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UPDATE: Ryerson and RSU negotiate new operating agreement

By Emma Sandri

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and Ryerson University have negotiated a new operating agreement—following the termination of their previous agreement earlier this year.

“The RSU will continue to be the autonomous, official representative of student voices on campus that you’ve come to expect,” said the union in a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday. 

On Jan. 24, Ryerson terminated the 34-year-old agreement it had with the students’ union—known as the “1986 Operating Agreement.” The previous 1986 agreement recognized the RSU as a separate corporate entity from the university and outlined the collection of fees from students and its transfer to the RSU.

Back in January, Jen McMillen, university’s vice provost, students wrote that Ryerson “no longer recognizes the RSU as the official student government representing Ryerson students” and that the university has “lost confidence” in the RSU’s ability to represent and serve students. 

The termination came one year after The Eyeopener obtained photos of financial statements showing food, clothing, alcohol and club purchases—some upward of $2,000—with a credit card under the former RSU president’s name.  

Following the termination of the agreement, the RSU filed a legal claim against the university calling for $2.7 million in damages for breach of contract, the release of the student fees withheld by the university, $100,000 in punitive damages and a declaration that Ryerson is in breach of its agreement with the RSU.

The RSU was then granted an injunction in March which required the university to release withheld student fees and temporarily recognize it as the official students’ union—until a later trial. 

McMillen also confirmed the new operating agreement in a statement posted to Ryerson Today stating that the agreement was approved by the RSU’s Board of Directors on April 21 and ratified by Ryerson’s Board of Governors on Thursday.

According to the union’s statement, with the new agreement in place, it can focus on advocating on behalf of students, building a community on campus and providing “vital, cost-saving services.” 

In her statement, McMillen adds that this agreement includes provisions for the RSU to record revenues and expenses, provide the university with its operating budget and audited financial statements, to designate a liason between the two parties to improve communication.

The new agreement has a fixed term of five years with both the RSU and Ryerson being expected to renegotiate and agree on the renewal of it nine months before the end of its term.

“Ryerson is confident that the new agreement will serve as a foundation for a positive and constructive working relationship with RSU,” McMillen states.

More to come. 

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