BY SHIRLEY LIN
Ryerson will not endorse a campaign promoted by its own students’ union.
Last Tuesday, Ryerson’s Senate voted down a motion to support the “Drop Fees for a Poverty- Free Ontario” campaign — a cause taken up by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).
But President Sheldon Levy said making big statements with no heft will have no impact.
Levy, who’s also the Senate’s chair, said “we’d all be in really big trouble” since the motion implied that the government could reduce or freeze tuition fees without increasing university funding.
The motion called for more funding per student, tuition-fee reduction plus province-wide funding for affordable housing, childcare and healthcare.
“They’re concerned about no funding coming and then tuition fees going down,” said Liana Salvador, RSU vice-president education who moved the motion. “But we’re asking for funding as a way to reduce the cost of education.”
Neil Thomlinson, chair of the politics and public administration department, said the motion was too broad and didn’t centre around students.
“Students have to learn that senate would like a resolution that is within the purview of what senate has to do, then they would find support,” said Thomlinson, who voted against the motion. “You’ve got to somehow dress it up so it’s talking about students and in the process take a shot at poverty Ontario.”
But Salvador is undeterred by its defeat. Senate supported the campaign’s second motion encouraging professors to make academic accommodations for students who will take part in the province-wide day of action on Nov. 5, which is held each year.
The same motion was passed last year. The campaign’s third passed motion called for university administration to team up with the RSU and other groups to lobby governments for post-secondary education funding.
“I think the third motion was a really important motion to come forth and it was very meaningful that it passed unanimously because it showed every single person in that room showed support for that campaign,” Salvador said. “We’re taking this as a victory, we’re incredibly happy that the motion passed.”