Ghouls, goblins, and ghosts galore, there’s no other holiday that’s spookier than Halloween. However, the real scare is the prevalence of food insecurity and yearly, this issue is addressed by the Ryerson Students’ Union in the Trick or Eat food drive.
However, with issues between the RSU staff and newly elected executives, mixed answers were communicated to students regarding the event, and a decision wasn’t finalized until Monday, Oct. 26.
When initially asked about the food drive, RSU staff at the Good Food Centre said it would not be happening this year, and cited the cause being the “rocky” start that the new students’ union leaders are having.
However, Rabia Idrees, VP equity said the event was not communicated to her by her staff and that she can ensure this confusion won’t happen again. “At the end of the day, it’s the students who use the food room that are affected by this. If there are any students that have been told anything which eludes to the fact that the new executive’s do not care or do not want to do anything to curb food insecurity, that is simply not true.”
RSU President Andrea Bartlett agrees there are incessant tensions between the RSU staff and the executive board that are causing these discrepancies for student services. “For so long staff members have been trained to think a certain way so unless you ask the exact question from someone they’re not going to give me information,” she said.
Drew Silverthorn, events and advocacy coordinator for the Good Food Centre, denied any issues with the new leadership and said that the relationship between RSU staff and executives is respectful. Silverthorn did say however, “Unite had a lot of executives who worked in equity and Transform doesn’t. It’s not detrimental but it is a factor.”
Last year’s RSU electoral win by Transform Ryerson over Unite was monumental in marking a sweeping vote by students to change from a static nine-year leadership. But it’s been eight months since the incoming RSU executives were announced and two months into the school year under the new leadership and still, cries of growing pains can be heard from the SCC.
The Eyeopener reported last month about the lacking transitional training for the incoming execs by their predecessors. Missing emails, unorganized documents, files transferred to committees instead of the VPs and no calendar of past events or list of vendors are among the issues Bartlett shared.
Bartlett said she wants to put students’ confusion and worries to rest regarding her team. In the middle of the summer she was told the RSU would have a $100,000 deficit by the director of operations. Now, Bartlett confirms the RSU is in a $6,000 surplus.
“We won a landslide victory, so obviously students wanted a change. They want us here,” said Idrees. “But there is no denying there are a lot of people who don’t. I’m not going to beat around the bush with that either, there’s people who want the Unite team to come back.”
Idrees says she’s ready to take on these challenges, “I’m doing everything in my power to keep past equity events going, and I plan to introduce new ones for students.”