Ryerson Students' Union will no longer be recognized by university after scandal
Following countless scandals surrounding the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and its former president, the school has announced its decision to terminate its 1986 operating agreement — which recognizes the RSU as the official government representing students — effective immediately.
In a statement posted to the school's website earlier today, Vice-Provost Jen McMillen said "the university has lost confidence in the RSU’s ability to represent students with good governance and to supply the services that students pay for."
Ryerson University has made the difficult decision to terminate its agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union. https://t.co/Ocr8qwONXz— Ryerson University (@RyersonU) January 24, 2020
The statement explains that the RSU was in breach of its agreement with Ryerson when allegations of improper use of funds by members of the 2018-2019 RSU Executive came to light last year.
I was a news editor with The Eyeopener when we began investigating the RSU. We uncovered that their exec team had increased their salaries by $11,000 after terminating their general manager — who was responsible for overseeing their spending.https://t.co/jocYTQh0CV— Emerald Bensadoun (@embensad) January 24, 2020
Ryerson then informed the union that they were in breach of the agreement but gave them a chance to make it right. Which, according to McMillen, they failed to do.
The statement explains that the student union was notified that the university would withhold the fees it collects from students and not transfer them to the RSU until three conditions were met.
Ryerson required that the RSU undergo a forensic audit of their finances, that the results of the audit be shared with the university and that a new operating agreement between the university and RSU be negotiated.
Jan. 24, 2019: RSU credit card statements revealed at board meeting.— Sherina (@sherinaharris) January 24, 2020
Jan. 24, 2020: https://t.co/V9d3yRvwCW
Unfortunately, McMillen said the RSU has not shared the results of a forensic audit with the university, nor has a new operating agreement been finalized.
"The university has tried, in good faith, to negotiate an agreement that ensures that a model of good governance and accountability forms the basis for a partnership that puts the student experience first," she said.
"Unfortunately, the RSU has ceased responding to the university’s efforts to reach common ground. Despite the university’s best efforts to be an accommodating and collaborative partner, the RSU has failed to meet the conditions set out in January 2019. "
Holy moly. I went to Ryerson, so you'll excuse my occasional tweeting on the subject of the absolute car crash that has been its student government in the last year (all props to @theeyeopener folks for awesome coverage) https://t.co/3bprV2LLVo— Shane Dingman (@shanedingman) January 24, 2020
The statemenet also alludes to several other recent incidents where students within the current executive have left leadership positions, and McMillen said students have also complained to the administration about improper governance, mismanagement, and internal conflict within the RSU.
Though the agreement between Ryerson and the RSU has now been terminated, the statement explains that a new student government may be formed and that students will play an active role in determining the structure of this new government.
"We want to reiterate that this decision was not made lightly," McMillen said.
" The university wants to assure students that we remain committed to working in good faith with a student government that demonstrates a commitment to good governance and sound financial management."
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