RSU to propose new student groups levy

The group that regularly demands Ryerson drop fees is now hoping to get enough student support to increase them.

At its semi-annual general meeting Nov. 13, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) will table a motion to kick-start a Student Life referendum.

It would ask students whether they agree to a new annual levy that would go towards bankrolling campus groups, the union’s Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line, its equity service centres and a travel grant for graduate students.

The motion in the meeting’s agenda, moved by vice-president student life and events Danielle Brogan, says the RSU’s support for “over 150 campus groups including course unions, student groups, graduate course unions and affiliate groups with resources and funding” necessitates a new student levy for additional cash.

The motion does not specify how much the new levy would cost students, but RSU president Melissa Palermo said the union knows “that the need (for funding) is there and the growth is there.

“We want to ensure that we’re able to keep up with that need and that growth and support our groups in the best way possible,” she said.

The levy motion isn’t the only one homing in on concerns over student group funding.

A motion submitted by Mohammad Nazir Amir aims to “immediately and permanently” remove spending allocation limits for student groups as they “greatly inhibit their ability to function effectively.”
Currently, RSU-funded student groups and course unions receive specific annual budgets for expenses like advertising and events.

Amir not only wants to obliterate those limits, but he also — through another motion — aims to double available funding for all student groups beginning in the next fiscal year.

And it doesn’t end there.

Uthman Said’s motion, last on the agenda, seeks to permit student groups to charge for “premium membership, which entails paying an initial fee at the beginning of the year for discounts at future events.”

Said’s submission will likely directly clash with the RSU’s student group policy, which bans groups from charging RSU members membership fees.

One of the important motions Palermo hopes students can debate concerns women’s only gym times on campus.

If the motion passes, the union will conduct a student survey to determine the need for gender-specific hours, using collected information to lobby for improved access for women to campus athletic facilities.

The RSU’s semi-annual general meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at SCC 115 on Nov. 13.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on November 13, 2013.

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