By Heidi Lee and Thea Gribilas
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) passed a motion to hold an information session about the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force’s final report at Tuesday’s Board of Directors’ (BoD) meeting.
The motion was pushed forward by Faculty of Communication and Design director Olivia McLeod.
McLeod originally moved a motion to consult students on the name-changing process through a survey which would ask students three questions, including whether they agree or disagree with the decision to rename Ryerson; if they would like the RSU to host an information session about the Standing Strong Task Force’s report; and if students want the RSU to change its own name.
This comes after the university’s announcement on Aug. 26 stating Ryerson will be renamed, after the Board of Governors voted to accept all recommendations from the Standing Strong Task Force.
Board of Directors representative MJ Wright questioned the intention of the motion, asking why the consultation couldn’t have taken place sooner so the results could be brought to the Standing Strong Task Force prior to the announcement. He said he was confused about how the motion would be put into practice, specifically in regards to changing the RSU’s name.
“My main question is, did the executive plan to make the decision based on the results of this consultation? And, if so, does this mean it’s possible that this student union will continue to be named after Ryerson?” said Wright.
“The Ryerson Students’ Union does not make much sense to me as that would be claiming it is a union for a group of students that no longer exist, as ‘Ryerson’ students will no longer exist after the name change takes place.”
At the November 2020 BoD meeting, former RSU president Ali Yousaf refused to sign an open letter by the Continuing Education Students’ Association of X University (CESAX) demanding the removal of Egerton Ryerson’s campus statue. Although Yousaf told the Board he planned on releasing a survey to collect students’ opinions and sending the results to the task force, no consultations ever took place during his term at the RSU.
McLeod said the intention of the survey is not to reverse the decision to rename the university or discredit the task force’s report, but rather to collect data for the RSU to understand how fast the students’ union should proceed with its own name change.
RSU president Siddhanth Satish said he believes that the question of whether students agree or disagree with the name change is “not necessary at this point.”
“In theory, the Indigenous students were the ones who were affected the most. And they have put out their opinion, sent it out to the university and only after that, the task force has made a decision on this matter.”
Satish added he would like to host an information session with Board members, including the incoming ones after the by-election to fill the vacant director position.
An amendment was made to the motion to take out questions one and three, which asked for student opinion on the name change.
“We should maybe wait for the university to change the name and then we can change the name,” said Satish.
Here’s what else you missed at this month’s BoD meeting:
As previously reported by The Eye in May, one Faculty of Arts and two Faculty of Communication and Design directors resigned from the RSU citing election controversies.
At the meeting, Olivia McLeod asked about a by-election to replace the three student directors.
RSU by-laws state that if a position becomes vacant in the winter or summer terms, an interim director will be appointed by the RSU president with the intention of serving until the next general election or by-election. The new directors will be ratified only if there is a 2/3 majority vote.
Section 6.102 specifies that if there are vacancies in the fall term, a by-election must be held between October 5 and November 20.
“We can surely host a by-election,” said Satish. “I think I will go forward with that process starting next month.”
FundQi is a platform that allows students to acquire non-refundable scholarships and grants.
Carelton’s student newspaper, The Charlatan, reported in March that Carleton University students voted with a 91.8 per cent majority to remove the $9.99 per semester FundQi ancillary fee.
Former president of the Carleton Academic Student Government Matt Gagné alleged FundQi was not being transparent as to how students were using the service nor was it forthcoming with information regarding how effective the service had been.
“We got an overwhelming response from students,” said Vinayak, adding that the trial period will begin in a few weeks.
RSU and Canada’s Wonderland collaboration
Vinayak also announced that the RSU will be working with Canada’s Wonderland to provide discounted tickets for students and the discount and collaboration will most likely take place sometime in September.
Students will be able to purchase a one-day ticket for $19.99, as opposed to the $33.99 that a one-day ticket usually costs. Vinayak said the ticket also includes transportation to and from Wonderland as well as lunch.
If a student wishes to bring another person, the cost will increase to $29.99.
RSU’s new website
At the June BoD meeting, RSU president Siddhanth Satish announced that the RSU website was undergoing revisions to make it more user-friendly and accessible.
At the initial meeting, Satish said the website would be available two weeks after the June 29 meeting. However, the new website has yet to be made available.
Satish said this is due to “things being changed with the university and the name being changed.”
“I was about to launch a new website this week, but given that I might have to make some changes, I put that on hold for now,” said Satish.