and academic events. In turn, the Course Unions elect up to four Council Representatives, depending on their size. These Representatives make up the General Council / Board of Directors and help to govern the Graduate Students’ Union on behalf of their Course Union. See Course Unions for more details.

General Council / Board of Directors

The UTGSU’s main governing body is General Council. General Council acts as the Board of Directors and is composed of Representatives elected by students in each of the UTGSU Course Unions. Council meets once a month from September to April, and otherwise as needed. Its responsibilities include guiding the goals and priorities of the Union, formulating UTGSU policy, approving the UTGSU Budget, electing the Executive Member-at-Large, and receiving reports and information from other campus groups.

UTGSU Council is the body which connects graduate students from departments across the university. Representatives discuss funding, academic life, financial and physical accessibility, graduate student representation, employment, equity, and housing and other issues, and from those discussions fashion and determine priorities and policies.

Standing Committees of General Council

UTGSU Standing Committees are created by General Council. Each Standing Committee works on issues that have been identified as needing particular emphasis, such as Policy and Operations or Environmental Justice. Each Standing Committee is composed of at least one Executive Officer, and interested Council Representatives and graduate students – we invite all graduate students to sit on these committees. Standing Committees report to the Executive, who then report to the UTGSU General Council.

If you have questions about the Standing Committees or anything else related to the UTGSU governance structure, please contact your course union reps or the UTGSU Exec or staff. We would love to hear from you. See Committees for more details.

Executive Committee

There are six Executive Officers: Academics & Funding Commissioner Divisions 1 and 2, Academics & Funding Commissioner Divisions 3 and 4, Civics & Environment Commissioner, External Commissioner, Finance & University Governance Commissioner, and Internal Commissioner. The Executive Officers are elected each February by the graduate student population in a campus-wide election. In October, an Executive Member-at-Large is elected by UTGSU Council.

The Executive Committee oversees all day-to-day management of UTGSU finances; health and dental insurance; UTGSU group and Member services; and the GSU building, which houses the GSU Pub, Gym, and Grad Loft. The Executive Committee is also responsible for ensuring that the policy changes and current priorities are implemented.

Specific Executive responsibilities include: spearheading action on various issues relevant to graduate students; cooperatively working with student, faculty and other groups on campus; collaborating and lobbying for graduate student interests with U of T administration, provincially, and nationally; and maintaining contact with student reps on governing bodies.