RACA folds in debt

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By Hamida Ghafour

One of Ryerson’s largest cultural groups has folded because of an overwhelming debt and internal conflicts.

Ryerson’s African Caribbean Association (RACA) will not be around this year.  And their debt is one of the main reasons RyeSAC won’t give loans to student groups anymore, said Leatrice Spevack, campus groups administrator.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect anyone badly,” she said, adding student groups rarely apply for loans anyway.

No group has defaulted on a loan in five years, Spevack said.  RACA owes RyeSAC $3,000 they borrowed two years ago.

The loan was given to them to a cultural fair that flopped because of poor promotion and low turnout Spevack said.

But debt wasn’t the only reason why RACA broke up shortly after school ended last spring, said Keith Gregory, a former member and third-year applied chemistry and biology student.

A rift between the African and Carribean students began years ago.  “It wasn’t a good bet to start RACA because there were to many divisions between the Carribeans and Africans,’ said Gregory, who wanted to run for president of the association last year.

But Ryerson black students may have a new group to represent them.  Gregory wants to start a student association, tentatively called the Descendants of Nations of Africa (DNA), which would include all black students.

“We know it’s a bit of extra effort … but we didn’t want Ryerson’s 50th anniversary to go by without our culture being represented,” he said.

Gregory hopes to break all ties with RACA and that includes their debt, but Spevack said there’s little chance of that.

“The likelihood of all of it being written off is zero,” she said, adding that RyeSAC already wrote of $1,200.

“People wish to reform it, than those people will be liable for that money.

Other Ryerson student groups will still get a $725 grant each fall.  After that, they can apply for more grants.

“They do get enough money.  We fund them more generously than any other university,” she said.


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