An election in April will determine who fills the new student government roles
The number of voters in the election totalled 1,734. For the undergraduate ballot, 1,363 voted in the election. About 12 per cent of those votes declined their ballot. Those who declined their ballots were considered abstentions, so 1,191 votes were counted in the first round. The threshold for a campaign to be declared a winner was 596.
In the first round, no group hit the threshold, which moved the vote to a second round. The group which received the fewest votes in the first round, RUSC, was dropped off the ballot. The 218 votes it received in the first round were then distributed to the other groups, based on students who identified their second preferred choice.
Out of the 218 votes that RUSC had, 21 did not have a second choice, 141 listed RUSA and 56 listed Ryerson First. The pushed RUSA over the threshold of 596 needed to win.
For the graduate ballot, 371 graduate students voted with 16 of those declining their ballot. This leaves 355 votes with 331 of those voting yes for RGSU and 24 students voting no.
An election is set to be held in April for students to vote on people to fill the roles of the winning structure. Lead process officer (LPO) of the student government process committee, Ian Brennan from BDO Canada, will oversee that election.
The election came six weeks after Ryerson terminated its operating agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), citing a loss of confidence in the union to represent Ryerson students.
Results come the same day that Ryerson and the RSU take to court for the next stage of their legal case. The hearing on Friday is just the beginning of the legal process; it does not determine the outcome of the trial.
In February, an independent Ryerson committee approved four Ryerson structure proposals, all of which were heavily vetted to include and elaborate on financial accountability.
Investigation launched into screenshot incident
David Jardine, the student behind the winning undergraduate structure, RUSA, stepped back from campaigning a day before voting took place due to concerns over their mental health.
In Jardine’s decision, announced on Facebook, they addressed screenshots depicting Jardine sharing “discriminatory” messages online. They said the screenshots were fake, adding that they hope the posts are taken down to prevent potential harm to students.
Ryerson First was briefly suspended for two days after the LPO found that they were in violation of campaign conduct, specifically “Groups/Individuals associated with a campaign must be respectful of other campaigns. They may not engage in any behaviour deemed threatening, intimidating, or demonstrates bad conduct.” As a result, Ryerson First was put on probation.
Lianne Newman, the student government selection committee process manager, confirmed with the Ryersonian that an investigation is being launched into the matter.
What to expect from the new structures
The four structures that students voted on included the groups Ryerson First, RUSA, Ryerson University Student Collective (RUSC) and the RGSU.
RUSA’s structure primarily focused on financial transparency, being fully accountable to students and having useful and reliable services. They campaigned for five exec positions: president, vice-president equity, vice-president finance and administration, vice-president education and vice-president student life. The structure also has faculty directors, community directors and ex-officio directors, including residence, graduate, course union and student group representatives.
The structure also involves an executive co-ordinator, student-life co-ordinator, equity co-ordinator, academic advocate, an operations co-ordinator, along with several other co-ordinator roles.
The RGSU is the first graduate student union at Ryerson and will represent more than 2,700 graduate students. Its structure includes president, vice-president operations, vice-president education and vice-president student life and events. There are seven board of director positions representing the seven faculties at Ryerson and one director to represent interdisciplinary studies.
Charlotte Ferworn, one of the students proposing the union, previously told the Ryersonian that a structure designed to represent both populations would prioritize the needs of undergraduate students over graduate students.
The structure would also eliminate executive salaries, instead paying a bursary based on Ontario university tuition costs. The RSU previously paid executives up to $46,000 a year.
With files from Raneem Alozzi, Katie Swyers and Sherina Harris.