student leader updates (october)

Class Representatives

Rep at Large

1st year MAR Rep

1st year MDiv Rep

2nd year MAR Rep

2nd year MDiv Rep

3rd year MDiv Rep: The Administration could not release the emails of all 3rd-year MDivs for privacy reasons. 3rd-year Mdivs could, however, opt in. After emailing the student body twice to ask 3rd-year MDivs to self-identify, we received approximately 37 responses. I would appreciate the Student Senate’s help in getting from the Administration the total number (not emails) of 3rd-year MDiv. The plan is to commence a conversation among the 3rd years MDiv as a google group. 



PhD Rep

MDiv/MSW Rep



Black Trifecta: Zoom study skills session for Black Students with Dr. Meverden on October 19th at 1pm

Buddhist Student Collective

Disability Justice

Eco-Justice: The caucus has hosted a hybrid meeting with new members and focused upon goals we had for the year. A primary area of focus was on educating the Union community about the CMAP, many in the Union community, due to the displacement that occurred in the pandemic are unaware of the document’s existence. We want to encourage student collaboration and host a spring gathering to review, alter, and discuss community accountability in regards to the CMAP.

The document includes both internal and external initiatives for the seminary to take a more active role in addressing the climate crisis. Some of our new attendees to caucus meetings are reviewing the CMAP themselves, and we are hoping to get more groundwork going in sharing with the student body about the CMAP.

Liam, Marisa, and Emily have presented in a Facilities meeting and a meeting with the Development Office about the CMAP. We are working to get the administration fully on board with addressing the climate crisis, and working on improved communication. 

Another focus of the group has been both an art installation and chapel service for the spring semester. We are in communication with the facilities team and are hoping to share information at a later date of the plans for the installation. 

The caucus has also aided in supplying a new hose to the McGiffert Garden to improve watering, and it has been wonderful to work alongside the students working in that space. We encourage people who wish to be in touch with the caucus to join the eco-justice Slack channel, contact Marisa or Liam to get on the email list, or reach out in other ways so any interested students can get more involved. 

FIERCE: Queer Prayer Call on Fridays at 8am, e-mail nova for google meet info 


Interfaith Justice

International Students


Queer: Queer Caucus had a great turn out for our book talk event earlier this month with Author Keegan Osinski! Some save the dates for upcoming events:

  • 10/20, Spooky Movie night 
  • Queer Caucus co-sponsoring pub on the 11/3
  • Sexual Health Fair on the afternoon of Friday 11/11


Academic Affairs

Assessment: we continue conversations about the efficacy of narrative evaluations, and about the adequacy of feedback students have been receiving allowing them to know their status in the class (and thus graduation eligibility for 3rd years.

Buildings and Grounds

Columbia-UTS Observer

Development: Tom Thomas and Nastia Khlopina attended a meeting of the Development Committee on October 6th. This meeting will happen two more times this year. 

Most of the meeting was dedicated to review of FY22 and projections for FY23, presented by Rita L. Walters, the VP of Development. It was done in the form of going over “the board book,” a complication of reports to be delivered at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting. 

The committee welcomed two additional members on staff (Christopher Hayes and Nayeli Garcia), a good thing that promises to help move fundraising efforts forward systemically, especially in the area of diversifying revenue streams. The new, more sophisticated software is expected to raise work efficiency, too. 

Tom and Nastia were also very enthusiastically and gratefully received, validating all of our feedback and questions. It was made clear that only those with intent and capacity are expected to give financially, and students’ time is a treasure above else. Tom and Nastia felt like student engagement is much appreciated and needed. 

Both Rita and Shana Kaplanov, the manager of annual giving, highlighted the value of “thank you”s written to donors. The goal is to raise $1M this fiscal year, and though there are multiple avenues to do it, handwritten notes make a real difference. Please reach out to Eric Busby, the student worker at the Development Office, to arrange signing a handful of cards and get free and cool Union swag!

Education Technology: We discussed in class technology (owls, zooming into and in person class, etc.), we have an online class survey for our MASJ folks and all those in online only classes coming out, Moodle (how do we feel about the homepage?), and a variety of plugins that we have spent a good deal of money on and haven’t been using.

Educational Policy


  • Investment Objective: Outperform CPI + 5.3% over rolling five- and ten-year periods.
    • This primary objective equates to maintaining purchasing power of the portfolio after spending and is intended to provide a similar level of support to current and future generations.  
  • Investment Strategy: Emphasize equity and growth-oriented investments to achieve objectives.
    • Take advantage of the Seminary’s perpetual time horizon.  
    • Employ active managers to improve risk/reward profile where we have conviction.  
    • Pursue socially responsible investment opportunities aligned with the UTS Mission Statement.  
    • Invest in diversifying strategies to reduce volatility and provide a source of liquidity in poor equity market environments
  • The past 1-year period has been particularly challenging for the portfolio’s absolute and relative returns
    • June 30, 2021UTS Market Value – $129.4mm
    • June 30, 2022 UTS Market Value – $99.5mm
    • Some of this is overall market performance; however, Union’s portfolio has also underperformed market expectations
      • Some of this underperformance was attributed to Union’s (Socially Responsible Investment (“SRI”) screens, and our advisers made a push for Union to consider modifying its screens.
        • The committee did not have an appetite or interest in modifying the screens
      • Some of the underperformance was also attributed to a failure to effectuate a planned asset rebalancing in a timely manner resulting in an inefficient portfolio allocation for current market conditions.
        • The committee is exploring contracting out some operational functions relating to the investment portfolio to Union’s Investment Advisor to avoid future delays in effectuating asset rebalancing. This work is currently managed through Union’s internal Finance Department.


Strategic Planning

Union Medal

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  1. 10.17.22 — agenda + minutes – uts senate

    […] October updates […]


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