By Tamas Soos & Alison Northcott
The suggestions are on their way to the Board of Governors, but few Ryerson students took the opportunity to share their thoughts on changes to the Ryerson University Act.
The Ryerson University Act is the legal document that governs the university and the Board of Governors — the body in charge of many of the major administrative, policy, staff and financial decisions at Ryerson.
In August, the Board announced it was proposing amendments to the 28-year-old act and invited students to submit their recommendations for changes as well.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said student response was low, but suggestions were received from Ryerson Students’ Union executives, President Rebecca Rose and Vice-President Education Nora Loreto, who also sit on Ryerson’s Board of Governors.
Rose stressed that she was not making her recommendations as RSU President, but rather as a Board member.
Rose and Loreto’s recommendations for amendments, backed by fellow student Board member Muhammad Ali Jabbar, include provisions to increase student presence on the Board of Governors.
Of the 24 seats on the Board, only three are designated for students. Rose said she would like to see that number increased to six.
Rose, Loreto and Ali Jabbar also submitted a recommendation that would grant the students’ unions (RSU and the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson) access to the list of all registered Ryerson students.
Their formal submission states that access to member lists would enable the RSU and CESAR to maintain “autonomy and effectiveness.”
It also states: “We are aware that the request to have complete membership lists provided to the students’ unions has been raised informally in the past and subsequently denied by senior administration. The main concern raised by the University is the protection of students’ right to privacy.”
Levy said, in the end, the Board is bound by privacy laws laid out in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“We have to follow the law of the land and we can’t agree to anything that goes against that law,” Levy said, adding he does not think this recommendation will make it into the Act.
As for his own recommendations, he said he would like to increase the length of Board members’ terms.
Currently, Board members can serve two three-year terms. A one-year absence must be taken before that member can sit on the Board again.
“By the time certain people on the board are making a great contribution, getting really active, their term (is) up,” Levy said.
The proposed amendments will be compiled by the Board of Governors, then submitted to the Government of Ontario for final approval. You can read the Ryerson Act here.