Students and student groups try to get their voices heard
Students raised concerns about the lack of equity and representation on campus at the Board of Governors Student Representatives’ town hall on Thursday.
Among those concerns are complaints about the lack of communication between the university and students. Many felt that the university was not listening to concerns from students and student groups.
“As student societies and unions we represent students and are related to the university. Why does Ryerson not speak to us?” asked a student who submitted this question anonymously.
Board of Governors student representative MJ Wright said that he will make sure to communicate with students as much as possible. Wright also said that he needed specific details in order to address the problem.
“I want to raise the fact that this feeling that Ryerson does not speak to the student unions and societies is obviously a huge problem,” Wright said. “We want to raise that concern in board meetings, but in terms of specifically solving individual problems we need to know about the specifics of those problems in order to have them properly addressed.”
Students also raised questions about equity on campus, and asked why the representatives chose to hold a town hall during the Scholar Strike, a day when academics across Canada were protesting against police brutality, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous racism.
In an interview after the town hall, Board of Governors student representative David Jardine said that the representatives picked the date for the town hall a month ago.
“Obviously we did not pick today’s date after the Scholar’s Strike was announced. (The strike) was something that popped up after, but we’ll work doubly hard to make sure there’s no conflicts with the next one,” they said.
Jardine also said that the questions raised during the town hall were about issues they have no control over. Jardine said that many students don’t understand what student representatives on the Board of Governors do, and that many students don’t know what the board actually does on campus.
“I think the issue is just that, those are the issues that people want the most answers for. Of course people want to know answers about the statue and the anti-racism climate review, and that’s just not something that the Board of Governors have any hand in,” they said.
Thursday’s Board of Governors Student Representatives town hall is the first in a series of monthly meetings during the 2020-2021 academic year. Tay Rubman, a student representative on the Board of Governors, started the initiative in order to take note of issues, concerns, and complaints from students. Rubman said that he got the idea during the Board of Governors election in February.
“Ryerson does have a history of really being non-transparent, specifically with the RSU. However, it does apply to the student experience overall. Creating a space where students can engage with their leaders would be one of those ways where people in power could have the ability to uplift and empower others,” Rubman said in an interview with the Ryersonian after the town hall.
“We want to make sure that, with the limited powers we have, that we at least make sure that it positively benefits students who really want to get engaged and want to have a better experience overall with their university.”
The date for the next town hall meeting has not yet been determined, but Jardine and Rubman said that it will take place sometime between early to mid-October.