By Libaan Osman, Heidi Lee and Alexandra Holyk
On Tuesday, the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) second Board of Directors (BoD) meeting saw the ratification of a temporary Board of Governors (BoG) representative and the allocation of $5,000 toward organizations fighting against racial inequality.
At the meeting, several updates regarding the upcoming academic year were announced. RSU president Ali Yousaf said he spoke with university president Mohamed Lachemi about the fall semester and was told campus will be closed until Dec. 31.
Yousaf and vice-president operations Liora Dubinsky also mentioned they found a “better” health and dental plan to implement in the 2020-21 academic year. The total cost would be $340, a decrease from last year’s $365.
Dubinsky added that coverage for vision care will increase—specifically for eye exams and eyeglasses/contacts—from $60 to $75 and from $100 to $150, respectively.
Each student under the RSU Members’ Health Plan will also be covered for the cost of up to four doctor’s notes per year, according to Dubinsky.
“There’s been a lot of students that were saying how it’s unfair that doctor’s notes cost money and it’s something that is very necessary for us to succeed in our classes,” said Dubinsky. “We advocated with our insurance company and we covered $100 per year.”
Dubinsky also said the RSU’s budget for the 2020-21 academic year will be revealed at the next board meeting. The date for the next meeting has yet to be announced.
Here’s what else happened at the RSU’s June BoD meeting:
Motion to ratify ex-officio member: PASSED
The Board voted in favour to ratify Iyvan Chandran as an ex-officio member, making him the BoG representative from June 30 to Aug. 31.
Chandran, the former vice-president education in 2019 as well as BoG student-elect in 2019-20, was absent from the meeting. Yousaf said this was because Chandran had already committed to another event scheduled a month earlier.
Faculty of Arts director Alexandra Nash moved to ratify David Jardine instead of Chandran as Jardine has been elected as the BoG representative for the 2020-21 academic year, adding that RSU by-laws state the representative should be elected by the students.
Yousaf said he consulted with the RSU’s legal team and proposed that a new BoG representative would be appointed in September after Ryerson’s BoG ratifies its incoming team members.
Since Chandran wasn’t at the meeting, Nash proposed to table the motion, citing concerns around his lack of attendance at BoD meetings. Yousaf said Chandran needed to be ratified in order to be equipped with an email and included in future meetings.
According to Yousaf, the Senate representative position on the BoD is currently vacant. Yousaf said he is waiting to hear from Ryerson’s Senate about who the elected representatives are.
Motion to provide funding for charitable organizations fighting racial equality: PASSED
The RSU plans to allocate $5,000 from its budget to not-for-profit organizations in the community that support and focus on fighting racial inequality.
In selecting which charitable organizations and not-for-profit organizations to provide funding to, the RSU’s equity and social justice committee will create a focus group composed of community members to select the organizations.
The motion was passed after Faculty of Community Services director Steph Rychlo moved to amend the wording of the motion that stated, “The RSU has always stood with the Black community it in its fight against racial discrimination.”
“Historically and even presently, there are things that Black students are advocating for that we have stayed silent on or that past RSU execs have stayed silent on,” said Rychlo.
The equity and social justice committee commissioner is expected to present a report to the BoD at the next meeting revealing the chosen organizations, after which the funds will be distributed.
The RSU has not yet released the date for the next BoD meeting.