RSU still hasn’t hired staff required for March elections

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By Raneem Alozzi, Peter Ash and Sherina Harris

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has yet to hire a Chief Returning Officer (CRO) or organize an election committee to oversee the elections, president Maklane deWever said.

According to RSU bylaws, the CRO needs to determine the number of student faculty directors at least 30 days prior to the date of the election. There are supposed to be 1,100 students to every director for a faculty.

Although the RSU has no CRO to approve the number of directors per faculty, the union’s website shows an election announcement with updated numbers of how many student directors can run for each faculty.

“If necessary we will inform the membership of any changes to the board size,” deWever said.

He added he is not sure who would have updated the information on the website.

According to the information on their website, there would be one more director from the Ted Rogers School of Management for a new total of seven, one more from the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science for a new total of five and one more for the Faculty of Science for a new total of three.

The Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Communication and Design and Faculty of Community Services would have the same number of directors as this year.

The annual RSU elections were pushed back to March 12-14 during the emergency Board of Directors (BoD) meeting on Feb. 1.

However, deWever said with a two-third majority, the BoD can vote to supersede the bylaws requiring a CRO to confirm the numbers 30 days before the election, and keep the elections on time.

“They won’t happen until they are ready and done properly but we are quite confident they will happen on the dates that we’ve set out,” he said.

He said hiring the staff members necessary to run the elections is one of the RSU’s first priorities.

DeWever said the RSU has been busy “putting out fires” since the impeachment of former president Ram Ganesh on Feb. 11.

The CRO’s responsibilities include overseeing the election process, announcing the results and overseeing any appeals, according to the  bylaws.

“Let’s be clear, there should be an election committee formed by now and you have to have a DRO and a CRO,” said Dawn Murray, the RSU’s campus groups coordinator at an emergency BoD meeting on Feb. 1.

“Has that [information] been released for us to have released nominations as of today? You have to follow your election bylaws,” she said.

On Jan. 14, RSU HR Coordinator Manny Brar told The Eye a CRO would be appointed by the end of the week. Brar didn’t respond to further request for comment.

Prior to the Feb. 1 meeting, the elections were supposed to take place much earlier. Brar told The Eye the unofficial campaigning period was going to be Feb. 4-11, with voting taking place from Feb. 12-14.

The new nomination period will close at 5 p.m. on March 4., and campaigning will start on March 5 and end on March 11. The candidates meeting hasn’t been announced yet.

“How’s that fair? This effectively makes it impossible for people to campaign,” a student said during the Feb. 1 meeting arguing that the new election dates will fall during the peak of midterm exam season.

“Just because you guys aren’t ready, doesn’t mean that other people haven’t been preparing over the last three weeks.”

DeWever said pushing the election dates again would be unfortunate for students, but emphasized the importance of adhering to bylaws so election results are valid.

“Students deserve a well-run election that complies with bylaws,” he said.

In the 2016-17 student elections, Amiri Dear was the CRO for the RSU but hasn’t been re-hired. The Eye reached out to Dear for comment via email, but he did not respond in time for publication.

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