By Julianna Cummins
For the second time in less than a week, a meeting of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is marred in controversy.
On April 2, the RSU held its annual general meeting (AGM), where all Ryerson students can vote on motions and bylaw amendments. The meeting started in room 115 of the Student Campus Centre (SCC), but abruptly ended when a fire alarm went off about four hours after the meeting started.
The displaced group then reconvened on the lower ground level of the engineering building, where the meeting continued under chair Ashkon Hashemi.
Several bylaw amendments were passed in the engineering building, including reducing the number of board of governor student representatives that sit on the RSU’s board of directors from three to one.
Dana Houssein, faculty director for community services, said she did not count enough people for quorum when the meeting continued in the engineering building. Houssein said she did a headcount from the first fl oor of the engineering building, which overlooked where the AGM was taking place.
According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the procedural manual followed by the RSU for meetings, quorum is the minimum number of people that must be present for business to legally occur. Quorum for the AGM is 100 people.
“There were motions that were being passed without quorum,” said Houssein.
A video obtained by the Eyeopener, courtesy of RUtv, showed that around 10 p.m., there were under 100 people present in the basement of the engineering building.
RSU VP finance and services Toby Whitfield said he believes that the continued AGM in the engineering building was totally valid.
“There were 100 students who wanted to have a meeting, and it was totally in order. We had quorum in the room, and so the meeting continued,” said Whitfield.
Hashemi said that he is also confident that quorum did exist whenever a motion was voted on in either location of the AGM, and was careful to keep tabs on the numbers.
“Anytime we had a vote, I’m absolutely certain that we had quorum,” Hashemi said. He said the entire meeting, in both locations, was in order.
Hashemi also said the motion at the board of directors meeting on March 30 to renew Gallivan as the health and dental plan broker would not be valid, because it was discussed and voted on twice in one meeting, violating Robert’s Rules of Order.
Houssein, however, said that because the RSU deemed the motions passed at the reconvened AGM legal, there is no reason why a motion passed at a board of directors meeting to renew Gallivan as the members’ health and dental broker should not be valid.
“Why are we having a double standard when it’s the same situation?” said Houssein.
Osman Hamid, student group director, said he thinks the AGM ended with the fire alarm.
“Anything after that is not considered a part of the meeting,” said Hamid.