By Jill Langlois
Students’ union staying quiet on lengthy closed door meeting last Wednesday, passes motion demanding information from insurance broker.
A motion passed in-camera by the RSU suggests it may be looking for a way to break out of its contract with health and dental plan broker, Gallivan and Associates.
Part of the four-part motion states that the RSU is trying to get financial data from Gallivan which has not been provided.
The move comes after a confidential letter was sent by the broker to RSU board directors, causing tension in its relationship with the RSU.
After receiving an e-mail from the insurance broker that provides Ryerson students with their health and dental plan, the RSU unanimously passed the motion requesting an apology from the company, saying they made false accusations attempting to discredit the executives.
The first part of the motion stated Gallivan had gone over the heads of the executive to falsely accuse them of withholding information, which would damage the reputation of the executives.
“Be it resolved that the Directors request a formal written apology from Gallivan for their false accusations which attempt to discredit members of the executive by suggesting that the executive has not passed on information or denied Gallivan from providing information,” the motion reads.
“Be it further resolved that the Executive request full and detailed statements and the rolling twelve from Gallivan from May 30, 2006 up to and including September 30, 2006,” read the second part of the motion, “as this information has not yet been provided and is required to conduct an audit.”
After an external audit is completed, the RSU has also requested Gallivan explain the audit’s findings at a board meeting. “Be it further resolved that upon completion of the external audit, Gallivan be asked to formally respond in writing to the audit and that after such a response Gallivan will be asked to present at a Board meeting,” it continued.
The motion is basically fact checking the history of the RSU’s health and dental plan, said Chris Drew, RSU vice-president finance and services.
“We’re going through the process of finding out the facts, and we’re asking for clarifications from our (current and past) brokers,” he added.
The motion concludes by requesting another company, the CFS-associated NSHN, to respond to “allegations put forward by Gallivan” towards NSHN.
It also asks GreenShield, a former broker of the RSU, for written information about the RSU’s past performance.
But Ryerson students will not suffer because of the investigation, Drew insisted.
“The average student will not be affected,” he said. “Whether they are receiving benefits from the plan or chose to opt-out, everything will remain the same.”
“We’re looking into the contents of the letter,” said Drew. “You have to be careful with items that have to do with contracts.”
Because the motion was discussed in-camera, non-board members were asked to leave the room.
Business faculty director Jason Jagpal said he supported the motion at the time, but he thinks having the session in-camera was bad for students.
“I just feel like we have these inputs, which are students’ money, and we have these outputs which are the services, but in the middle, it’s like a black hole and the students don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
“It was the executive’s decision to keep it hidden from the students in the in-camera part,” he added.
While he could not comment on Gallivan’s letter or the private discussions, he said the motion was in response to a current issue with the health and dental plan being discussed in the Ryerson community.
Another source close to the board said the RSU has been trying to find a way out of the contract since it was signed three years ago.
This isn’t the first time the RSU has had difficulties dealing with Gallivan.
In 2000, the RSU became the first council to sign a multi-year contract with a health broker. Two years later, then-RSU president Darren Cooney switched brokers for a more affordable deal, resulting in a lawsuit against the students’ union.
RSU had left Gallivan for the National Student Health Network, a service of the Canadian Federation of Students.
Gallivan sued the RSU for breach of contract. The case was settled out-of-court.
As part of the agreement, the RSU had to pay Gallivan $35,000 and reinstate the contract.
The RSU is currently in another five-year contract with Gallivan that will expire in about two years.