By Liz Do
After months of delays, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) board of directors have finally passed this year’s $2.3 million budget.
The amended budget was narrowly passed in a 15 to 12 vote. The nearly-split decision was due to Chandan Sharma’s proposed funding cuts for several of the university’s student campaigns.
In the original proposal, by VP finance and services Toby Whitfield, $5,000 was allocated to the Access to Education campaign. In the new financial plan by Sharma, $2,000 will be allocated instead. Other decreases from Whitfield’s budget will affect anti-war campaigns, cut from $300 to $0, and Education not Occupation, which now gets $50 instead of $500.
The $50 allocation to Education not Occupation was at the heart of many grievances made by RSU president Muhammad Ali Jabbar, who was one of the 12 opposing the new budget.
“They are actually being ridiculous. An ad in The Eyeopener costs $150, at least. And they are giving $50?”
Disagreement had been running rampant amongst the two former slates — Renew and Ryevolution — each with opposing ideas for the budget, especially funding education campaigns.
Cassandra Thompson, a first-year sociology student involved in Drop Fees and Anti-War, attended the budget meeting.
“I’m disappointed, we elected these members and they are supposed to represent the students,” she said. “Instead, some of them are trying to take away students’ voices.”
Second-year international economics and finance student, Arsen Dervishyan is happy with the cuts.
“[Campaigns] never work so you might as well spend on something useful, right?”
The passed budget spends more than Whitfield’s on snacks and drinks during exam time ($1,500 from $0), community service groups like RyeACCESS (nearly $77,000 from about $66,000), and orientation week ($7,000 from $6,000).
“It was well-known that something like this would be done, way back in the election,” said Sharma. “I just hope we can move forward and spend our money well.”
Business faculty director Abdullah Snobar said that the RSU shouldn’t have to allocate money into educational issues at all, because the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) funds those campaigns.
“The whole thing about the education budget, we have CFS that is allocating money into all of these things as well.”
But VP education Rebecca Rose disagrees.
“The CFS does not pay for any of our campaigns. Anything Ryerson specific is not addressed through the materials produced by the CFS.”
Now that the budget has passed, the RSU will no longer have to operate off of last year’s budget.