By Josh Wingrove
Associate News Editor
Grad Caucus members and Electrical Engineering students say RSU ignores their motions and proposed bylaws, but other grad students shoot down objections.
The Semi-Annual General Meeting of the Ryerson Students’ Union was unusually spirited last week as graduate students faced off over a set of elections bylaws passed in the meeting.
Omar Falou, finance officer for the Graduate Students’ Caucus, took turns attacking a set of proposed bylaw ammendments with GSC communications officer Robin Castelino. The ammendments, passed after much ado, outlined a set of regulations for GSC elections and – the point of contention – moved election dates to February, in synchronization with the RSU and Board of Governors elections.
RSU President Muhammad Ali Jabbar said the move was made after the GSC had trouble getting its recommendations in on time, and said the RSU, under whose jurisdiction graduate students lie, did what was best for students.
But Falou adamantly disagreed. Shaking with anger at the meeting, Falou said the RSU ignored the wishes of the GSC in passing ammendment nine and moving the elections, saying September terms would give students in one-year Master’s programs a chance to participate. They charged that the move to include the ammendment, regardless of their objection, went behind the back of the authority of the GSC.
The meeting was scheduled during classes of seven of Ryerson’s 19 graduate programs, two of which are one year programs. As a result of the scheduling error, which Jabbar excused as invevitable, Falou presented 72 signatures of students who couldn’t attend the meeting to voice their concerns.
Falou later said the RSU’s decision to proceed with the meeting and the change in election dates, in spite of the scheduling concerns, is a slap in the face of the GSC’s independence.
“We can sit down for hours, pass resolutions. Those can go to the RSU and they can say, ‘Oh, no thank you,’” said Falou, a PhD candidate in electrical engineering.
Castelino, a Master’s student, said the RSU isn’t working to give all graduate students a chance to get involved.
“Shouldn’t they take our advice, our insight when doing anything that applies to graduate studies? They should… I don’t think they listen. I don’t think they care,” he said.
Ben Lewis, chair of the Ontario Graduate Caucus and unsuccessful GSC candidate last year, said Castelino and Falou, both electrical engineering students, don’t speak for everyone.
“The grad students I’ve spoken to have been really behind the changes,” Lewis said.
Other ammendments passed at the meeting included the creation of a multi-faith council and a motion to advocate for the closure of Gould Street.