Illustration: Alanna Rizza

RSU releasing online tracker to keep transparency promise

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By Tyler Choi

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is set to release a web tool that will help students keep track of their campaign promises.

During the RSU elections last year, President Ram Ganesh ran under a promise to “do things differently by communicating and being more open and transparent.” The Polimeter, he said, will do just that.

A Polimeter tracks promises made and kept—or broken—by a politician. It gained traction as a public record for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and is now extending to the RSU. Except the RSU Polimeter will be run by the student union, whereas the TrudeauMeter is run by a group of Canadians interested in politics.

Currently, the RSU Polimeter is in its beta testing stages. It is updated on a biweekly basis by a member of Ganesh’s board of directors. It is planned for a public launch in the middle of 2019, accompanied by a full marketing blast across Ryerson’s campus.

The Polimeter requires one director to devote their day every two weeks at the RSU office in order to update the list by contacting every member of the board of directors.

“We thought of using a tool that would help my team be accountable for our promises, and advertise our wins throughout the year,” Ganesh said.

In addition to tracking and updating promises made by Ganesh’s board of directors, the RSU president said it will also keep students in the loop when it comes to where RSU funding is allocated and will play a part in the group’s transparency.

Financial and administrative transparency became a key issue during the RSU election in 2017 after the unauthorized transfer of money. Nearly $80,000 for event refunds were discovered in the personal bank accounts of an RSU executive and other non-RSU members after the controversial frosh event 6Fest was cancelled.

The tracker idea, said Ganesh, came from his own frustrations with the RSU’s budget. “I took a look at the budget, and didn’t understand some of it,” said Ganesh. “There were some very ambiguous lines, and students couldn’t understand this at first glance.”

When informed about the Polimeter, former RSU president Susanne Nyaga said, “I think it sounds great in theory, but it seems like a lot of work being put in to just appear transparent, when you could focus on maintaining your campaign points and just actually being transparent.”

Ganesh said the Polimeter will be a tool that keeps directors in check by publishing their names attached to their individual projects. “It’s a win for RSU, the student body, and overall brand. If we aren’t doing something right, I would be afraid to publicly advertise it.”

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