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Ryerson University cuts ties with RSU

Administration terminates agreement with scandal-embroiled student union.

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Ryerson University has terminated its agreement with the student government after it failed to follow terms set out in January 2019. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In a dramatic move on Friday, Ryerson University said it no longer recognized the Ryerson Students’ Union as “the official student government” after it failed to meet conditions set out by the university following a credit card scandal uncovered last January.

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“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,” Vice Provost Jen McMillen said in a statement, adding the administration has terminated its 1986 Operating Agreement with the RSU.

The RSU is a separate entity from the university, with its own Board of Directors elected from among the students on a yearly basis.

The Canadian Federation of Students Ontario called the termination as an “attack on student democracy”.

The development comes just days after the RSU asked Toronto Police to investigate alleged financial mismanagement by its former executives after completing a forensic audit.

The scandal was first unveiled a year ago, when an RSU credit card bill with approximately $250,000 in unusual spending was revealed by The Eyeopener.

At this time, the university said it would no longer pass along fees students paid to the RSU until three conditions were met. The university asked for a forensic audit that would be shared with its administration and a new operating budget negotiated between the RSU and Ryerson.

“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,” McMillen said.

The vice provost said the university was further concerned by the recent impeachments and resignations by student leadership over the past two months, though they are unrelated to the credit card affair.

The recent turnovers have largely been due to executive failures to work full 40-hour weeks and for alleged harassment, according to reports from The Eyeopener.

Since Dec. 10, four out of six executives that were on the Refresh slate have left office with the vice-president equityvice-president marketing and vice-president education resigning and the vice-president operations being impeached.

Vice President of Operations James Fotak told The Eyeopener that the RSU has “no comment right now.” The Avro Post has reached out for comment from President Vanessa Henry.

Decision undermines ‘democratic rights’: CFS

The Canadian Federation of Students’ provincial division said Ryerson University’s decision “undermines the democratic rights of students and student organizations that represent them”.

In a more formal statement released on Friday evening, CFS argued that autonomy was key for a student union to “effectively represent their membership”.

“Internal challenges are best addressed through the democratic structures that exist within students’ unions because they are the processes agreed upon by the union’s membership,” the organization said.

They added that the RSU has demonstrated it took the allegations of financial mismanagement “seriously” and had taken several actions to address the problems.

The statement did not mention the university’s statement that the student union did not follow through the three demands set out by the administration.

The CFS went on to argue that there are mechanisms in place internally so that the greater student body can hold student organizations accountable, explaining that students are empowered by elections, general meeting and referendum to solve issues that arise.

“Ryerson University’s move to terminate their agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union is a paternalistic overreach that undermines these democratic mechanisms,” the press release says.

With files from The Eyeopener/Canadian University Press. ■

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Davis scores career-high in Raptors win over Bulls

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Chicago Bulls 129-102 on Sunday.

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The Toronto Raptors defeated the Chicago Bulls 129-102 on Sunday.

Toronto shot 56 per cent from the field. Terence Davis recorded a career-high 31 points. He shot 12-15 from the field, including six three-pointers.

Pascal Siakam scored 17 points and had nine rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 16 points, six boards and three blocks.

Chris Boucher had 15 points off the bench, Kyle Lowry had 14 points and six assists. Fred VanVleet scored 14 and had eight dimes.

Thaddeus Young led Chicago scorers with 21 points. Zach LaVine was limited to 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Sophomore Chandler Hutchinson scored 17 points. Ryan Arcidiacono and Coby White scored 12 points apiece.

Here are some Raptors highlights of the night:

Head coach Nick Nurse was named Eastern Conference coach of the month on Monday.

The Raptors host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


Featured image from Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press. ■

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Raptors defeat Cleveland to win 9th straight game

The Toronto Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-109 on Thursday.

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The Toronto Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-109 on Thursday.

Kyle Lowry was named an all-star reserve prior to the game, he will participate in the game for a sixth straight time.

Lowry scored 23 points, and had five assists and five rebounds on Thursday. Marc Gasol dealt with a hamstring injury, Serge Ibaka replaced him in the starting five and led Toronto scorers with 26 points.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and four steals. Norman Powell scored 16 points in 26 minutes of action. Chris Boucher scored 10 points. Fred VanVleet had eight points and 12 assists.

Kevin Love and Collin Sexton scored 23 points apiece for the Cavaliers. Darius Garland had 16 points and eight assists.

Larry Nance Jr. scored 13 points and grabbed 9 boards, while Kevin Porter Jr. also scored 13 points. Brampton native Tristan Thompson had two points and 12 rebounds.

Here are some Raptors highlights of the night:

Toronto ends their back-to-back with a game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday at Little Caesars Arena.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.


Featured image from Toronto Raptors. ■

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RSU files legal claim against Ryerson University

It comes after the university cuts off the student union.

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File photo.

STORY FROM THE EYEOPENER

(CUP) — The Ryerson Students’ Union announced on Tuesday that they have filed a legal claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Ryerson University.

This comes after the university announced that they have terminated their 34-year-old 1986 Operating Agreement with the RSU on Jan. 24, meaning they no longer recognize the RSU as the official student union. 

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, RSU president Vanessa Henry said that they are “asking the court to require the university to comply with their contractual obligation which includes: recognizing the RSU as elected student representation and remit all student fees to the RSU.”

“The renegotiation process was difficult. We were willing to make concessions but not at the risk of jeopardizing our autonomy and ability to effectively advocate for students,” said Henry. 

Henry also said that the RSU was “in fact, hours away” from sending a new draft of their agreement when they received notice from the university of their termination. 

She added that since the release of Ryerson’s statement, the university has refused to allow the RSU’s academic coordinator to represent student misconduct and has dismissed the RSU’s senate representative from attending tonight’s meeting. 

“We are no longer just defending the RSU, we are setting precedent for student voices throughout Ontario and across Canada. The administration has tried to silence students. We will not be silenced,” said Henry. 

“We as the RSU will not let over 50 years of history to be destroyed. The university has denied our request to release funds and has advised us that they will no longer be returning to the renegotiating table.” 

Henry added that the RSU will host a blackout demonstration on Thursday. Student services, including the Equity Service Centres will be closed.

“Students will witness the impact of Ryerson University’s decision to not recognize the Ryerson Students’ Union and the important work we do on campus,” Henry said.

“We’re deeply disappointed that we have to take this action. However, over the past year the RSU has had to deplete its resources so that it could continue to provide essential services to students,” said Henry.

Story syndicated from The Eyeopener via the Canadian University Press by Madi Wong. ■

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