Student Governance

Our highest body of student government is the Trinity College Meeting (TCM). Unlike most student governments, the TCM is a direct democracy. Every student can bring forward motions, speak and vote at the TCM.

The TCM gets its recommendations from other committees but has to ratify any decision by running it through a vote. The Chair will read out motions that people have brought forward and Trinity students will discuss and vote on them. Every Trinity student has the right to attend these meetings and to vote, however, you must be wearing a gown to vote.

Everyone with a gown is a member of the TCM but the people who run it are Officers. The Officers of the TCM are the Chair, whose job is to lead meetings; the Secretary, who records minutes and gives notice for upcoming meetings; and the Treasurer, who manages all of the TCM’s money. These people are great resources for information about student government, so feel free to contact them if you have any questions.

There are also the Auditor and Deputy Auditor, who check the accounting books and financial accounts for all levied clubs and Heads twice a year, and the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) and Deputy Returning Officer (DRO), who organize and monitor the annual spring  elections.

The TCM Constitution: This document specifies the mandate and authority of the TCM, outlines the duties of its officers and committees and contains regulations.
The Electoral Policy: This document specifies how elections are executed at Trinity and give regulations about the behavior of candidates.
The Fiscal Policy: This document outlines the TCM’s rules regarding how its officers and club executives can and cannot spend the TCM’s funds.

Governing documents can be found on the Important Documents page.

The substantive material of every TCM is a bit different, as the agenda depends on whatever members of college most want to discuss. The procedure is consistent and is made up of two sources: the Constitution and Bourinot’s Rules of Order. In general, there are 4 types of things anyone can do at a TCM:

  1. Move a motion
  2. Propose a constitutional amendment
  3. Propose an amendment
  4. Rise on a point

Motions are a request that something about college life either be done, changed, or not acted on at all. The passing of a motion requires a simple majority. However, there are two exceptions: a motion to overrule the Finance Committee and a motion to impeach, both of which require a 2/3 majority. There are 4 types of motions:

  • Substantive motions (eg. motion to spend $x on y)
  • Procedural motions (eg. motion to limit TCM speaking times)
  • Choosing a proposal (eg. choosing a Orientation Week proposal)
  • Mid-year Elections (eg. choosing an Auditor because the previous one resigned)

Constitutional amendments are dealt with in the same way as motions, but must be passed with 2/3 majorities at two consecutive TCMs.

Both motions and constitutional amendments can be amended. Amendments can either be “friendly” (the person proposing the motion or constitutional amendment is okay with the amendment) or “unfriendly” (the person is not okay with your amendment). If the amendment is friendly, it becomes part of the original motion. If it is unfriendly, a new discussion starts on whether or not the amendment should be added, and a majority vote is required for adopting the amendment into the original motion.

While a motion remains in force until it is repealed by another motion or constitutional amendment, a point causes immediate action. There are dozens of different points, and all of them have their own procedures, but only 5 are regularly used. These are presented below:

  • Points of Information: asks to clarify substantive comments or procedural
  • Points of Privilege: requests changes to improve engagement (eg. close window)
  • Points of Order: indication of violation or potential violation of rules
  • Challenge the Chair: challenge a procedural ruling by the TCM chair
  • Call the Question: demand that discussion of a particular issue end

In order to make the TCM more efficient, it delegates responsibilities to its standing committees. Standing committees make recommendations to the TCM, which they choose to adopt, amend, or reject. Any student can attend and speak at the meetings of any TCM committee, but decisions at the committee level are made by elected voting members of those committees, including members-at-large, certain levied club executive members, and Student Heads.

Trinity College Board of Stewards (TCBS): This body coordinates the social calendar, and makes broad decisions directing the social life of the College.
Trinity College Finance Committee (TCFC): This body makes decisions on where our money goes to and how it can be spent.
Non-Resident Affairs Committee (NRAC): This body helps non-resident students integrate into the college community and maintains the NRAC common room.
Student Capital Campaign Committee (SCCC): This body funds long-term projects that generate permanent gains for the college community.
Equity Committee: This body has the task of ensuring that student events, clubs, and traditions at the college are equitable and accessible to all Trinity students.

Elections for first year representatives for many clubs occur during the first week of school. Running for a first year position as a year head or a club representative is a great way to get involved early on, and a fantastic learning opportunity. First year elections are lighthearted and usually a lot of fun even if you aren’t planning on running for anything. As a first year, you can run for any of the following:

  • Resident Head of First Year (2)
  • President of Trinity College (1)
  • Non-Resident Head of First Year (2)
  • Trinity College Literary Institute Representative (4)
  • Trinity College Dramatic Society Representative (2)
  • Trinity Athletics Representative (2)

Last but not least, there are six Student Heads who have all devoted this upcoming year to serve the College and make your experience here the best it can be! In each residence building there is a male and female Head – one Head of College (HoC) and one Head of Arts (HoA) – who each have their own common room.

There are also two non-residence Heads (Heads of NRAC) who run a common room. All six of the Heads are great resources for information and advice. While the Heads share many overlapping duties (such as running common rooms and sitting on various committees), the Heads of College deal primarily with internal and external governance and policy, the Heads of Arts with student life, and the Heads of Non-Resident Affairs with non-resident issues and integration.

If you ever have any problems, questions, or just want to chat, the Heads are always available. They’ve all been in your shoes before, and are happy to offer advice and lead you through the confusing and wonderful world that is Trinity. Be sure to like the Trin Heads page for updates!