RSU 2018 AGM does not reach quorum and sees no motions pass

Photo by David Lao

A contentious motion put forward to raise Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) executive salaries was never voted on because the annual general meeting (AGM) on April 3 never reached quorum (the number of people needed in the room to vote).  

The AGM lasted less than two hours. RSU executives – with the absence of vice-president, operations Ali Yousaf – reflected on the year by presenting their executive reports and briefly discussed the executive salary increase motion.  

The agenda for the meeting was never approved, just like last year’s AGM when quorum was not reached and in the semi-annual general meeting (SAGM) last fall, when quorum was lost in the first 30 minutes of the meeting.

Contentious motion regarding executive salary increase

The AGM agenda included a motion to raise RSU executive salaries by $11,000 – bringing their current salary of $36,000 up to $47,000.

The motion, as submitted by Tajinder Kaur, compared RSU executive salaries to the salaries of executives from the University of Waterloo Federation of Students.

“I think it’s great that Waterloo offers that much money, but if we’re not collecting a similar levy then it doesn’t make sense for us to be spending 50 per cent of our levy on the executives and staff,”  Ngaya said.

Incoming RSU president Ram Ganesh also said he disagreed with the motion and denied any involvement in putting it forward, despite rumours that he was a motivator.

“There’s a claim that my team and I put [that motion] together and I can tell you with confidence that it was not us behind this,” said Ganesh. I think it’s a terrible motion and it should be voted down… I urge you to come out to the next board meeting and request the directors to vote this motion down,” Ganesh said.

Quorum not reached

 

Less than 100 people showed up to the AGM, so the meeting did not reach quorum.

Fifth-year psychology student Martin Fox said he was expecting more people to come out for the meeting.

“I was disappointed obviously, anytime quorum is not met it just means that we don’t actually get to do what we came here for,” he said. “We basically just heard reports, which is nice to get updates, but that’s still kind of disappointing.”

Similarly, RSU president Susanne Nyaga said she was disappointed about the turnout, but noted that it’s difficult to reach quorum since it is not the best time of the year for students to attend such meetings.

“I think going from here [it’s] just making sure that the incoming team is always advertising and pushing for students to be present and making sure that we’re engaging students throughout the year and that students continue to show up to hold the RSU accountable and stay engaged with the work that’s happening and direct the union so that we continuously meet their needs,” Nyaga said.

Executive reports presented

Although the meeting lost quorum, the RSU executive – short of vice-president operations Ali Yousaf – updated students on their progress throughout their term with their executive reports.

Susanne Nyaga, president

 

In her executive report, RSU president Susanne Nyaga highlighted her accomplishments this year, including pushing for a 24-hour study space on campus and for the Wellness Centre to officially open.

Daniel Lis, vice-president education

RSU vice-president education Daniel Lis emphasized his achievements throughout the year, which includes the U-Pass campaign, the creation of the Centre for Educational Research & Policy and the launch of the career development grant.

 

 

Cam Harlick, vice-president equity

RSU vice-president, equity, Cam Harlick noted some of his “wins” this year, such as the implementation of all-gender housing in student residences and all-gender change rooms, the push for Indigenous education throughout the university and the successful referendum for further funding of the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line and the Good Food Centre.  

 

 

Ali Yousaf, vice-president operations

Before he could present his own executive report, RSU vice-president operations Ali Yousaf left the AGM. Nyaga, however, gave a short update on what Yousaf has accomplished throughout the year, such as implementing an online submission and payment system for CopyRITE Printing Service.

Lauren Emberson, former vice-president student life & events

Although RSU vice-president student life & events Lauren Emberson resigned from her executive position in January and was not present at the AGM, Nyaga acknowledged some of her accomplishments such as organizing the Sundown music festival and Ryerson’s first-ever Holocaust Education Week.

Motions and bylaw amendments delayed for future meetings

 

 

Since the meeting agenda was never approved and discussed due to the lack of quorum, motions that were on it such as the executive salary raise are now set to be discussed at the Board of Directors meeting later this month, while bylaw amendments will be brought up at the SAGM this fall.

The motions and bylaw amendments can be found here.

 

By David Lao, Noushin Ziafati, Michelle Song

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