In response to the RSU's "Tent City," Ryerson Provost Mohamed Lachemi has sent a letter requesting a meeting

Photo: Rob Foreman

Ryerson Provost requests meeting with RSU

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By Jackie Hong

Ryerson Provost Mohamed Lachemi has sent a letter to the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) requesting a meeting. The letter was sent in response to the “Tent City” the RSU set up in front of Jorgenson Hall Nov. 17 as part of its Freeze the Fees Campaign.

“I wish to extend again the invitation to meet with you and provide you an opportunity to present your alternative budget, as I indicated in my message of Friday, Nov. 14,” Lachemi said in the letter. “To reiterate, we would like to establish regular meetings over the coming months for the RSU to engage with us to ensure ongoing discussion and dialogue.”

The RSU said in a press release Nov. 17 that it will camp out “until the university cooperates to present an alternative budget to be considered at the Board of Governors Meeting in April.”

Lachemi’s letter also outlines the cost that meeting two of the RSU’s demands – stopping tuition increases and not cutting any budgets – would have on the school.

“In fact, our calculations determine that the total cost … would be $14 million in the first year alone … $300 million in year five and $800 million in year 10,” Lachemi said.

“My colleagues and I would be pleased to discuss all of this with you, and to hear your concerns,” the letter concludes. “Please contact me … at your earliest convenience to set up a meeting.”

The RSU has posted a response to Lachemi’s letter on its Facebook page. It reads, in part:

Thank you for your response. As stated in our email to you and President Levy, dated November 17,2014, we are looking for the university to pass a motion at the Ryerson Board of Governors that directs the finance committee and appropriate staff of the university to develop a budget that does not include a tuition fee increase and academic departmental cuts, while maintaining the University’s policy of not going into a deficit. We have yet to receive a response to this request.

… we are challenging you to be creative with how you spend our money, and recognize that there may be other ways to balance the budget that does not include downloading the burden onto students. Furthermore we are challenging you to work to include students staff and faculty in a more meaningful and engaging way.  

… We hope that your next response to us includes some potential meeting dates and a commitment to movef orward (sic) with the development of an alternative budget.

The full response, as well as the RSU’s timeline for its Freeze the Fees campaign, is available here.

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