The RSU is holding a meeting tonight. What should you be on the lookout for? (Kayla Douglas/Ryersonian)

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is holding its semi-annual general meeting this evening, where students will be able to vote on bylaw changes and motions that could alter organizational operations.

New to student politics and unsure how you can participate? The Ryersonian has you covered. Here, we’ve selected the top five motions that students should be aware of:

RU-Pass revote and challenge

Three separate motions are requesting a re-vote and do-over of the controversial  RU-Pass referendum. These motions come after a Ryersonian investigation revealed the RSU to have violated university policy and broken campaign rules. In particular, the campaign spread misinformation to students regarding the opt-out provision of the pass.

Collectively, the motions are requesting that the RSU issue a formal apology to students, circulate a report outlining the effect of the pass on all student groups that commute to campus (i.e. students living in campus residences, TTC users, GO Transit users, part-time students, graduate students, etc.), create a committee that handles referendum misconduct, and update RSU bylaws to outline campaigners’ code of conduct. These are just a few of the requests put forth in these motions.

Optional transit pass

This motion seeks to make the RU-Pass optional. Currently, only those with accessibility needs may be able to opt out of the transit pass. Yet, many other students also want the option to opt out, arguing that the extra $70 per month ($564 per school year) in tuition fees adds an unnecessary financial burden. The motion further requests that the transit pass only become mandatory if it covers other commonly used transit services, like the TTC, Go Transit and MiWay.

Career development grant

This motion requests that the RSU increase its career development grant by $20,000, from $15,000 to $35,000. The first of its kind at a Canadian university, the grant is offered to undergraduate and graduate students who struggle with unpaid internships. The RSU initially allocated $35,000 of its budget to the grant but reduced it to $15,000. The grant was first offered in the winter 2018 semester.

Dedicated study day

This motion advocates for a “dedicated study day” in-between the final day of classes and the start of exams for both the fall and winter terms. Other post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Toronto and York University, have a day in-between to allow students to take a break and prepare for exams. Ryerson could benefit from this day, as a 2016 report from the Mental Health Committee found that 67 per cent of students have felt “overwhelming anxiety,” and that mental health was the top claim for both sick leave and long-term disability.

Audit information from the emergency student grant funds

This motion is based on recent allegations that students receiving emergency grant funding were told they could receive additional grant money if they paid a portion of the money back to the issuer. The emergency grant fund is provided to students in “severe financial need.” If these allegations are true, this would violate RSU financial policies, RSU bylaws and Canadian law. The motion requests that the RSU conduct an audit on the claims and make the results public.

Tonight’s meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in room 204 of the Rogers Communications Centre (RCC). Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Full-time undergraduate and full- and part-time graduate students are able to attend the meeting, as well as vote on and debate the motions.

Jennifer La Grassa is a health and science reporter who enjoys writing about the intersectionality between Canadian healthcare and socio-cultural issues. When she's not chasing down a story, she's still consuming copious amounts of caffeine while completing a puzzle or reading a good book.

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