The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) says it’s raising student issues with the province, but it’s not taking its marching orders from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
RSU vice-president education Cormac McGee hosted a student action committee meeting recently to discuss the union’s progress lobbying for improved access to education.
McGee explained his role to the student audience. He said a RSU bylaw states that the vice-president education “participates in (CFS) campaigns and co-ordinates them at a local level.”
But the current RSU ran on a platform distancing itself from the CFS. They have not done so as of yet, but this year’s student union also has not brought any CFS campaigns to campus.
“So far we haven’t brought any of their campaigns on the campus just because we feel like the campaigns they’ve run just haven’t aligned with us,” McGee told The Ryersonian.
CFS campaigns include “No Means No,” a campaign aimed at raising awareness about sexual violence and assault on Canadian post-secondary campuses and, most notably, campaigns against rising tuition costs and student debt.
McGee still attends all the federation’s meetings and says he will be selective about what he brings back for Ryerson students.
“And at the end of the day, every student at Ryerson pays a membership fee into the CFS, so I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t going and seeing the services they offer,” McGee said. “But I also wouldn’t be doing my job if I took everything blindly and as paying members it’s really our choice if we want to participate or not.”
McGee said he sat down with the province this summer to pitch ideas on how to reallocate funding for universities and the formula that determines how much money a program receives. He said he was the only representative from a student union to have a sit-down with the province and pitch ideas.
“Right now the provincial government is reviewing how they fund universities, because (up) until now … their funding has been tied to enrolment,” he said.
McGee suggested funding be tied to universities that have programs supporting students with disabilities, aboriginal, racialized and LGBTQ2S students.
And he said funding should encourage universities offering experiential learning opportunities, like those Ryerson specializes in.