By Madi Wong
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) vice-president marketing Victoria Anderson-Gardner has resigned effective immediately.
Anderson-Gardner emailed The Eyeopener and said that they have stepped down from their position.
At the Board of Directors (BoD) meeting on Tuesday, vice-president student life and events Joshua Wiggins read Anderson-Gardner’s resignation letter out loud to the board.
According to the letter, Anderson-Gardner mentioned experiencing “high stresses” and has been impacted “physical, emotional and spiritual” since starting their term at the RSU.
“Being Indigenous and alone in an urban city more than 1000 km away from any family, on top of trying to do a full-time job, part-time school, and part-time film work has taken a toll on my mental health which has affected my physical, emotional and spiritual health,” they said.
“The toxic work environment that has been evolving since starting my term has only continued to contribute to the deterioration of my life.”
They also said that they have recently withdrawn from their courses for the semester and terminated their lease in plans of leaving Toronto.
Anderson-Gardner also cited the recent issues relating to a non-Indigenous performer singing “Colours of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas at an RSU event organized by the president, as well as a statement on behalf of the RSU that the executive team did not agree upon.
“If you think people are just “throwing out” anti-Indigenous racism, you’ve
fundamentally misunderstood and missed the pervasive nature of this violence in this union and in our society as a whole.”
The resignation comes after vice-president equity Naja Pereira also resigned on Tuesday, according to a statement sent to The Eyeopener by Pereira. The now-former vice-president cited concerns around the RSU’s work environment being damaging and unhealthy.
“I hope the RSU will move forward by prioritizing, protecting, listening and collaborating with the most marginalized students on our campus,” stated Pereira.
Anderson-Gardner addressed the board in their letter, stating that the board should be reminded of the “real meaning” of why they are there—to work together rather than work against each other.
More to come.