January 24, 2020
The Ontario Federation of Labour condemns the ill-conceived and short-sighted decision of Ryerson University to terminate its operating agreement with the Ryerson Students Union (RSU). The RSU has been instrumental in fighting for student autonomy and student-led change on campus for 72 years.
“This is an attack on student union autonomy and the right for students to independently organize. It undermines the democratic rights of students and student organizations that represent them,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. “Ryerson is shamefully leaving its student body without the representation they voted for.”
Student unions are an essential democratic institution that bring the voice of the student body to the administration, advocate for student-positive change on campus and in university policy.
“Ryerson is acting against its own students, who stand to lose important services that student unions advocate for and provide, including mental health advocacy, safe space for LGBTQI+ students, campus food bank, and sexual assault support services,” said Ontario Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Ahmad Gaied.
Conservative cuts to education have affected all levels of education in Ontario. Student unions have also been under attack and have been forced to close services due to the Conservative’s Student Choice Initiative.
“Now is a time when Ryerson should be supporting its student union to succeed, not choosing to turn its back on decades of reliable activism and student democracy,” said Ontario Federation of Labour Vice-President Janice Folk-Dawson. “Any decisions about the fate of student unions must be done through the proper democratic channels, rather than through a unilateral decision that silences the voices of students.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour is Canada’s largest labour federation, representing 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
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