The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) held a casual town hall meeting on Thursday to give students an opportunity to ask executives about current projects, and speak up about the issues on their mind.
The new Wellness Centre, RSU’s involvement with the Canadian Federation of Students’ (CFS) Fight the Fees campaign and the anti-choice protesters on campus were a few topics of discussion.
The Wellness Centre is at the top of the RSU’s to-do list, because the union is working towards reconstructing the old Used Book Room into a “comfortable and flexible space” for students to access resources and programming to take care of their overall well-being.
On Nov. 17, the RSU is holding another town hall to receive students’ feedback on what they’d like the Wellness Centre to look like, what type of programming and resources they want to see and how they want the space to feel.
According to Tamara Jones, the RSU’s vice-president of equity, the Wellness Centre is expected to be running in January next year.
RSU & Fight the Fees
Students at the town hall raised questions about RSU’s lack of involvement with CFS’s Fight the Fees campaign, which supports the progressive elimination of tuition fees for post-secondary students. Some students thought it was “strange” that the RSU is putting money into things like competitive sports teams at Ryerson, but did not invest as much time, money and energy into the protests held during Social Justice Week to end tuition fees.
The RSU said that while the union is not directly involved in CFS campaign and protests, it is taking a research- and policy-based approach to its advocacy for eliminating tuition fees.
“I don’t think anyone in this room is happy that they’re paying thousands of dollars to be here,” said Jones. “It can be a problem however when you place value on one type of advocacy over another. Advocacy is not less effective than protesting.”
Addressing Anti-Choice Protesters on Campus
Pro-life protesters have been returning to Ryerson’s campus with large banners showing graphic images of abortions. At the town hall, students asked what the RSU is doing to address the disturbance.
Jones says the RSU is developing a series of recommendations on how to address the anti-choice protesters on campus. One of the recommendations included hosting a pro-choice event on campus with pro-choice organizations from around the city to educate and raise awareness about the issue and explain how some of the signs and images shown by the abortion opponents are inaccurate or misleading.