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RSU’s first BoD meeting of 2021 sees ratification of new BoG student rep

By Charlize Alcaraz, Alexandra Holyk and Heidi Lee

At the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Board of Directors’ (BoD) meeting on Monday, a motion was passed to ratify MJ Wright as the new Board of Governors’ (BoG) representative. 

Former BoG representative David Jardine was impeached from the RSU BoD at the Dec. 19 BoD meeting. Twenty-two board members voted in favour of Jardine’s impeachment, while one opposed and six abstained. 

In response to their impeachment, Jardine released a statement on Twitter Sunday night. According to the statement, Jardine said the RSU “failed to present evidence” to support their removal from the board. 

“In my opinion, I did not deserve to be impeached,” the statement reads. “The only thing I was guilty of was pushing for more transparency. I think the question we need to ask is why is transparency seen by the executives as such a threat?”

The statement continues with Jardine asking for more student engagement in holding the union accountable.

“We can have a better RSU if we work for it,” they stated. 

In response to Jardine’s post, RSU president Ali Yousaf emailed a statement to The Eyeopener that reads, “Jardine’s statement demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of [their] fiduciary duty as a member of the [BoD].”

Yousaf’s statement continues; “Jardine’s misrepresentation of the situation is disappointing.” He added that they supported and communicated with “a party adverse in interest to the RSU in ongoing legal proceedings.”

Yousaf also said Jardine will not be reinstated.

The statement goes on to say that the RSU’s legal team was present during the impeachment hearing and advised the board.

Before passing the motion, Faculty of Arts director Alexandra Nash put forward an amendment, asking to remove a section of the motion that mentioned Jardine’s impeachment.

The section Nash was referring to read, “David Jardine, the previous [BoG] representative, has been impeached from the RSU [BoD].”

“I don’t think it’s relevant to ratifying the new representative,” Nash said. 

Yousaf responded saying he thinks the section should stay because “it’s just a fact.” However, the amendment to the motion, as well as the motion itself, passed after a roll call vote.

Update on RSU’s statement of solidarity with Indigenous students

During the meeting, senate representative George Carter asked Yousaf for an update on the statement in solidarity with Indigenous students at Ryerson calling for the removal of the Egerton Ryerson statue. 

At the November BoD meeting, a motion was passed to publish a statement dedicated to supporting Indigenous students and calling on the university’s task force to remove the statue.

Yousaf said he sent a few emails to the Indigenous Students’ Association at Ryerson but received no response, adding that he will follow up when the semester begins. 

When asked by Carter whether the RSU could move forward with publishing, Yousaf said he wants to include Indigenous students’ opinions before publishing the statement, since he is not Indigenous. 

“If they seem to not be responding to this then I guess we’re left with no option,” said Yousaf. 

Update on full-time and part-time staff layoffs

During the meeting, Yousaf also mentioned that the arbitration processes for the laid-off staff members are complete and that settlements are being worked on.

RSU executive director Reanna Maharaj added that settlements are being arranged with former campus groups coordinator Dawn Murray, former CopyRite printing services manager Richard DeVisser, former events coordinator Brodie Metcalfe and former Good Food Centre coordinator Ekta Amarnani.

She also mentioned the settlement with Sydney Bothwell, former full-time coordinator of the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support, has been “closed off.”

Ryerson to consider credit/non-credit option for the 2020 fall semester

Vice-president education Siddhanth Satish said he has been in contact with Ryerson’s vice-provost, students’ office during the winter break and said they are considering a credit/non-credit (CR/NCR) option for the fall 2020 semester, similar to that implemented in the winter 2020 semester.

Satish added that other universities are considering the CR/NCR option, as well as the challenges students have faced throughout the pandemic.

York University also offers a pass/fail (ungraded option) for students under all faculties except for those enrolled in specific programs for both the fall and winter semester. 

Satish said that he’s hopeful that the CR/NCR option will be applied for both fall and winter semesters, but it’s more likely that Ryerson will only consider the fall semester.

“The debate on that is the students have become used to the online new normal. [The university] can consider this for the fall semester but not the new semester.”

Final grades for the 2020 fall semester were posted to RAMSS on Jan. 12.

It is unclear when the next BoD meeting will take place at time of publication.

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