By Sherina Harris
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) vice-president operations is urging board members not to talk to media, according to an email to the membership obtained by The Eyeopener.
On Feb. 9, vice-president operations Savreen Gosal wrote that some RSU members were contacted by The Eye about additional credit card statements.
“It’s essential that the RSU speak with one voice, now especially,” Gosal wrote. “All board members owe a fiduciary obligation to the RSU and must act in the RSU’s best interest. Please do not speak to media, RSU members or the public about internal RSU matters.”
In the email she provided a statement from the RSU’s lawyer, also given to The Eye on Jan. 9.
In the statement, the lawyer said the RSU corporate card was used by multiple individuals and while someone’s name may appear on a receipt, it does not mean that person made the purchase.
“Any attempt to link a specific board member to a specific charge is unfounded and irresponsible,” the lawyer wrote, adding the RSU passed a motion to retain PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a forensic audit on the union’s finances.
“The RSU is committed to being fully transparent with its members, but
Gosal added if Board of Directors (BoD) members get media requests, they should forward them to her so she can discuss it with the RSU’s lawyers.
“The RSU is committed to being fully transparent with its members, but staff and board members cannot comment further while the investigation is underway”
She also asked BoD members who had already spoken to the media to contact the journalists they spoke to and tell them they no longer had permission to use their statement.
In an email response sent to Gosal, student groups director Maklane deWever said the, “damage to the RSU was not done by people raising legitimate concerns during board meetings…or to the media” but through, “a result of the lack of care and responsibility in managing our finances by the executive.
He said a fiduciary obligation, “means [directors] have an obligation to act in good faith with regard to the interests of the students we were elected to represent.” DeWever said a failure to address the issues within the RSU would be a violation of this obligation.
“With all due respect I do think you have a private interest in blocking members of the board from speaking out,” he wrote. “It would have been prudent to advise the board before determining this was the best course of action for the RSU.”
“I was not aware that we had retained a lawyer to be the official spokesperson of the RSU,” deWever added.