Ryerson’s student government four-member executives are like wines — there are good years and bad years. Last year, under the weak and ineffective direction of Mike D’Angelo, was a bad year.
This year, with the redoubtable Paul Cheevers as president, Greg Thomas back as v.p. education, Patrick Hynes as v.p. finance, and Donna MacNeil as v.p. administration, students could be forgiven for expecting better.
So how does the Fab Four exercise its mandate?
They changed RSU (Ryerson Students’ Union) to RyeSAC (Ryerson Students’ Administrative Council) and “asked” members of the board of directors to dress up for meetings. They redecorated at a cost of $3,000, and shuffled offices, giving themselves the choicest spots.
Challenge them on any of these points and they’ll tell you they are symbolic of a new broom sweeping clean.
What they won’t say is how they had to renege on a promised funding increase to the Women’s Centre to pay for the renovation and how one of their first official acts was to ask the Board to re-evaluate their salaries (which the Board did, granting them all a ten per cent increase).
They also don’t want to advertise that they paid $4,000 for Mount RyeSAC, a monstrosity of a lobby desk, by presidential fiat because the Board could not meet to give its approval.
The current push to have the Women’s Centre add RyeSAC to its name is just the latest example of Cheevers-and- company’s emphasis on style over substance.
With a chop-happy Mike Harris government in power, the prospect of ever-higher tuition, lower school funding, 12 per cent across-the-board cuts at Ryerson, and the death of an extremely successful career centre looming, the Fab Four will have to prove they can do more than just play at being executives.