By Gabrielle Olano and Maggie Macintosh
A handful of community members rallied at Lake Devo on Nov. 13, to protest the implementation of the RU-Pass next fall and call for a referendum re-vote.
The protestors held anti RU-Pass signs and shouted, “The RSU misled you!” and “Shame on the RSU!” as students walked by.
A referendum on the discounted transit pass was approved with more than 10,000 Ryerson University students in favour earlier this month.
Starting in September 2019, full-time students will have to pay $282 per semester for the pass, which will give them unlimited access to TTC buses, subways and streetcars.
Diana Schwendener Forkel, a molecular science PhD student who co-organized the rally, said she wants the RSU to provide a formal apology about the misinformation that surrounded the pass leading up to, and during the referendum.
“What we want is for them to do a re-vote because with the correct information out there, students are able to make an informed decision,” she said.
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has faced controversy over their vague advertisements about the opt-out for the RU-Pass, the incorrect dates published on their RU-Pass advertisements and their false advertising about their talks with Metrolinx. As a result, anti-RU-Pass petitions have been circulating on social media, including one created by Schwendener Forkel.
Schwendener Forkel said she and rally co-organizer Jonathan Bradley, a second-year journalism student, have collected hundreds of signatures in opposition to the pass.
“We want the university to take us seriously,” Schwendener Forkel said. “They’ve stopped emailing us back about our concerns, and we just feel like we’re being brushed off, and we need to show them that this is a huge fee to add on to students tuition.”
Ryerson administration did not respond for a request for comment in time for publication.
ANYONE should be able to opt out of this pass, not just a tiny fraction. There are A LOT of reasons beside living in residents or disability that can make this Pass costing a student more. Perhaps the 6000 who voted NO have that situation. They LIED to everyone about opting out situation and didn’t present necessary facts about it just to be able to get $500 per year from EVERY student!