By Diana Hall
Student Housing Services is setting up a new committee that has caused uproar from the Ryerson Residence Council (RRC).
The new group will be called the Student Consultation Committee and its purpose is to give feedback to student housing and help shape future policies. But the RRC is concerned about where they fit into this new arrangement.
“Residence Council wants to ensure that this committee does not duplicate our current practices,” said Kyra Whale, RRC president and fourth-year student.
“We are in conversations with (Student Housing Services) in the hopes that this does not happen, and that the structure and processes of the committee are documented and made more clear to residence students.”
But Chad Nuttall, Student Housing manager, noted that the new committee is not meant to replace the Residence Council.
“I certainly didn’t anticipate a controversy because I think consulting the students is typically something that’s welcomed. The residence council felt that I was somehow undermining their authority as a body that represents students.”
He argued that the new committee would have an entirely different role than the RRC.
“It’s just different stuff,” said Nuttall. “It’s not the kind of stuff that you can expect from a first-year student signed onto very different reasons than to advise policy.”
The committee will consist of one first-year representative from each residence building, one representative of the residence service desk, one student link and one member of the RRC.
The idea emerged from the success of last year’s town hall meetings, where students were encouraged to come and voice their concerns about residence issues, according to Nuttall.
“I came up with the idea of having a small committee that’s made up of student leaders in the building, to give us more of that information,” he said.
But the new committee has also already faced a fair share of problems. One position has yet to be filled due to a small number of candidacy applications, while the students in residence are still waiting to find out more about voting procedures and the committee’s direct impact.
“The purpose of the council is to improve student housing service,” said Angela Sucee, the sole candidate for Pitman Hall representation.
“I think it’s great that this opportunity is (giving students a chance) to learn more about housing services and to speak up on the policies that affect them,” she said.
The committee should prove to be a crucial outlet for students as it starts up communications, but Whale maintained the RRC must remain the “primary body” for student feedback in residence.
“(We want) to ensure that residence students have the proper and most efficient means to have their concerns heard and addressed in a timely manner.”
“We also want to guarantee that each student is represented in the best way possible.”
The elections will take place in the next few weeks and committee’s first of four annual meetings is expected to take place late this month.
“I think we’re doing the right thing by consulting students about our processes,” said Nuttall.