Over the past several weeks, March for Our Education has been disappointed by the current state of affairs concerning the Ryerson Student Union. The debate among student organizations and advocates has been intense, and members of our team are personal friends with many of the people who have spoken out about their derecognition.
Our position is that while an extreme step, Ryerson University has been put in a difficult position which required action. Since the spending scandal broke out last year, the internal collapse of the RSU executive prevented them from being able to negotiate a new collective agreement or organize a proper forensic audit. Ryerson University has a fiduciary responsibility to their students when they disperse funds to the recognized student government, and the structural issues which still remain in the RSU prevent them from being able to properly respond to the concerns following the scandal.
March for Our Education is a student-led organization, and our student membership has made it clear they no longer trust the RSU with their student fees. As the RSU can no longer function to represent the student body, we recognize that a replacement student government must be created to fill that role. While disappointed that affairs have come to this point, we are satisfied with the process for developing a new student government, which is being led by a committee of undergraduate students, including former RSU Vice President Education Daniel Lis, whom we have worked with on several projects and is a personal friend of our staff. It is our hope that a new student government finds recognition with the University, and that they are able to negotiate in good faith and establish a warm and cooperative relationship.
Last, it is unfortunate that the University and CESAR could not find an equitable agreement for continuity of service to undergrad students. However, while understandable that Ryerson University would look to them as an alternative service provider, we ultimately agree with CESAR that doing so would undermine the undergraduate student body and their ability to negotiate in good faith with the University.
March for Our Education is proud to support student democracy across Canada, and works regularly with groups such as the Canadian Federation of Students to that effect. As such, we look forward to the establishment of a more transparent student government at Ryerson, and to placing this conflict behind all parties involved.