By Ian Vandaelle
Sexual assault, street closures and student space; the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) aims to tackle them all at their Semi- Annual General Meeting on Wednesday Nov 10. Motions aiming to keep Gould Street closed past September 2011, start a sexual assault support line and the creation of an ad-hoc committee on student space are the main focus of the meeting.
The RSU has also tabled a motion to change referendum voting from the current online system to a paper ballot. After a number of technical difficulties in the last referendum, the RSU has indicated that a paper ballot would be more reliable. The RSU has not indicated if the low turnout numbers in the last referendum was due to technology failure.
RSU President Toby Whitfield is hoping the SAGM will allow students to express their opinions on how Ryerson is being run. “We often get lots of good feedback and it’s an opportunity for students to provide new ideas and suggestions,” Whitfield said.
The motion for a peer-run sexual assault hotline comes after an increase in concern about safety on campus in the wake of an alleged sexual assault in Pitman Hall about two months ago, and fears that other sexual assaults on campus are going unreported. Whitfield also expressed hope that the hotline would get off the ground. “There’s always a need for a student run initiative like [the sexual assault hotline]”
A motion to create a committee to review student space on campus will also be voted on during the meeting. The committee, if approved, would have five members appointed and approved during the RSU meeting.
Though Gould Street is closed on a one-year temporary trial, the RSU is hoping to lobby the city to permanently close Gould Street to traffic. If the motion is approved, the executives will actively work to keep Gould Street as a specialized pedestrian-only area.
Other motions address the lack of usable dance space on campus and raising awareness about university budget cuts.