RSU to hold equity centre levy referendum

The Ryerson Students’ Union will hold a referendum asking students to pay more money for its support line for sexual assault survivors and its campus food service.

If implemented, all full-time students would pay a compulsory $5 twice annually—once in the fall term and once in the winter term—towards the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line (SASSL) and the Good Food Centre (GFC).

The Good Food Centre (GFC) facilitates access to healthy produce through events such as the annual Good Food Festival. (Photo by Taylor Stinsen/The Ryersonian)

The SASSL provides free, confidential peer support for Ryerson community members who have experienced sexual violence. It has been operating since 2011 and strives to educate people on the various ways that violence manifests on campus.

The GFC supplies students with nutritious food and aims to combat food insecurity. Formerly known as the Community Food Centre, it has been running since 1992.

If students want to campaign on this referendum, they need a team of three people to fill out a form to register. These forms must be submitted to the returning officer by Oct. 20.

The proposed fee would also be tied to the Toronto Consumer Price Index—in other words, the $5 amount can be adjusted to account for increased costs due to inflation.

The referendum question, approved by the Ryerson Board of Governors, summarizes how the levy would function, if implemented:

“Do you agree to the creation of a $5 per semester fee, applicable in the fall and winter terms, to be paid by all students enrolled in full-time degree programs, to be split evenly to fund the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line and the Good Food Centre, starting in September 2018 and increased annually for inflation referenced to the Toronto Consumer Price Index?”

Students will have the option to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ There is no minimum turnout required. The result must yield more ‘yes’ votes than ‘no’ votes.

Voting will begin on Nov. 6 starting at 8 a.m. and will take place online. The voting period will run until Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m., coinciding with the RSU by-elections.

If approved, the fee increase will take effect starting September 2018.

A previous version of this article incorrectly outlined the Board of Governors referendum process and voting procedure. 

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