By Caroline Alphonso
In the past 50 years, Ryerson’s student government has had it all: gender politics, scandal, criminal activity and impeachments. The people who have run — whether they have won or not — have certainly left their mark.
Two notable presidential candidates were journalism students Aubrey Bell in 1974 and Murray Malkin 1976. To make himself known, Bell bought a two-page spread in the Eyeopener and ran a picture of himself sitting in a tree naked.
Malkin wanted to prove anybody could become a SURPI president and took a similar tact in his presidential campaign. He put a picture of a nude portion of his body on campaign posters which carried the slogan: “I can’t promise you the moon but…” He finished fourth.
The year that sparks the most interest in the government’s 50 years is the year John Fabrizio became general manager.
In 1986-87 suspicion grew as money began disappearing from the safe in Fabrizio’s office. Never before had a Ryerson student government faced the problem of thievery. “Nobody trusted anybody,” said Fabrizio.
The safe combination and even the lock to the door of Fabrizio’s office was changed. Within that time three thefts had already taken place.
On the day RSU president Barry Hayward and Fabrizio were to go in for lie detector tests, V.P. Finance and Development was caught trying to get into the pub safe. Filion was charged with three counts of theft over $1,000 from SURPI. The fourth-year business student had taken at total of $6,7000 from the vault. Ironically, Filion was also responsible for the SURPI’s $1.2 million budget.
Filion, who pleaded guilty and received 150 hours of community service, said he was too proud to ask for his family’s assistance in paying his fees.
The fun didn’t stop there though.
A fist-fight broke out between the V.P. Education Greg Aucoin and Hayward. Aucoin, referred to as “lady’s man,” appeared to have a personal conflict with Hayward. The fight resulted in Hayward throwing Aucoin into the wall and creating a hole. Rumours at the time suggested that Aucoin feuded with Hayward, who was married, because of an alleged extra-marital affair with a staff member. Regardless, the issue of who was going to t pay to fix the wall came up at the board meeting several days later. After much discussion Hayward ended up paying for the wall.
There have only been eight female presidents of RyeSAC (and its previous incarnations). This is significant because in over forty years of student governance no president has ever repeated a term. This gives women odds poorer than 10 to 1 for any election. T he first female president was Janet Weir, in 1967. In the era of administration selected presidents, Weir’s success was called “a remarkable feat since girls are outnumbered 7 to 1 at Ryerson,” by The Daily Rye.
“Women who have come to be president are certainly more colourful,” said Denis Loney, executive assistant at RyeSAC.
Danielle Holmes came into power in 1992-1993 and was almost impeached during this time.
She used the student government’s money to buy personal things, like cigarettes, promising to reimburse the money late, said Leatrice Spevack, campus groups administrator. Holmes did not get along well with her v.p.s who said she went money she wasn’t supposed to. Luckily she survived impeachment by one vote, said Spevack.