Frequently Asked Question

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why are we separating?

 

  1. RSU currently represents graduate student interests, with 2 seats for Graduate student affairs on the Board of Directors, consisting of 44 students, with 42 undergraduates. This is where items get passed at the union level if it is of interest to students.

  2. It is very difficult to pass things that are important to graduate students (this is a huge barrier), as we have all sat on the Board to represent Graduate students within the last 2 years. As I am sure you are aware, Graduate and undergraduate students' interests are very different. For example: Undergraduates focus on entertainment such as concerts which are generally not of interest to the majority of graduate students.

  3. Graduate students have also paid into the union approximately $300,000 per year, but do not see the return on investment; as Graduate students received approximately $80,000 per year for programming and events.  

  4. There are conflicts of interest through Graduate students working for Ryerson and also being on the Board of Directors of the RSU with other undergraduate students. As there have been several instances of a Graduate student being a TA/GAs of class, in which a member of the RSU Board is attending, which is an obvious power imbalance and source of conflict. 

  5. Having a separate union allows for community building through collaborating, connecting, networking and helping with managing the multitude of responsibilities of a Graduate student. Having a connected body can help relieve the isolation that is felt with being siloed within Programs and Facilities, as we will be hosting Graduate centered events. 

 

Question: Will the new health and dental plan cost me $650?

 

  1. It can cost up to $650. We are working to get the best deal through eliminating the current model of having a broker (which the RSU has). The broker model costs more upfront. 

  2. We will be using a non-for-profit insurer and will partner with CUPE unit 3904. They currently have a plan for TA/GA, and we plan to pool our funds together to reduce the costs for Graduate students. 

  3. We will be looking to provide better mental health coverage off campus and dental coverage, as indicated as a top priority by a recent survey undertaken through accessible Graduate students (we currently do not have a mailing list). 

    • We will be planning a more extensive survey to ask for graduate students needs, we are trying to get access to mailing lists

    • We are still in negotiations currently 

    • $650 is the maximum cap as this gives wiggle room for negotiations 

    • Currently students are paying more on top of the RSU plan. Ex. some students are paying up to $500 on top of the RSU Health and Dental Plan fee for services.  

 

Question: Why is the fee $24.08 higher compared to the RSU fee?

  1. We will have programming for Graduate students: Research/Travel Grants to present your research and attending events for your professional development. 

  2. There are less Graduate students than undergraduates hence an increase in the fee, and we will be providing services that are graduate centered. 

  3. We plan to keep the following services the RSU offers: equity services, the Good Food Center, and Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line 

  4. The budget will be higher than what we have worked with in the past when we were on the RSU Graduate Council, which expands on what we can do as Graduate students. This includes planning Graduate specific events. 

 

Question How can students get involved with the RGSU and how can they contribute? 

 

We are always looking for volunteers, we have a google form and you can fill out the details and join us on social media. 

Question: Do negotiations only start once the RGSU is officially represented? 

Yes, as we need to be recognized first to legally start negotiations.  However we have been working for over a year unofficially to get prelim quotes for our Health and Dental Plan. 

 

Question: Will this be coordinated with CUPE?

 

Yes we are in the process of negotiating with CUPE and health plans now. We are still trying to iron this out, as will the model be one rep from each organization or one model representing both organizations. 

 

Question: What other supports are you hoping to provide? 

 

We are looking at providing research based funding as some students do not have financial support from their supervisors. We will continue to provide equity services (we need to negotiate space for these, as the RSU has several spaces already) we need to assess the RSUs willingness to collaborate with Graduate centered services. We are open to your suggestions and ideas. We have worked on the bureaucracy side of getting our organization up and running. 

 

Question: Are there services we can collaborate with the RSU for? 

 

We want to partner with the RSU and CESAR. CESAR is currently working    with us and supporting us, through providing a student advocate. We will be looking into working with RSU and collaborating over equity services. This referendum allows us to be a recognized independent body and start negotiations with the RSU regarding collaboration. 

 

Question: What are the proposed timelines for these discussions? 

 

The referendum is from Nov 2-5, if this is successful we will be talking with Ryerson and trying to sign an official agreement by Nov-December. For Jan we will need your input regarding services we will provide in the upcoming school year as well as the health plan. In Feb we will have our first election for the Exec and BOD team to be on-boarded for Fall. We do not currently have a mailing list and we are working on this, when we get officially recognized by Ryerson we will be able to do this. 

Ryerson Graduate Students' Union

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