Jesse Root is vice-president education of the Ryerson Students’ Union.

Photo courtesy Unite Ryerson

RSU’s got the board blues

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By Jake Scott

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) said they’ve been denied an opportunity to speak at the upcoming Ryerson Board of Governors (BoG) meeting on Nov. 24.

The 24-member board, which includes appointed and elected members, including three student representatives, is responsible for the school’s finances, planning and property.

The RSU, which normally meets with the board in March, said it wants to meet earlier this year so it can have more influence on how the school puts together its budget.

However, when it requested to speak at the meeting, it was told to talk to the student representatives on the board who would bring forward the RSU’s proposals on its behalf. To quantify student support for their motion, the RSU collected 3,000 signatures petitioning that the motion be brought forward.

“The students [on the] board of governors represent student interest.

We have shown them that students, 10 per cent of [Ryerson] students over seven working days, have signed a petition saying ‘I would like you to put this forward,'” RSU Vice-President Education Jesse Root said.

“The role of the [students on the BoG] is not to decide whether they are on board or not at this point, it is to decide what the will of the students is and to move forward on that,” Root said.

Tyler Webb, a student representative on the BoG, said a part of the reason the RSU’s proposal hasn’t been approved for presentation at the meeting is because the student representatives want to sit down and clarify various points in the proposal.

“We were emailed a draft motion Friday evening and then the deadline for submitting the motion to the board was Monday … Realistically, we just weren’t comfortable without sitting and meeting and talking about it,” Webb said.

“Our way of thinking about it was, ‘Let’s not rush this and let’s set up a time to chat and talk about what the history of this is, the longterm goals of this. What are you trying to achieve? And let’s make sure we’re on the same page.'” The RSU’s motion proposes a committee made up of representatives from the BoG, RSU, CESAR, Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ryerson Faculty Association.

The purpose of the committee is to develop an alternative budget without departmental cuts or tuition fee increases for consideration with the final product.

“As the process currently happens, the BoG really just rubberstamp the budget coming from the finance committee – which is the product of some consultation with students – but really we don’t see any drastic changes coming out of the consultation process,” Root said.

An RSU press release Tuesday urged students to tweet #freezethefees and #TakeBackRyerson to the three student representatives on the board in support of their initiative.

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