By Neha Chollangi
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) funding for election campaigning is over budget by at least $12,000, according to vice-president operations Neal Muthreja.
The current RSU budget for elections, which includes the salary of the chief returning officer (CRO), is about $32,000. The CRO, Amiri Dear, is an impartial member of the RSU who oversees the election process and conducts annual reports.
This year there are four official slates: Spark, Elevate, Ohana and the Rhino party—the highest number in recent years. The campaign budget was exceeded due to the unexpected amount of slates running.
“I don’t think we can put a cap on the number of slates because everyone is entitled to run with their own beliefs and campaign,” said Muthreja.
The original budget of $17,500 is meant to go toward campaign expenses, such as print media, sponsors and ads.
But Muthreja said expenses will reach approximately $30,000 this year.
According to RSU bylaws, each executive candidate receives $500 and every director candidate receives $300 towards their campaign. Candidates spend the money out of their own pockets for campaigning and present expense reports with receipts to the CRO. The CRO then reviews the reports and reimburses the candidates.
Muthreja said that when the bylaw committee tried to cut down the election expenditure at the 2016 Semi-Annual General Meeting, the general membership did not agree with the cut, so a friendly amendment was made to keep it at $300 per director candidate.
Last year, the RSU considered having paperless campaigns after the Board of Governors election, however, the motion was not passed.
Stephan Allen, Elevate candidate for vice-president student life & events, said he believes that banners are necessary to create awareness among the student body about the elections.
“Going paperless at this current point in time is not a realistic way to ensure all Ryerson students have a chance to become aware of the election,” he said.
Allen said not all students are on social media platforms, so posters are an effective way to make everyone aware of the elections.
But Muthreja said the amount of posters used in campaigns is “unnecessary.”
His slate has prioritized reaching out to students through social media.
The CRO will be publishing the election report during the first week of April in which suggestions of improvement will be made.