Students at the Nov. 30 SAGM.

Photo: Annie Arnone

Recapping the RSU semi-annual general meeting

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By Behdad Mahichi

Nearly 200 students gathered in a Ted Roger’s School of Management lecture hall on Monday for the 2015 Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM).

Twelve motions were detailed in the agenda that were to be voted on, along with the RSU’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year.

Roughly halfway through the SAGM, quorum was lost and the meeting was adjourned — however, an emergency Board of Directors meeting was called right after to present the remaining motions.

Here is a summary and recap of each motion presented at the meeting:


  • Bylaw amendments — PASSED


Several minor changes were made to the RSU bylaws. These changes ranged from updating the name of certain equity centres to adding the newly created Student Representative Bodies Council “super group” to the responsibilities of RSU executives. 


  • Online voting for RSU elections — PASSED


Those present voted in favour of the RSU implementing online voting, which will see online ballots sent out to members’ emails during RSU elections. This was originally proposed as a bylaw amendment but members voted to decide on it separately.   


  • Observation of ballot boxes — PASSED


The motion states that RSU election bylaws do not enforce that scrutineers keep an eye on ballot boxes while they’re being transported from polling stations to counting areas. This motion allows them to do so.


  • Permanent campaign for affordability  — OUT OF ORDER


This contentious motion, that asked for the RSU to publicly commit “to taking action to achieve significant reductions in tuition fees” and recommended bylaw changes that would enforce future executives to do so, was ruled out of order by the SAGM chairperson. 


  • Equity Service Centres — PASSED


With nearly $16,000 overspent as of August for their 2015-2016 fiscal budget, the Equity Service Centres proposed being given a $2 per-student contribution from the existing budget to fuel increasing usage of their services.


  • No to anti-Semitism on campus pins — PASSED


The RSU has a collection of social justice pins, from those calling for inclusiveness on campus to going green. This motion called on the students’ union to officially support action against anti-Semitism on campus and to create pins for it as well.


  • Late penalty guidelines — PASSED


This motion was amended and later passed. It called for the RSU to lobby the senate for uniform penalties on late assignments for all faculties. The motion stated that penalties shouldn’t be higher than five per cent a day.

At this point, quorum was lost and the SAGM was adjourned. An emergency Board of Directors meeting took place right after to present the remaining motions. Although items were passed, each motion still has to go through in the next Annual General Meeting, which will be held in April 2016.


  • Hate speech on campus — POSTPONED


With recent controversial groups trying to obtain official group status on campus, this motion called for the RSU to write an open letter distinguishing between hate speech and freedom of speech. Discussing this item was postponed to April in order to have more students present.


  • RSU executive salary increase — POSTPONED


This item stated that RSU executives aren’t being paid enough for the amount of work they deal with. It called for fair compensation (increase in pay). The motion was differed in order to have more students present.


  • Policy on health and dental money returns — PASSED BY BOARD


Currently, if students don’t pick their opt-out cheques at school after 15 months, the money goes back to the RSU. The Board of Directors voted they would instead give the option to mail it out to the students.


  • Vice-President Communications and Outreach — POSTPONED


This motion proposed bylaw amendments to create the new position of Vice-President Communication and Outreach. This motion was put off until the next AGM in April.

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