The board with all the power (and you didn’t know about it)

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By Keith Capstick 

There is a board made up of members of all of the most powerful and influential bodies at Ryerson, from the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) to the school’s administration, that meets every month — and you didn’t know about it.

The Palin Foundation is made up of members of the RSU, school executives like Heather Lane Vetere, Ryerson’s vice provost students, the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson, representatives from the Student Campus Centre (SCC) and more.

It is the only administrative body on campus with all of these groups represented, and the foundation has the power to do anything from deciding to take lattice fries off the menu at the Ram in the Rye to approving all-gender bathroom renovations in the SCC.  

“The board … is very pleased with this opportunity be to a leader in providing gender-neutral facilities to make the building more inclusive and safer for all members of our community,” said Lane Vetere.

“What the board does is it oversees the management, I guess you could say, of the student campus centre because it is a shared space,” said RSU president Andrea Bartlett.

The Palin Foundation is responsible for maintaining the SCC and Oakham’s facilities and how groups are funded and operating. The foundation sees more than $5 million a year flow through it and receives $30 per student, per semester in levies.

The board “approves the annual budget and audited financial statements and provides direction to [the SCC’s] General Manager,” according to Janice Winton, former Palin Foundation board member and current Ryerson vice-president administration and finance.

Bartlett also said that her experience this year on the board has been particularly exciting and that she is currently in the process of assisting student groups in voicing their specific concerns to the board.

She mentioned “booking requirements in the SCC” as one of the things that student groups are most looking to have addressed by the board.
The most recent major decision the foundation has pushed forward are the massive renovations being done to the building’s first and second floor bathrooms. The board approved the transformation of the two bathrooms to an all-gender bathroom (second floor) and a universal bathroom (first floor) to coincide with the Ryerson trans collective’s bathroom campaign.

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