By Mohamed Omar
It’s Nov. 11, 2014. A handful of Eyeopener editors and myself are at Tecumseh Auditorium in the Student Campus Centre. That’s a real place, I promise.
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is holding its semi-annual general meeting, which is one of two big congregations that all members can attend.
I’m excited. My colleagues – or are we pals? – are trying to be. There are chairs. We sit on some of them, notepads, laptops and phones at the ready.
People start flowing in. My stomach rumbles. Not now, Mr. Noodles. More people rush inside the auditorium and eventually it’s standing room only.
The RSU’s general meetings are not, to put it unbelievably politely, something most students attend. As a result, similar ideas and policies are passed every year, resulting in perpetual, mind-numbing status quo.
This meeting, however, was different for one gargantuan reason – something actually significant happened.
One motion at this packed meeting – one chunky Chipotle-burrito with-everything-in-it motion – called for giving students the magic power of opting out of the union.
This wasn’t revolutionary. People have pitched this in the past, only to see it struck down. This meeting was no different, as the chair found it violating the union’s bylaws.
But this motion had another resolution – it was a democratic Russian doll of sorts – that called for the RSU to post its budget online.
After a tense vote and a solid back-and-forth from the Yes and No sides of the vote, the resolution passed.
All it took was a few students to present it at a general meeting as a motion, and some student support to pass it.
Lo and behold, the RSU’s budget is now on its website, glorious, naked in divine financial transparency.
Does this affect your day-to-day life at Ryerson? No, unless you’re interested in student government finances. (If you are, come drink with us!) But its significance comes in the form of a reminder, that no matter how detached you feel from student politics, how little influence you think you have on campus life, you have a voice and gosh darn it, that voice works.
If enough people are at the meeting to vote your motion in, and it doesn’t break any rules, the RSU essentially has to comply. So here’s some sample motions to present at the next meeting:
– Whereas waffle fries are delicious and students like them, be it resolved that the RSU make the Ram in the Rye serve them again.
– Whereas some of us don’t want others to sleep well, be it resolved that the RSU lobby Ryerson to make classes start at 4 a.m.
– Whereas poetry can make us feel loved, be it resolved that the RSU post one nice poem on its website every day.
– Whereas the Internet is everything, be it resolved that the RSU look into online voting and give students Netflix subscriptions.