By Noushin Ziafati
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Board of Directors (BoD) discussed an updated financial policy, the condemnation of a recent University of Toronto (U of T) policy and future plans for Holocaust Education Week, among other things, at their Nov. 23 board meeting.
Ratification of new board representatives
Emily Eymundson was ratified as the Faculty of Communications and Design representative and Niall Hickey was ratified as the first-year representative–both will serve on the RSU BoD for the rest of the school year. The two were elected in the RSU by-elections, earlier this month.
Updated financial policy–tabled to next meeting
RSU president Susanne Nyaga put forward a motion for the board to approve an updated financial policy. The motion, as presented, states that the “proposed policy will make it clear for all incoming teams the way finances work within the organization and how to appropriately access and use available funds.”
The policy touches on a number of points, such as RSU contract details always being relayed to the president, general manager and financial controller and that if a transaction is missing a receipt, a written letter should be submitted to the financial controller providing proper explanation as to why this is the case.
Nyaga said she wants the updated policy to provide better financial standards for the RSU, noting 6 Fest repercussions as the driver of the revised policy.
RSU vice-president operations Ali Yousaf asked that the financial policy be tabled to the next board meeting, given that a majority of the board had not seen the policy prior to the meeting.
After a board vote, the updated financial policy was ultimately tabled to the next board meeting.
Yousaf says this policy was not “accessible” as it was provided to the board shortly before this meeting. Nyaga says a lot of people don’t usually read up on policies prior to meetings, which is why she would’ve liked to approve the financial policy at this meeting.
— Noushin (@nziafati) November 24, 2017
Condemnation of U of T’s University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy
Board member Hollie Olenik put forward a motion, which eventually passed, for the RSU to co-sign a letter with RyeACCESS to condemn U of T for the implementation of the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy, and to investigate similar proposals at Ryerson University.
The policy allows U of T administration to place students struggling with severe mental health issues on an involuntary leave of absence, without the consent of the student.
“This policy is damaging … I would not be this riled up about it if it wasn’t this important,” board member Hollie Olenik says, who put forward the motion to condemn the U of T’s University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy.
— Noushin (@nziafati) November 24, 2017
Student groups ratified
Three groups were ratified as RSU groups: the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), Orthodox Christian Students Association (OCSA) and the Saudi Association.
Holocaust Education Week
RSU vice-president student life & events Lauren Emberson put forward a motion, which eventually passed, for “the Ryerson Students’ Union [to] collaborate with Hillel Ryerson and any other relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of Holocaust Education Week each year.”
This includes adding a line item into the RSU budget for the 2018-2019 year and subsequent years called “Holocaust Education Week” that allocates half of the expenses incurred for Holocaust Education Week and adjusts every year based on previous and anticipated expenses.
The RSU, in collaboration with Hillel Ryerson, hosted the first ever Holocaust Education Week at Ryerson from Nov. 2 to 9.
Committee elections were held for the following positions: student group committee commissioner and student action committee director.
After the elections took place, board member Nick Nguyen took the position of student action committee director and board member Mathew Catangui took the position of the new student group committee commissioner.
Ratification of Graduate Representative Committee chairperson
Hussain Bhokari was chosen to fill the position of interim chairperson of the graduate representative committee at the board meeting, until the next RSU election.
RSU winter election details finalized
The RSU 2018 winter election details were discussed. The nomination period will take place from Jan. 22 to 26 and the election period will be Feb. 13 to 15. The chief returning officer will be Amiri Dear for the winter election.
Executive reports were presented and approved at the board meeting.
Nyaga mentioned that she is continuously working to get the Wellness Centre up and running, preparing for the RSU’s semi-annual general meeting, which will take place on Nov. 29, and that she worked with the RSU financial controller to update the RSU’s financial policy.
Emberson touched on organizing Holocaust Education Week and the Sundown Festival. She is now preparing for the Culture Jam and the Winter Week of Welcome, as well as working on athletic group grants.
Yousaf said he is working with different faculties to implement thesis grants for final year thesis projects and pushing for an online submission and payment system for CopyRITE Printing Service.
Vice-president education Daniel Lis said he is currently reviewing applications for the RSU’s new career development grant that he presented in October, and is continuously working to push for U-Pass, a cheaper transit pass for students.
Vice-president equity Camryn Harlick noted the achievements in the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line and Good Food Centre referendum passing, which has garnered extra funding for the Equity Service Centres, as well as some of the Colonialism 150 campaign demands getting approved by the university, which Harlick is working to implement—this includes Indigenous content and language programming at Ryerson.