New room furnished with tension

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By Lori Fazari

After a two-year struggle, Ryerson’s Women’s Centre has been granted a larger space. But some members of RyeSAC say the way they got it was “underhanded.”

“The case was valid — it’s the process,” said council president Angelo DeLuca.

The Women’s Centre has been trying to move out of its cramped space in the second floor of Jorgenson Hall into the larger Clubs Room nearby, which is currently used by two student groups.

The issue came to a head last Wednesday at the RyeSAC’s semi-annual general meeting (SAGM), open to all students.

The motion to give the Women’s Centre more space was put into the board package at the last minute and the meeting was “stacked” with Women’s Centre supporters, said Angela Forgeron, RyeSAC course union and student group commissioner.

“They went about it in such an underhanded way,” Forgeron said.

But Erin George, RyeSAC women’s issues commissioner, disagrees.

“I feel confident that I followed all the proper procedures,” said George. “The main reason I brought it to the SAGM is to allow the students to have a vote.”

George said the Clubs Room isn’t used enough, and with the larger space the Women’s Centre could provide better service and expand programs.

Forgeron said she needed more time to explore other plans for the room.

It’s a thorny issue with RyeSAC’s all-male executive.

John McGowan, VP development and finance, supported giving the Women’s Centre more room but said: “It wasn’t handled openly and honestly.”

That’s why he spoke and voted against the motion at the SAGM, even though “it made me look like a female basher.”

Gord Tanner, RyeSAC VP education, favoured the motion because the issue has dragged on for too long. He said students should now get administration to find more space on campus for student groups.

Women’s Centre coordinator Daljeet Kaur is gearing up to move into their extra space with volunteers’ help. “This is a win situation for all students on campus.”

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