Ryerson university says it is currently looking in detail at the conclusions and recommendations of the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) alternative budget.

But judging from Sheldon Levy’s reaction and the university’s released statement, it should be pretty clear how unlikely it is that the RSU will win over the finance committee.

In this March 2015 file photo, Ryerson Students' Union vice-president of education Jesse Root talks at a meeting in the student centre. (Courtesy of Ryersonian Staff)

In this March 2015 file photo, Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president of education Jesse Root talks at a meeting in the student centre. (Courtesy of Ryersonian Staff)

The RSU says there is an annual $14-million surplus that the university could tap into to freeze tuition fees and offer rebates to students.

The RSU’s alternative budget makes some good points.

It acknowledges the severe financial strain students are experiencing, with tuition hikes every year for the past 10 years.

It acknowledges the poor working conditions of temporary faculty and staff, who are poorly paid, overworked and have to reapply for their positions every few months.

If the RSU’s numbers are flawed, it’s hardly their fault.

The university doesn’t release actual information about where exactly those savings are going, and the RSU says it was denied access to departmental budgets.

The university is a large institution.

It pays people to know exactly where each dollar is going, and it chooses not to provide students with that information.


If it takes a little extra money and time to put together a more detailed budget, then fine, let’s do it.

That’s your job.

In response to the RSU’s budget, Levy said the “surplus” is actually savings, which the university needs to maintain.

The main takeaway from the RSU’s budget battle should be that Ryerson University needs to be more transparent with upcoming budgets.

If the university is annoyed with the RSU’s misunderstanding of surplus versus savings, then here’s the solution: tell us where the money is going.

Students need to have a say in how the university is spending their money and there needs to be at least a basis for communication.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian on March 25, 2015.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. Ryersonian.ca also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.