RSU to fight for tuition at AGM

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Tuition fee increases and funding for graduate student associations will be among the issues discussed at the Ryerson Student’s Union (RSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) Wednesday.

The AGM allows RSU executives to present a report of the goings-on in the union over the last six months and to make motions, which students attending will vote on. Students also have the opportunity to bring new ideas forward.

Melissa Palermo, RSU vice-president education, said that putting forth an “emergency” motion to oppose funding cuts to the Ontario Work Study Program will be at the top of the agenda. Cuts to the program were outlined in the Ontario budget, tabled March 27.

Tuition fees will also be a hot topic for many students, particularly after the recent announcement by the Liberal government in March that, for the seventh year in a row, tuition fees may increase by five per cent for all students.

“Students in Ontario are paying the highest tuition fees in the country, and at the same time have the largest class sizes and are seeing courses cut from year to year,” said Palermo. “The cuts that have been proposed in the provincial budget, if the budget is passed as is, are going to have impacts exponentially more detrimental to students than the cuts that we faced earlier this year.”

Second-year graphic communication management student Rachel Davies believes that fee increases are necessary for maintaining qulaity post-secondary education.

“I don’t think we can decrease [fees] and maintain quality,” she said. “In the States it’s way more intense.”

Stefan Hoogerbrugge, a radio and television arts student, said that tuition fee increases are unacceptable.

“The RSU is the voice of Ryerson students, and without them lobbying against tuition fees, who would?” he said. “As individuals we don’t have a say against the government, but the RSU, acting as the voice of the students, is a group that the government will listen to.”

But Hoogerbrugge, who has been at Ryerson for two years, admits that he’s never attended an RSU meeting. According to the RSU bylaws, the AGM cannot take place unless a minimum of 100 members are present.

Last year’s April AGM adjourned early after failing to maintain quorum, resulting in many motions being pushed back to the November meeting. RSU president Caitlin Smith said they will promote the meeting through various methods of communications, including an email that will go out to every RSU member.

“We will [also use] posters, Facebook, Twitter, and our e-newsletter,” Smith says. The RSU’s Annual General Meeting will be held in SCC115 at the Student Centre Wednesday, starting at 5 p.m.

Correction: an earlier version of this article stated that last April’s meeting was moved to November due to not reaching quorum. RSU AGMs are held in both April and November regardless of reaching quorum. The Eyeopener regrets the error.

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