RSU slate faces broken promises

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By Aleysha Haniff

Associate News Editor

With a little over a month left, the former RenewRSU slate believes they’ve earned their salary as Ryerson Student’s Union (RSU) executives, despite a broken election promise.

In February 2008, Muhammad Ali Jabbar, along with Toby Whitfield, Rebecca Rose and Mal Sampa signed a list of RSU election promises. That checklist, dubbed their “Blueprint for Renewal,” included 15 goals for the 2008-2009 year such as renewing the fight for lower tuition, helping launch RUtv and lobbying for cheaper TTC access.

But not all goals were met. The promised winter concert never happened.

If elected, they vowed to return their executive salaries if the goals weren’t achieved by the end of their term.

Later that month, Jabbar was elected as president and Whitfield was the RSU’s new VP finance and services. Rose was chosen as VP education.

Sampa, however, lost by less than 20 votes to Sid Naidu, a candidate from the Ryevolution slate. Naidu, who didn’t sign the blueprint, became VP student life and events.

“If Mal were in office, there would have been a winter concert because he committed to working on it,” said Whitfield.

Among other campaigns, Whitfield lobbied for a more affordable members’ health and dental plan.

“There’s a lot of areas that you’re able to negotiate to just try to get the best deal you can for students,” he said.

Though the offers will remain confidential until they’re released to the Board of Directors, he said the cost will most likely decrease, making that goal a success.

Yet he said the slate differences have brought problems to the RSU. “There’s definitely continued to be some hostility, aggression this year but I think we definitely. . .put my efforts into doing things to help students,” Whitfield said.

Rose said the points they could control were absolutely binding for the RenewRSU slate.

“We can advocate for things but we can’t force Sid to do things,” she said.

Naidu said a lack of money and time prevented him from staging a winter concert. He also said he was never approached by the other executive members with the idea.

“What I did sign up for is to make sure to support the community to the fullest of my ability,” said Naidu.

Employment lawyer Kenneth A. Krupat said the validity of the signed contract — and whether the Renew slate would give up salaries — depended on Ryerson or RSU specific rules.

There is no specific RSU bylaw relating to this issue. But breaking electoral promises is nothing new. “It’s obviously what politicians do all the time,” Krupat said.

In the meantime, Naidu is working on a Student Life Gala for various campus groups and course unions with a fundraiser event for everyone after.

The event takes place on April 1. Whitfield, is planning the promised end-of-year bash at the Ram for mid-April.

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