RSU election results: Elevate and Spark share executive positions

Elected vice-president student life and events from Spark, Lauren Emberson (left), hugs Stephan Allan, her running mate from the Elevate slate. (Tagwa Moyo/Ryersonian)

Susanne Nyaga of the Elevate slate has been voted as the 2017-2018 president of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). Elevate also won vice-president equity, while the Spark slate won the three other executive positions.

CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE INFOGRAPHICS: Susanne Nyaga, a student in the school of social work, wins the vote for RSU president on Feb. 8. (Lara Onayak/The Ryersonian)

Here are the winners:

  • Susanne Nyaga, Elevate, president
  • Daniel Lis, Spark , vice-president education
  • Camryn Harlick, Elevate, vice-president equity
  • Ali Yousaf, Spark , vice-president operations
  • Lauren Emberson, Spark, vice-president student life and events

After she won the vote, new RSU president Susanne Nyaga said, “I’m super excited that this happened and I think we’re ready to make some change. Regardless of who’s on the exec team [and] who’s on the board, what we wanted to do was centralize student voices and what we wanted to do was make change. And I hope people are ready to do that.”

She was voted in from the Elevate slate, along with vice-president equity Camryn Harlick, while the other three positions went to Spark candidates. Despite the mix of slates, Nyaga is enthusastic for the future of the RSU. “I think all of us throughout this election have been running on very similar platform points. And if we have the same vision, I hope we can get to that goal together. I think that Ryerson spoke, Ryerson said who they wanted to do these certain positions. So I’m ready to work with them.”

Nyaga was quick to mention the impact of her team on her win. “I wouldn’t be here without my team,” and she is particularly excited about the impact Harlick, who goes by ‘they’ pronouns, will have as vice-president equity. “They know the equity centres like the back of their hand, so I’m ready to work with them and everybody else just to make the RSU a place for students by students again. And bring accountability, bring transparency and centralize student voices again.”

Lauren Emberson (right) celebrates the election results. She won vice-president student life as part of the Spark slate. (Tagwa Moyo/Ryersonian)

The lead-up to this year’s vote was rife with drama, as former RSU vice-president student life and events, Harman Singh, was the subject of an impeachment motion for his handling of the 6 Fest refunds. There were allegations that he mishandled the process by funneling the nearly $80,000 in refunds through personal bank accounts, one of which was his own.

The trouble didn’t end for the RSU when the the Jan. 31 motion for Singh’s impeachment was voted down at a Board of Directors’ (BoD) meeting on Feb. 3. The following Monday, on Feb. 6, five faculty members of the BoD resigned, citing a lack of transparency and communication, as well as misaligned values.

Then, on Tuesday, The Eyeopener reported that the RSU budget is at a deficit of over $1 million for the 2016-2017 academic year, mainly due to spending too much on events; the portfolio managed by Spark’s presidential candidate, Harman Singh. When questioned about the deficit that was almost $800,000 more than anticipated, Singh alleged that it was Neal Muthreja, the former vice-president operations, who ran on the Ohana slate for president of the RSU against Singh.

The Eyeopener reported, “Expenses for RSU events came to $1,696,938.42, with a total revenue amounting to $693,702.54. This means for events specifically, the RSU is running a deficit of $1,003,235.88.” Singh said that Muthreja signed off on all event budgets, while Neal claimed he couldn’t stop the growing expenses because Singh wasn’t forthcoming about total 6 Fest ticket sales.

The five faculty members of the BoD who resigned following the past weeks’ RSU spectacle are Sandra Bahoua, Anthony Esguerra, Nav Marwah and Michelle Park of the faculty of business management, along with Michael Foppiano of the faculty of engineering and architecture. 

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