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Board passes a motion to form an oversight review committee for handling complaints
The Ryerson Students’ Union emergency board of directors meeting last Wednesday established an oversight committee for complaints and tried to resolve conflict among union executives.
The board discussed salary issues among RSU executives who are not fulfilling their weekly 40-hour work requirement and miscommunication around a motion supporting a podcast initiative, amongst other proceedings. The majority of the meeting was in-camera, meaning that students not on the board had to wait outside of Oakham Lounge for two and a half hours.
Procedures implemented over failure to complete work hours
A motion was passed that ensures executives complete their hours and receive the RSU president’s approval for vacation time or risk impeachment. RSU president Vanessa Henry moved the motion after a large majority of the executives failed to fulfill the minimum 40 hours per week requirement, despite three warnings to abide by this rule.
After a member files a complaint to the newly-implemented oversight committee, a no-contact policy between the complainant and the accused will be in place during the interim. The individuals can then reach an alternative resolution or seek an investigation. For the latter, the committee will investigate and identify issues before filing the report and making a recommendation to the board. Names will be removed for confidentiality purposes throughout the process.
Student groups director James Fotak’s motion to adopt the oversight review committee policy to adjudicate complaints made against the executives, the board of directors or the executive director also passed.
Prior to the board meeting, there was no procedure in place for executives or board of directors to file complaints.
The board voted in four of five directors to sit on the oversight review committee — Anasofia Heilbron, Zaynab Dhalla, James Fotak and Raquel Almeida Margulies — along with the executive director, Reanna Maharaj, executive member Victoria Anderson-Gardner and one chairperson voted by the committee members. A representative from the Ryerson Graduate Students’ Union will become the fifth member of the five board of directors.
Miscommunication over podcast motion
During the last hour of the meeting, the RSU board and executives debated whether the approval of funding for a podcast initiative moved by Henry was conducted appropriately. A representative from the Faculty of Ted Rogers School of Management, Milad Moghaddas, raised the issue that not all executives might have been aware of the motion, as they should have been.
A $20,000 budget went towards hosting events, equipment for Ryerson students to rent for a small fee and intern honorariums for those who produced the podcast show Verified. “The initiative is good,” said vice-president marketing Victoria Anderson-Gardner. “My main concern is that Vanessa didn’t consult the execs or the FCAD director about the cost of the equipment. I feel there could have been other ways to lessen the cost.”
Henry said that she did not need the executives’ vote or the board’s approval, a protocol that she confirmed with the executive director and the financial controller.
She said she felt that it would be fair to have a vote. However, because of “internal conflict at the time,” she brought the vote directly to the board instead of the executives because she believed that they would vote against it.
“I decided to override their decision and take it to the board so that everyone can have an actual understanding (of the motion), and that was why the vote was made that way,” Henry said.
“I think it’s valid that I should have spoken with the execs. At the time, we were unable to speak to each other. Everything is healing now, or we are attempting to create that atmosphere.”
A representative from the Faculty of Arts, Chris Randall, said that he fully supports this initiative.
“Any funding from the student choice initiative cannot be carried over to next year. I would much rather see the money go toward investment than dance or pub night that’s an intangible thing,” Randall said.
“However, the report I read when the email was sent out for a vote to be conducted covered a lot of issues people are concerned about. This situation has highlighted that we are not basing decisions based off of the proposals, it’s being based off the name that’s on the proposal. That’s where I’m getting concerned.”
Moghaddas said he would like to see improved communication among the execs moving forward.
“Going forward in the future, when funding is being allocated, there needs to be communication among all of you so that miscommunication doesn’t happen,” he said.