By Sierra Bein
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) held their semi-annual fall general meeting Wednesday, Nov. 13. They passed numerous motions, including a motion carried to abolish student group spending limits immediately and permanently.
Other motions discussed were the RSU’s stance on unpaid internships and deferral fees.
Mohammad Nazir Amir pushed for changing the group spending limits, resulting in a lengthy debate between motion supporters and opposition.
Student groups and course unions are given about $1,200 a year and are directed by the RSU about where the money will be spent.
“I’ve found myself spending money I didn’t need to spend in the semester,” said Amir.
Groups are given about $225 for advertising and $450 for social events throughout both semesters and any unspent money does not carry over to the next semester.
But student groups find that they are forcing themselves to spend money on things like unnecessary advertising, instead of putting extra funds towards other areas, such as creating better social events.
The opposition argued that while they understand the barrier, allocations are placed so student groups do not overspend in certain areas, or spend all their money in one place.
Other guests said that these groups could do their own funding if they needed more money.
RSU president Melissa Palermo proposed an amendment at the meeting for the RSU policy committee to review the student groups policy in regards to spending money allocation limits.
Amir moved to oppose his new amendment, saying that allowing student groups to decide on their own spending would be “a learning opportunity.”
“If your membership just wants social events, that’s up to your members,” he said.
Palermo’s amendment was defeated and the original motion to remove student spending limits was adopted.
Other motions that were adopted at the meeting include:
The RSU will ask Ryerson Board Governors to hold a referendum to ask students for a “Student Life Fee,” but the amount is not yet determined.
The student levy would be allocated towards funding all campus groups, Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line, Equity Service Centres and the Graduate Travel Grant service. Room booking for these groups was also brought up.
The RSU will lobby the Ryerson administration to remove the $70 tuition deferral fee, which is placed on students who wish to pay one semester at a time, especially affecting students using OSAP government loans. Since OSAP only pays the first semester, students are looking to be able to pay one semester at a time without consequences.
The union will work with the Faculty of Communication and Design Internship Committee to make sure Ryerson’s internships are paid and fair and continue to pressure administration on the issue.
“It should be paid work,” said Palermo.