The RSU election took place three weeks after Ryerson terminated its operating agreement with the RSU
Ali Yousaf will be the next Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) president. Yousaf’s slate, Rise, swept all five executive positions in the 2020-21 election.
Yousaf received 510 votes, while Charmaine Reid of Inspire received 401. Only 911 students voted for the presidential candidates in this years’ election, compared to 3,353 last year when there were five candidates running for president.
The results were expected Friday night but pushed back several times. They were given to candidates shortly after 4 a.m. This year the RSU had to use paper ballots, instead of students voting online through RAMSS, since the union is no longer recognized by the university.
This will be the second time Yousaf has served an executive position on the RSU, having previously been vice-president operations in 2017-18. Yousaf also served as an RSU board member in the 2016-17 year and was involved in the 6 Fest scandal.
Money intended for ticket refunds after 6 Fest was rescheduled was transferred into the personal bank accounts of Yousaf, then vice-president student life and events Harman Singh and Ram Ganesh, who was not an RSU employee at the time. The RSU said the money was moved to expedite refunds to students through e-transfer but not all students received refunds. Questions of financial impropriety remain three years later.
Yousaf claimed at the Feb. 11 RSU debate that his name had been “cleared” by audit and tax consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Ryersonian could not independently verify this. The RSU promised to release a report looking into the 6 Fest finances but then-president Ram Ganesh said the investigation had hit a “dead end” in 2018 and no report was released.
When asked at the candidates’ debate whether he would reopen investigations into 6 Fest, Yousaf said he will, if students want answers.
Yousaf was also involved with former RSU president Ganesh’s slate during the 2018 RSU election year campaign. At this year’s debate, Yousaf defended his involvement, saying at the time he supported Unify along with the 3,300 students who voted for it. Ganesh was impeached in February 2019 after credit card statements under his name were published revealing purchases totalling thousands on food, alcohol, clothing and entertainment.
The RSU election came three weeks after Ryerson terminated its operating agreement with the RSU. The RSU has since taken legal action against the university, claiming $2.7 million in damages.
In a Feb. 11 debate, the presidential candidates of both slates said they hoped to bring Ryerson back to the negotiating table.
However, in an email, Jen McMillen, Ryerson’s vice-provost, students, said there are no conditions under which Ryerson would reopen negotiations with the RSU in its current form. She added that “eligible students who run in the RSU elections [can] propose their structure of government through the new Student Government Selection Process.” Students can submit proposals for the next student government’s structure until Feb. 19.
Ryerson students will vote on a new student government structure in March, with general elections for the next student government in April. According to Lianne Newman, the process manager for the committee in charge of the selection process for the new student government, Ryerson hopes to have a new, functioning student union recognized by the university by fall 2020.
Typically new RSU executives take office May 1. The incoming executive has until Wednesday to decide if they’re taking part in the new student government selection process.
Here is a full breakdown of those elected or acclaimed:
Ali Yousaf — Rise
Liora Dubinsky — Rise
Vice-president student life and events:
Usama Sheikh — Rise
Vaishali Vinayak — Rise
Siddhanth Satish — Rise
Board of directors
Ted Rogers School of Management
Abaan Ahmed — Rise
Preet Patel — Rise
Hilla Yaniv — Rise
Akif Anwar — Rise
Homra Ghaznavi — Rise
Faculty of Community Service
Steph Rychlo — Inspire
Dusty Luck — Independent
Sabrina Ahmed — Rise
Faculty of Arts
Alexandra Nash — Inspire
Gabriele Douglas — Inspire
Anika Zaman — Rise
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science
Salar Syed — Rise
Umar Abdullah — Rise
Zain Choudhry — Rise
Faculty of Communication and Design
Ashan Mahendran — Inspire (acclaimed)
Cassie Ton –Inspire (acclaimed)
Aidan Falkenberg — Rise (acclaimed)
Faculty of Science
Kajetha Jeyapalan — Rise (acclaimed)
Elwad Gedleh — Rise (acclaimed)
International student representative
Amr Shaikh — Rise
There were no candidates for other at-large representative director positions, such as the first year representative, international students representative or residence representative.
With files from Kelly Skjerven and Amanda Pope
I would be interested in who were the 965 people actually voted. I would suggest it is the people who benefit from the RSU—STUDENT GROUPS.
Funds, privileges, benefits for student groups are approved by the RSU executive. It would be worth exploring if there evidence of RSU exchanging favours/benefits/privileges for votes i.e quid pro quo. FOLLOW THE MONEY!
The Ryersonian is doing good work on this. Keep it up.
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