By Sarah Krichel
The main discussion at the first Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Board of Directors meeting was the RSU’s relationship with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
The board discussed a bylaw amendment to distance itself from the obligation to carry out CFS initiatives.
Anna Stevenson, co-chair of the Social Work Students’ Union, said that the RSU’s bylaws should remain the same—this would include a bylaw that states that the RSU is obligated to participate in every CFS lobbying initiative.
But at the next semi-annual general meeting, the RSU bylaw amendment will be up for vote.
Currently, the bylaw states that the Student Action Commissioner, supervised by vice president education Victoria Morton, must assist with all the campaigns of the CFS at the provincial and national level.
The CFS represents university students at a national level and lobbies for different initiatives, such as the Freeze the Fees campaign. Recently, the RSU—along with nine other students’ unions across Canada—published a letter requesting reform within the CFS.
“I’m worried that if these bylaws are taken out, I’m wondering what our relationship with [the] CFS is going to look like for the rest of the academic year while we’re still paying dues as students,” Stevenson said via email.
Stevenson said she wants conversation around the relationship with the CFS to remain unbiased, as well as “informative and transparent for students who have very little current knowledge of CFS, so they can participate in the discussion.”
Morton said that the RSU bylaws are not the place for specific regulations pertaining to the CFS, but that the RSU’s policy manual will most likely include them.
“Governing with flexibility and design I’d say is the key,” Morton said.
Morton added that the amendment of the bylaw is not to rid the RSU of CFS campaigns completely, but to have bylaws consistent with openness and fairness.
Stevenson said that it’s about “transparency, accountability and students’ right to information”
“I am open to looking at the benefits of other student organizations, but I want us to consider all options respectfully including the CFS,” Stevenson said.
Another topic discussed at the meeting was a call to disclose the audit of the restructuring of the RSU. The audit by Appian Way Group included recommendations to eliminate the executive director of communications and outreach position, as well as the Used Book Room coordinator.
RSU president Obaid Ullah claimed that the motion was not valid due to legal issues such as confidentiality.