By Al Downham
An emergency general meeting (GM) will be held by the Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS) Friday after a petition called for discussion on the society’s elimination of election slates.
“You need an actual general public vote to really know what [FCAD members] want or not,” said third-year performance dance student John-Charles Vaughan, the petition’s creator.
The petition, titled “Call for RCDS Emergency General Meeting,” was created hours after the RCDS’ Board of Directors (BoD) meeting Jan. 21. It requested a GM on the BoD’s ruling to eliminate slates for the 2016-17 RCDS BoD election Feb. 10-12. A slate is a team running for election.
“Until [a GM] is held, the bylaw stands and the upcoming electoral process of our student society will be impacted,” the petition states.
Vaughan said the RCDS BoD can “put in their bylaws as they wish,” but wanted to ensure students could voice their opinion on the amendment at an emergency GM before elections. Vaughan said he has no preference between slates or individual candidates for the election.
“It wasn’t so much what the motion was, it was how the inner workings got the say on it but not the student body,” Vaughan said. Michal Stolarczyk — a FCAD member and third-year journalism student that signed the petition — said the BoD can “say all they want that parties and slates shouldn’t be in the election,” but the motion should have waited until a GM where at least 30 FCAD members must attend for quorum. The RCDS constitution states special GMs can be called by the society’s vice-president administration and operations — a position currently held by Paulina Gusciora — when a written request is submitted and signed by at least 50 FCAD members. The petition reached the minimum requirement Jan. 24.
During debate, RCDS BoD members including vice-president finance Luke Villemaire said making candidates run individually “allows for an easy playing field,” while vice-president events Tavia Bakowski said “[elections without slates] may be overwhelming” to first-year students.
“I think it shows through motivation they’re trying to turn the election more towards the individual,” Stolarczyk said.
RCDS President Casey Yuen, who suggested an emergency GM at the BoD meeting, said “changes to bylaws can happen at board level but are also brought to the GM to inform the public.” She was voted into her position last year with Envision RCDS, an electoral slate. Yuen said the RCDS BoD believes in giving equal opportunity among potential candidates. She said she sees pros and cons of both slates and individual candidates.
“If you believe in the mandate [of a slate] and how they think the organization should be run, it allows students who don’t know every single person agree on what they believe in,” Yuen said. “I would assume a student would be confused at the many posters [of individual candidates]. It would get a little confusing. But it’s something they should care about. It’s something that does impact them.”