By Jen Gerson
RyeSAC’s board of director will not be bound by motions passed at last month’s Semi-Annual General Meeting, said the meeting’s chair.
But a former RyeSAC president is at odds with the decision.
“The [RyeSAC] bylaw’s section on rights and responsibilities gives power to conduct affairs at RyeSAC to the board of directors,” said chair Robin Rix. “This isn’t a ruling, I’m just saying how it is.”
But Ken Marciniec, former RyeSAC president, said that in the past, members at the SAGM had more power. “The members decide on how the organization is going to be run,” he said. “It sends a message that it’s really not a membership-run organization.”
Marciniec said that last year, RyeSAC considered the SAGM to be a meeting of the board of directors where board business, like approving student groups, would be conducted. For example, during the 2002 SAGM, a group of students called Ryerson Students Against War and Racism proposed a motion for RyeSAC to oppose the war in Iraq.
The motion passed and the council spent much of the next year organizing demonstrations.
When students at that SAGM left and RyeSAC lost quorum, it turned into a regular board meeting and directors passed a motion to discuss disciplinary action against Sajjad Wasti, a former vice president of finance. “Just because [motions] are non-binding doesn’t mean they don’t service a purpose,” Rix said. “But there’s a difference between expressing your sense about something and binding the board.”
Rix said it’s the difference between direct democracy and representative democracy: Whether the will of the masses, or elected representatives decide policy.
“I can see the argument from either side, it’s stumped political philosophers for millennia.”
But Marciniec said he doesn’t like how this bylaw has been applied. “It says that the only time students have a say is during elections, once a year. “That’s not good.”