The current state of the RSU. PHOTO: JAKE SCOTT PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: KEITH CAPSTiCK
Illustration: Keith Capstick

Fanning the flames of the RSU’s dumpster fire

In Editorial /

You pay these people $125 each year to provide you with a service, and when things go wrong, when promises are broken and when people fuck around, that money goes up in flames

Nicole Schmidt

By Nicole Schmidt

The past few weeks have seen a lot of chaos surrounding 6 Fest—or, as some students have started calling it, “6 Mess.”

Watching this series of unfortunate events unfold from our tiny newsroom has been nothing short of entertaining. If you factor in the months of scandals, secrets and unanswered questions, you’d have all the necessary ingredients to throw together a script for a late-night television drama: a classic tale of an unsuspecting executive who claimed he wanted to put Ryerson in the headlines using the 6 God himself.

But after 6 Fest, nothing was the same.

Students were angry, money was mismanaged and now, we’re being told the deficit has reached an alarming new peak of more than $1 million.

Mentions of lawsuits are being thrown around like paper airplanes; the aforementioned executive was almost impeached; the RSU’s finances have turned into a black hole of impending doom; five board members have resigned and we’re still left with unanswered questions.

Which leads us here. If you’re reading this, it means you probably care about getting those answers. And you should. This is one of our biggest stories of the school year, and your hard-earned refund money is being held hostage on the third floor of the Student Campus Centre.

But let’s not forget about the smaller RSU-centric stories we write each semester; the ones that fly under the radar, and the ones you scroll past on Facebook without a second thought. You pay these people $125 each year to provide you with a service, and when things go wrong, when promises are broken and when people fuck around, that money goes up in flames. Really, it’s not that different from this whole refund debacle everyone is so upset about. Every  dollar and every cent wasted counts—because it’s yours.

Regardless of whether or not you plan on using the new Wellness Centre, you should be pissed off that it’s delayed—because you helped pay for it. You should be pissed that the obnoxiously large RSU sign in front of the SCC cost $5,000 of your money. You should be pissed that the equity centres have gone understaffed year after year. You should be pissed that RSU executive candidates went $12,000 over budget on campaign materials so they could fight with each other, instead of advocating for things that really matter.

After this executive team scrambles to put Band-Aids on all of the problems they’re leaving behind—some of those issues left from ghosts of RSU members past—a new group will take over in the spring. They’ll promise transparency and accountability, just as every other president and vice-president who came before them. But it won’t work, because the current system is—and always has been—riddled with possible corruption and flaws.

I can’t predict the future, but my guess is that the RSU will continue to spiral out of control, into the abyss.

And that’s where you come in. This isn’t some spiel on how you should be the one to fix the system—that’s not your job. But it is your job to pay attention, and to help hold people accountable.

Don’t let things go unnoticed. Be upset that your money is, theoretically speaking, being fed through a paper shredder. Demand honesty and integrity from the people you elected to represent you if they don’t fulfill their promises—and because I’m cynical, I think it’s safe to say they won’t.

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