By Alexandra Holyk
The Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) senate representative George Carter resigned from his position on Feb. 3, citing a need to reduce his workload as well as concerns with the RSU’s decisions and mandates.
In an emailed letter obtained by The Eyeopener, Carter, a Faculty of Community Services representative on Ryerson’s Senate, told the RSU’s Board of Directors (BoD) that he needs to “step away from a few volunteer roles in order to spend more time with [his] family.”
At the beginning of the letter, Carter clarified that he holds no resentment toward specific BoD members and the letter only discusses the factors resulting in his resignation. However, he said he is “uncomfortable with several decisions, approaches, or mandates set out by the RSU.”
“In one of our recent board meetings, our lawyers stated that once decisions have been made, our fiduciary responsibility obligates us to support that decision, or, as they said, you can resign,” the letter reads.
“Disagreement and conflict can be exceptionally valuable opportunities for growth and collaboration,” he added. “However, our conflicts have been repeatedly escalated…I have decided that at this time, the best response is to remove myself from the environment.”
Carter continued to express disappointment in directors’ inability to speak up for themselves and students, and that his “primary responsibility was to the corporate entity that is the RSU.”
He also mentioned that board members were unable to speak publicly if they disagreed with the actions of the executives. He said speaking out would fulfil the RSU’s responsibility, which includes meeting students’ needs and advocating for their rights. “If I am unable to speak out against the RSU as a Director, then I am left with no option but to do so as a member.”
He also said he can’t be a member of an organization that fails to hear student voices and silences those who “stand up to injustice.”
Carter also raised concerns about the BoD’s environment, writing that he believes the board is “laden with distrust and malice” and adding that the RSU “controlled the flow of information irresponsibly leading to dissonance, misinformation, bad decision making, and a lack of collaboration.”
Carter stated that because of these factors, the RSU had contributed to the decline of his mental health, requiring him to immediately vacate his role. However, he noted that some progress has been made toward improving the environment of the RSU.
“I do believe that this atmosphere can be undone and replaced with one in which collaboration, partnership, and participatory leadership can thrive,” he wrote.
Carter concluded the letter by congratulating the RSU executive team, saying, “you are all working very hard and have put together some great actions that have improved the lives of our students.”
In response to Carter’s resignation, RSU president Ali Yousaf told The Eye that he respects Carter’s decision and wished him luck in his future endeavours.
“I’m always going to be here for [Carter] if he needs anything from the organization or personally from myself,” Yousaf said, adding that he’s willing to do the same for any other directors as well.