TORONTO – CUPE Ontario represents more than thirty thousand (30,000) university workers across Ontario, who are represented within the union through the Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC).
CUPE Ontario and OUWCC strongly condemn the recent moves by Ryerson University to terminate its operational agreement with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and sever all ties with the organization.
Students at Ryerson University deserve effective, accountable and democratic representation, and the University’s decision to terminate the operational agreement and withhold fees collected on behalf of RSU represents a massive step backward for the entire Ryerson community.
Whatever its shortcomings, RSU performs many vital roles for students on campus, from advocacy and equity to supporting students with immediate financial, mental health and other needs. All of these services have been put at risk by Ryerson, as well as the livelihoods of the eight (8) RSU staff who administer and deliver these services.
Democracy and autonomy need to be safeguarded by RSU members – the students – and respected by Ryerson Administration. The proper channel of accountability for RSU’s executive rests with its membership – through their engagement, participation and ultimately through their votes. CUPE Ontario believes that the student body at Ryerson University can and should be the ones to hold their government to account, not Ryerson’s administration.
Democracy. Autonomy. Accountability. These are bedrock principles that Ryerson’s actions to date have made virtually impossible. Ryerson’s clumsy attempt to create its own student ‘government’ comprised of University-appointed representatives is none of these things. To do such a thing while refusing to provide RSU with the items necessary to conduct a fair election, such as membership lists is unconscionable.
We call on Ryerson’s administration to immediately resume contact with RSU, release all outstanding student levies collected on behalf of RSU and negotiate an operational agreement that allows RSU to fulfil its mandate.
Fred Hahn, David Simao
President, CUPE Ontario Chair, OUWCC