‘Nobody will suffer from the transition that is taking place now,’ Ryerson president says
Ryerson University says its independent committee has received six proposals for new student government structures.
The university also announced, in a Feb. 20 statement, that Ian Brennan, from BDO Canada and the Fairness Advisory Services team, will be the lead process officer (LPO).
BDO Canada provides accounting, tax and advisory services to a range of clients, including those in the non-profit and education sectors, according to its website.
In the statement, Jen McMillen, Ryerson’s vice-provost, students, says BDO “has been a trusted adviser to many educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations on governance and best practices.”
Next steps for student government selection process committee
BDO will assist the student government selection process committee, which includes four current Ryerson students and one graduate.
The committee is responsible for determining the eligibility of groups, explaining the voting procedure and allocating resources for the election of a new student government that will replace the RSU. In January, Ryerson administration terminated its agreement with the RSU, saying it would no longer recognize the group as a student government. It said it had “lost confidence in the RSU’s ability to represent students with good governance and to supply the services that students pay for.”
The committee, alongside the LPO, will review the six submissions and host an all-candidates meeting.
Students will vote on a new student government structure in March. The voting will be run by Simply Voting, which Ryerson said is an “independent and highly experienced third-party firm.”
Whoever wins that election will have to commit to hosting a general election in early April.
While Ryerson is independent of the committee overseeing the election, the university has emphasized it wants students to be represented by an association that is committed to financial accountability, transparent governance, sound human resource management and timely communication with students and the university.
“We thank all students who have taken the time to engage with this important process,” McMillen said in the statement. “The university is encouraged by students’ participation to have their voices heard and to shape the future of student government on campus.”
Ryerson sends RSU proposal for services
In the statement, McMillen says some community members have raised concerns about access to the RSU’s services.
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) operates seven equity service centres: the Centre for Women & Trans People, the Good Food Centre (GFC), the Racialised Students’ Collective, RyeACCESS, RyePRIDE, the Trans Collective and Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support (CSSSVS).
The university has sent the RSU a proposal for an interim service agreement to transfer money to keep certain services open, according to Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi.
These services include the RSU’s student advocate, the GFC and the CSSSVS.
The Ryersonian previously reported that the RSU’s student issues and advocacy co-ordinator has been unable to represent students at academic misconduct or grade appeal hearings. This put a strain on the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), which represents 16,000 continuing education and part-time education students.
Ryerson offered CESAR financial resources to represent more students as well as run some of the RSU’s services, but CESAR denied the proposal. In a letter posted to Facebook, CESAR president Nicole Brayiannis said the university “already has a student advocate for full-time undergraduate and graduate students via the RSU.”
“From the beginning I would say we were very committed to services that are vital to students, including advocacy for students, but also services….[for] students that are unfortunately under pressure,” Lachemi said, when asked by the Ryersonian whether there were concerns over the other RSU equity centres being left out of the proposed agreement.
He said while he didn’t have details about all of the services, “I can assure you that anything that we think is vital for the population, we are making sure that we continue, or they continue, to be served.
“Nobody will suffer from the transition that is taking place now,” Lachemi said.
RSU president Vanessa Henry did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.