Students will be able to opt out of the Ryerson’s Students’ Union (RSU) if a bylaw amendment passes at an RSU meeting at the end of March.
“If students aren’t interested, why should they be paying?” said Mark Single, the student who put forth the amendment.
All full-time undergraduate and graduate students at Ryerson are automatically members of the RSU, meaning they pay about $110 a year to use the students’ union’s services. The RSU fee also includes membership to the Canadian Federation of Students, and funds to support groups like CKLN and the Eyeopener. Students who don’t want to use RSU services should be able to opt out, Single said.
The RSU provides services such as discounted TTC Metropasses and facilities like the Used Book Room. They also advocate for students and organize events.
“Even if it were a well-run machine, students should be given a choice,” he said.
The potential bylaw change will be on the agenda at the March 31 annual general meeting (AGM). All RSU members are able to vote on issues presented during the meeting.
Single said the typically low turnout to RSU elections and SAGM meetings show how much students care about their membership.
“I don’t suspect this motion will pass,” he said, because of the lack of voters. Single, who put himself in the running for RSU president twice with a platform of optional membership, said he thinks voting on the issue is the best approach.
Although the issue will be on the agenda, it doesn’t mean it’s practical, according to RSU president Jermaine Bagnall. “I could serve a motion saying every Wednesday is waffle day,” said Bagnall.
He said the motion goes against the organization. He compared it to parliament passing legislation to have no parliament.
“You can’t serve bylaws that go against the grain,” said Bagnall.
But that doesn’t mean that students aren’t interested in the idea.
“It doesn’t seem like such a crazy option,” said Ira Miller, second-year radio and television arts student.
“I think when it comes down to opting out, we need to know what they’re doing for us,” Miller said. He said the only RSU service he’s aware of using is access to cheaper Metropasses.