UMSU exec positions to change for upcoming year

VP community engagement to dissolve, VP advocacy to reformulate

UMSU executive positions will look different in the upcoming academic year as the organization plans to focus its efforts on advocacy issues. 

The organization is dissolving the vice president community engagement position while the vice president advocacy position will split into vice president university affairs and vice president external affairs. 

According to UMSU president Tracy Karuhogo, discussions on changing UMSU executive positions began in summer 2023. At conferences, Karuhogo saw other student union executive positions at other institutions structured differently than the current U of M framework.

“We noticed from different student unions that it was something we could do so much better,” she said.

Karuhogo said that UMSU has “really gotten a handle of doing events” but that a “revamp” of the union’s advocacy strategy is necessary. 

Currently, the vice president advocacy deals with both internal and external responsibilities. Karuhogo noted that executives being “spread too thin” played into the decision to split the role into vice president university affairs and vice president external affairs.

Under the new roles, the former will oversee internal responsibilities, including the university senate and board of governors, while the latter will oversee external responsibilities, including the Canadian Alliance of Students Associations and the provincial government. 

Karuhogo said that specializing the roles will benefit students as it will allow for a greater focus on issues that are brought to both the university and external bodies.

As students, “we need to make sure that our voices are really put to the forefront,” said Karuhogo.

Karuhogo also noted that the recent provincial election makes the UMSU executive feel they are getting “a fresh start with the new government.” She says the change in the executive will allow UMSU to strengthen current relationships with the premier and minister of advanced education. 

Regarding the dissolution of vice president community engagement, Karuhogo explained that all of the executives take on community engagement responsibilities within their own portfolios and collaboratively through projects like orientation week and holiday hampers.

Karuhogo said the executive’s goal is to make “UMSU’s advocacy really shine,” and hopes that students will see the changes as a positive step.