By Aidan Macnab
Election season is not over at Ryerson, as voting for the university’s highest decision-making body, the Board of Governors (BOG) will take place from March 2 – 5.
There are eight candidates running for the three student positions. There are two slates, UR Vision and UR Choice, each with three candidates, and two other candidates running independently. Those elected will serve a one-year term beginning Sept. 1.
“The Board of Governors make the biggest decisions that affect us, as students, and a lot of students don’t know that,” said Cormac McGee, who is running for the Board on the UR Vision slate with Hannah Van Dyk and Michael Zelma.
The BOG is in charge of the money Ryerson spends, what they spend it on as well as the money that comes into the school such as tuition and fees. They look after business partnerships, school property, set the strategic direction of the university and oversee the accountability and performance of the school.
The BOG represents Ryerson in dealings with government by appointing and monitoring the performance of Ryerson’s president.
The Student Learning Centre, which opened this week and the acquisition of the Mattamy Athletics Centre are examples of two recent additions to Ryerson that came out of the BOG.
McGee, a fourth-year journalism student, said that UR vision’s goal is to enhance communication between students and their representatives on the BOG, but that the board cannot sit back and wait for students to come to them. He said he hopes to reach out via town-hall meetings, monthly newsletters, and video blogs, if elected.
There is reason to be optimistic about engagement in student politics. The recent RSU elections saw a 75 per cent increase in voter turnout to the previous election.
“You don’t have to vote for me, but you have to vote,” said David Kwok of UR Choice. “If you’re not voting, your voice is not being heard.”
Kwok is on the UR Choice slate with Jessica Machado and Ganesh Thavarajah. According to them, the BOG needs to boost Ryerson’s brand. They said they want to achieve that by strengthening the relationship between students and Ryerson alumni, improving high school recruitment, increasing funding for experiential learning projects, research projects and cross-disciplinary collaboration across campus.
Van Dyk of UR vision, who along with McGee were just elected to the RSU on the Transform ticket, said she wants to forge a partnerships with hotels to get discounted rooms during exam times. She said that since Ryerson has so many students who commute, those who have early-morning finals are often forced to stay in a hotel.
“Offering some kind of hotel space just to alleviate that cost for them. That’s something I feel really, really strongly about,” she said.
Dwayne Anderson is an executive on the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson. If elected, he said he will seek to add another student representative to the BOG designated for continuing, part time and distance students.
Mikhail Morozov is a community services student and said he wants to address issues like high tuition and residence affordability. Morozov and Anderson are running independently.
There are 24 members on the Board of Governors including the President, Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. Nine members are appointed by the provincial government, two are appointed by the board itself, alumni and teaching faculty each elect three members and two are elected by Ryerson administrative staff.