Welcome to the About CLASSU page! Find out more about our Location, Purpose, Senate, Constitution, and the History of CLASSU.

If you are looking for more information about the Department of Classics, the Faculty Calendar, CLASSU Anti-Calendar, or Faculty Timetable, please click on the appropriate link. If you have any questions, please email us at classicsstudentsunion@gmail.com.



We have the CLASSU Lounge (Directions to the Lounge), which is available for all students to use. It is located on the basement level inside the Lillian Massey Building (125 Queen’s Park), and our office (LI 009A) is within. While hours vary by term (see Facebook for most up-to-date info), the lounge is currently open 10-5, Monday through Thursday. Often CLASSU Execs are in the lounge during those hours between classes. If you want to book an appointment, please email us or message us on Facebook. CLASSU has a small collection of books for in-lounge use only. We will be linking the full catalog here once complete. Check out the Anti-Calendar for more resources and information.


The Classics Students’ Union (CLASSU) is the body representing Undergraduate Classics and Classical Civilization students at the University of Toronto. It is established to promote and enrich the academic and co-curricular lives of CLASSU members by offering academic services, organizing co-curricular events, and liaising with the Arts and Science Students’ Union and the Department of Classics on behalf of CLASSU members. Click here for information about our current Senate. While we run many events, we also offer academic services and try to bring our members the most current news from the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU) and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Senate

The Senate

CLASSU’s Senate has eleven positions. Five members (President, Vice-President, and three executives) serve a one year term beginning in March/April and are on both the Summer Senate and Full Senate. Six more executives are elected in September and serve until the following March/April. The portfolios of Treasurer and Secretary are assigned by a general vote in September to already elected Executives. The next election will be in September 2020. Read more about the current senate below via links to the Senate page.

President: Sydney Miller
Vice-President: Sarah Ann Florio
Executives: John Liao, Hannah McCarthy, Jacqueline Viner

Click here for the Constitution, as of 20 September 2019. Click here for our Constitution, as of 20 September 2019. Below is a summarized “Plain English” version for people who are less legally inclined. Please note that the below version has not yet been updated to include changes from the referendum of 22 September 2017.

Preamble to Article III: Objectives, Terms, Disputes, Membership
We offer services and events to promote Classics at U of T and communicate with ASSU and the faculty/department on undergrads’ behalves. Obvious definitions are stated. ASSU’s rules override any here. If you’re a full-time undergrad enrolled in at least one half-course of CLA, GRK, LAT in the year, you’re automatically a member of CLASSU.

Article IV: Executive Members
All Executives are expected to attend meetings, run events and initiatives. There are eleven in total. The President and Vice-President are essentially co-presidents who oversee the Union and communicate with various groups. The Treasurer collects receipts and issues cheques. The Secretary keeps minutes of meetings. Senators help share the workload and contribute to innovation in CLASSU. One must be a First Year. For Executives elected in the spring, their term is one year, for those elected in the fall, approximately eight months.

Article V to VI: Finance and Meeting Procedure
The three signing officers are the President, VP, and Treasurer (two signatures are needed). Unused ASSU money is remitted in December/April. The Senate does not need to make formal motions on most decisions, save for specified ones, or contentious ones. The process strives for consensus as much as possible. Minutes of Senate meetings may be requested from any Executive Member by any member of CLASSU.

Article VII: Election Procedures
All eligible voters (see Article III) are also eligible for office. Aside from requiring one first year and one second year, there are no restrictions. In March/April, the President, VP, and three executives are elected (the “Summer Senate”). There must be a President and VP each year. Within the first few weeks of Fall term, there will be an election of six further Executives. These six will have the same rank as those who had served over the summer. Immediately after, the general membership will assign the remaining portfolios. Only Executives are eligible to run for portfolio positions—it doesn’t matter whether you were elected in the Winter term or moments before. Portfolio positions may only be assigned to three of the nine Executives at the Fall General Election. Candidacy is submitted on the spot. An Executive may only run for one portfolio, or may choose to automatically be a Senator. Any non-portfolio Executive will be styled as a Senator. Nominations open two weeks before the election and close twenty-four hours before. The CRO, appointed by the Senate, will announce how to find and submit them. The Presidential and Vice- positions require 20 general member signatures; all other positions require 5. There is no proxy or online voting. A candidate may run in absentia, however. You get as many votes as there are positions. Bank accounts, passwords, and the like will be given to the new team within two weeks at a transition meeting. If this doesn’t happen, the new exec shall endeavour to get those. By-elections follow the same procedure; the winner’s term is the remainder of their predecessor’s.

Article VIII-X: Replacement/Impeachment, Amendments, Miscellaneous
If an Executive resigns, it is effective immediately. Should they change their mind, they must run for re-election. An Executive may be kicked from office for not acting appropriately after due process. The Senate will rearrange itself so that any vacancy leaves a by-election for a Senator. Referenda will be announced two weeks before. An appointed Executive will oversee a standing vote. Quorum is 15 CLASSU students. A two-thirds majority chooses. Communication is in English. Certain records will be posted online. Non-sensitive records available upon request. Plebeian is the Senate’s responsibility.

CLASSU History
ab collegio condito ad praesentem

The Classics Students’ Union was founded at least as early as 2003, under the name of Association of Classics Students. Our sources from that earlier incarnation remain fragmented, with only one whole text remaining preserved—but ignored—by the department. In the later Dark Ages, one ember was reignited by Maya Chakravorty, in the form of the Oral Reading Club, which started in September 2011, and has performed many times. In the Fall of 2013, the ACS held its first full election in years, and began its journey towards full course unionhood, re-established by Maya Chakravorty.

In its first year, the ACS rejoined the Arts and Science Students’ Union, held several movie nights, a trivia event, a board games day, and Vinum et Virgilium, a social event presented with Prof. Alison Keith, in which she declaimed from Vergil and shared her insight into the text at a true symposium.

On 27 March 2014, at its first Spring Election, the ACS general membership approved a name change as a part of a reform slate to modernize the union, and thus CLASSU was born.

Over the summer, the new Summer Senate worked on a new constitution, as well as other initiatives/plans, and participated for the first time in the UTSU’s Clubs Fair and Street Festival. CLASSU also gained access to the lounge on its own as well as to its Office (LI 009A).

On 25 September 2014, at its Fall Elections, CLASSU approved a new—and ever-evolving—constitution, which thoroughly revamped its structure, electoral processes, and portfolio system to allow for a consensus-based, non-hierarchical model.

CLASSU successfully reprised various events and added academic seminars to its calendar–in November CLASSU hosted U of T’s own Professor Kevin Wilkinson, in January 2015 a talk with Graduate Students Bradley Hald and Marion Durand of the Classics Graduate Student Executive, and lastly Dr. Elizabeth Greene of Western in March. The Classics Students’ Union held also its first undergraduate conference in March of 2015, with the papers presented to be printed in the first issue of its journal, Plebeian.

CLASSU also set up new services: midterm and syllabus banks, compiled a Handbook for Classics Students, and began the process of pushing through a name change to the confusing “Classics” major subject POSt. CLASSU also supported the CUPE local 3902 Unit 1 members (TAs, course instructors, graders) when they went on strike on 27 February 2015 for a living wage and fair negotiations, and joined them on the picket lines on what ended up being the last day of the strike, 26 March 2015.

For all its efforts in revitalizing and improving the union as well as activism in promoting itself, promoting ASSU, and keeping its students in the loop/informed of movements, the Arts and Science Students’ Union awarded CLASSU the Sanjeev (Sanj) Dewitt Course Union of the Year Award, which is now on display in the CLASSU office.

CLASSU found itself with a new, mutually-interested relationship with the Classics Grad Students’ Union after the strike. This has led to greater connection between the two groups. CLASSU’s Timetable Watch also traces its inception to the Post-Strike period. We met with success through the distribution of Plebeian Volume I at the E.J. Pratt Library, running through our supply of 120 journals much more quickly than had been anticipated (there are still a few left in the CLASSU Lounge at time of writing). CLASSU further increased its logo-presence by creating a banner in lieu of the cardboard one on offer at prior Club days.

The elections for 2015-2016 went off well, with many members being re-elected. CLASSU also introduced nominations forms and proper ballots to its electoral process.  Plans for the Fall and a new guidebook for future Senates were also worked on between then and September, in addition to further constitutional reforms. CLASSU had its first-ever First Year Orientation, where Senate members gave a quick tour of Vic, SMC, and the Department. We also partnered with Prof. Akrigg to host a second year welcome-to-the-programme party.

CLASSU next looked at a variety of ways to put its Award money to good use. After narrowly avoiding a sketchy website purchase, CLASSU obtained a projector for the Lounge to pair it with the screen that was kicking around for the previous year. This led to two successful TV show series screenings—the BBC’s I, Claudius, and Plebs throughout the Fall and Winter terms respectively.

Proud of the success from Plebeian Volume I, but cognizant of the challenges it had faced, a call for Editors outside of the Senate was put out in November. CLASSU received many applications both for Editorial positions, and papers when a call for them was subsequently made. During this time, CLASSU memes became a common occurance, to the joy of some and horror of others. Also in November, CLASSU resurrected two great moments from March 2014—the return of Prof. Keith as host of Vinum et Vergilius and a second order of 350 buttons, bigger and bluer than ever (available in the Lounge)!

In January, at our regular term GM, the Cake Committee came back in full force, buying three cakes. This meeting was also successful in establishing the Ideal Ratio, CAKESSU, and FACTSSU. January also saw the beginnings of collaborations with the History Students’ Association, which led to a successful talk on urbanism in Ancient Rome and Renaissance Florence. This was a strong lead-up to our second annual conference, now titled “The Assembly of the Plebs.” This was a huge success, with around forty attendees and catering sponsored by ASSU. The Journal Publishing Committee worked their magic the next day, and sent off Plebeian Vol. II to our new printer, Coach House Press. CLASSU next partnered with Prof. Akrigg and Prof. Bruun to run a first-year programme info session and help promote the fourth-year mock-graduation party. CLASSU’s two-term president, Taylor Stark, also won the Katharine Ball Graduating Course Union Member Award, cementing a second year of being an award-winning students’ union.

Finally, Plebeian Vol. II was successfully launched at CLASSU’s Long-Awaited Spring Spectacular 4 U! We also had our elections, yet another referendum, and a cake with the journal cover printed on it. Plebeian are available in the Lounge and again at the E.J. Pratt Library. The Summer Senate elected at these elections will be responsible for the latest major initiative undertaken by CLASSU: a Dept. of Classics Anti-Calendar. Surveys were done in the last week of March as part of a pilot project, and the results are published in the CLASSU Anti-Calendar. Further surveys were conducted throughout the summer of 2016, and those have been added in as well.

CLASSU began developing a peer mentorship programme, as well as hosting a second successful First Year Orientation in early September 2016, further adding to the ways that the Union has tried to provide support for its students. Building on these information initiatives, throughout the 2016-2017 year, members of the CLASSU executive took to helping with the overhaul of the Department website, which got a fancy upgrade in its interface. CLASSU wanted to also give a bit of a refresh to the information on the undergraduate page, which will soon be updated. In addition, the redesign better integrated CLASSU into the structure. The Senate was also pleased to notice that there was a greater awareness of CLASSU’s existence on campus at all levels—within the undergraduate community in and beyond the Department, with the graduate students, with faculty, and within the larger Arts and Science community.

Building on past successes with greater integration with graduate students, CLASSU co-hosted another academic seminar with graduate students, followed by a Grad Student Meet ‘n’ Greet, which assisted our students to better get to know their graders, instructors, and senior colleagues, as well as providing insight into undertaking graduate studies. Later in the term, CLASSU undertook to try out giving away $500 of pub food and beer—it was a good success! Helping to round out the suite of events in the Fall was a Life of Brian movie night—a Classic by any standard. Fall 2016 also saw the advent of TeaSSU—a study space with tea and the installation of a kettle and tea when the office was open.

In the Lounge, there were several improvements this past year. Starting with a gift from the incoming Vice-President, Samantha Mazzilli, in April 2016, the questionable pillows of FACTSSU fame were replaced with the cheery colours of IKEA. The FACTSSU were posted in the Fall for all to see by the President, Willem Crispin-Frei. Our signage within the Lounge got an upgrade thanks to the truly kallos calligraphy of Sophia Alkhoury. In addition, the Fall term saw the addition of a second library shelf, which has allowed an expansion of our holdings. Lastly, in April, some new chairs were scored from the Department of University Affairs and Advancement to replace the incredibly creaky swivel chairs in the CLASSU Office. At the time of writing, the Senate is still unsure as to what they do, though the previous interlopers from that quadrant of the building, infamous for using our basement toilets, seem to have ceased intruding on our space.

A second member was added to the CLASSU Pantheon at the Senate’s December Mega Meeting-former CLASSU President Taylor Stark was deified as Divus Starchus by decree of the Senate. After surviving a second round of Senate Bonding Battle Archery in January, CLASSU brought back TeaSSU on Valentine’s Day as Tea(r)SSU—for those whose dates were textbooks (and others who liked tea!). March 2017 was an incredibly busy month for CLASSU, from the third undergraduate conference, the Assembly of the Plebs III (technically the second of its name, but the third conference nonetheless), was hosted in the Department on 10 March 2017. The week before, the first successful Trivia event in a while was also held. Following that, there was the academic seminar on Latin Semantics in Farming Vocabulary with Professor Welsh, and then a successful Backpacks to Briefcases event the week after. We also ran an About the Programme lunch with the Undergraduate Co-ordinator Eph Lytle in addition to having informational interviews with prospective programme majors and minors.

This year at the Arts and Science Students’ Union’s end-of-year party, two members of the Classics Department received awards. With a nomination from ten students, Professor Alison Keith was awarded the Ranjini (Rini) Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award for her diligence and care for her students. President Willem Crispin-Frei became the second outgoing CLASSU President to receive the Katharine Ball Graduating Course Union Member Award in addition to status as runner-up for the Gavin Nowlan On-Campus Leadership award, helping to enhance CLASSU’s reputation as a leading course union within ASSU.

Under a revised Editorial Board structure, Plebeian Volume III came out on 30 March 2017 at CLASSU’s Year-End Social and Elections, which, seemingly for the first time in a long time, did not have a referendum. Iain Wilson, our inveterate CRO, served his final term as CLASSU’s CRO, a post which he had held since March 2014. Also at this Social, the fruits of another CLASSU labour were unveiled. Earlier in the term, the Senate put out a survey regarding interest in purchasing some form of merchandise for the department given the dearth of items available through the University. In the end, CLASSU ordered 40 hoodies, 29 pre-ordered, and 11 for sale. The original run has now all but sold out, and there has been continued interest at the undergrad, graduate, and faculty level for a second production and opportunity for ordering hoodies. The all-important CAKESSU tradition was maintained as the President and Vice-President upped the ante by baking a cake in the shape of the CLASSU logo for the social.

The next day saw the eighth Oral Reading Club performance, brought back after a long hiatus, which was followed, as custom demanded, by the Department End-of-Term party. Despite Professor and Chair Christer Bruun’s sabbatical, the tradition of presenting graduating Classics students was preserved, with Professor Lytle handing out the solemn diplomas on his and Acting Chair Professor Keith’s behalves. Finally, CLASSU continued running Exam Jams and provided solid representation and participation at various ASSU Council and Department meetings this year. This year also marks the end of the era of members of the Association of Classics Students—Toby Keymer, having served four years on CLASSU in various roles (Senator, Secretary, and lately Treasurer), has retired, but will return to succeed Willem Crispin-Frei as Editor-in-Chief of Plebeian Volume IV. Hadley Staite, who served 3.5 years as a Member-at-Large, then Senator, and in the end as Divus Hadleus, retired from the Senate at the end of Summer 2016. Finally, three-term Vice-President and one-time President Willem Crispin-Frei is (finally) leaving, with full confidence in the continuation of this strong course union, now freed from the oldies leaving.

Looking forward to the fall, CLASSU will be back, with more Anti-Calendar, more Peer Mentorship, and more great programming that you’ve come to know and (at least feel mildly positively about we hope) love.

Last Updated at 12:42 a.m. on 28 April 2017.

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