By Sean Wetselaar
Student union affiliates have secured spots at Ryerson’s top academic body, but are left out of operational discussions.
Student Voice, a slate affiliated with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), claimed nine out of 14 student seats on the Senate, the governing body in charge of academic policies. UR Vision claimed all three Board of Governors (BoG) seats for the second consecutive year.
“I’ve been interested in kind of taking part in this decision making process,” said Alfred Lam, one of four at-large students on the Senate who represent all faculties. “And I hope to kind of make it a lot easier for students and protect the rights that students [have].” Student Voice’s platform includes plans to remove 8 a.m. exams from the schedule, improve the academic appeals policy and look into making liberal electives pass/fail.
Lam said the Senate will work closely with the RSU.
“Both the job of the Senate and also the job of the RSU is to speak on behalf of the students and work for the students,” Lam said. “So we’ll definitely see some overlap.” UR Vision’s win at the BoG shut out all candidates from Student Voice, including incoming RSU president Melissa Palermo, who missed out on a seat by five votes.
Khatera Noor, one of UR Vision’s elected candidates, said the amount of preparation and surveying that went into their campaign was “insane.”
“Getting to know your students and really understanding what they want prior to running [is important],” Noor said. “So that when you are running the stuff you’re pushing for really does reflect the student body.” Rajean Hoilett, vice-president equity-elect at the RSU, also took a seat as student at large at the senate, but said that even without a member of Student Voice on the board, student representatives should be able to co-operate.
“But, these are all students, they just want to get involved and to effect change here at Ryerson.” UR Vision was elected on a platform promising to lobby the school to increase grants and bursaries, increase library hours, and improve study space for students.
Voter turnout in both elections was low – with 6.3 per cent of eligible voters participating in BoG elections, and 3.8 per cent voting for at-large positions on the senate.