For the first time in years, there is organized opposition to Unite Ryerson, the group that has long controlled most executive positions on the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).
Transform RU is a group of 25 students running for all RSU positions in the upcoming election.
The RSU domination by Unite Ryerson candidates spawned the idea for Transform RU, says one of its leaders.
“We have had the same group of students running the RSU year after year, and they are not always representing the voices of all students across campus,” says Andrea Bartlett, Transform RU’s presidential candidate.
She says she believes that Ryerson is ready for change.
- Unite Ryerson and Transform RU face off in election debate
- Transform RU will consider ditching CFS if elected
- 2014: Unite Ryerson sweeps RSU elections despite low-voter turnout
In September 2014, a Facebook page called “Drop RSU” was created and currently has over 550 likes. Ryerson students have been voicing their discontent with the RSU on various issues, including their lack of transparency and their “Freeze the Fees” campaign.
“The Drop RSU movement is a clear cry from the Ryerson students that something needs to change within our student’s union,” Bartlett says.
Transform RU is campaigning for transparent communication and increased funding for scholarships and student groups. It is also lobbying for the university to waive financial document fees and to improve the financial services department.
According to Unite Ryerson promotional material, its candidates want to “build upon the success of the Freeze the Fees campaign,” as well as launch a campaign to fight against unpaid internships and create a permanent drop-in multifaith space on campus.
The RSU, and Unite Ryerson, were met with criticism after they decided to join the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
“We hope through these elections we will demonstrate that the RSU does have the ability to positively impact student life under the right leadership,” Bartlett said. “And with our team, we hope to improve the political climate of our campus to more accurately represent the voice of our students.”
Transform RU got off to a bad start, when the campaign posters it created were not approved. According to RSU bylaws, posters must be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper. While their posters complied with that rule, they did not include the logo that denotes recycled paper. According to Bartlett, there is no mention of the logo in the bylaws.
The polls will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 – 11 in various locations across campus. All RSU members are eligible to vote with valid ID.