Who will get a monopoly?

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By Kenny Yum

For once we can actually say that you will see a new student centre.

Make that student campus centre.

And that building will probably be erected within the next four years.

But in the interim, the years that elapse between now and the ribbon cutting day, a lot of wheeling and dealing in conference board rooms will take place.  Truth is,  it is happening already.

You see, this campus can’t grow much beyond its borders.  We’re sitting on prime real estate, and the upcoming Yonge-Dundas redevelopment will probably boost our property value.  So any new space for our tightly packed campus is valuable.  Especially space for non-academic purposes, like a student campus centre — the name concocted by an alliance of administration and the student councils.  Oh well, what’s in a name?

Most of our university’s newer buildings, like the Rogers Communications Centre, were built for academic programs.  In Rogers’ case, the faculties of computer science, radio and television arts and journalism found new homes.

Ryerson’s ownership of the proposed building site, 55 Gould St, gives it a trump card in the game.

Administration stands to benefit from the new building, either by taking back the lower ground floor of Jorgenson Hall if RyeSAC and other student groups move to the centre, or if the school gets to relocate its services — like admissions or financial aid offices — into the centre.

The student centre — oh, sorry, student campus centre — could hold non-academic student services, like the RyeSAC offices, the health centre, the women’s centre, CESAR and even The Eyeopener.

The issue, like we said before, is precious space.

When RyeSAC held its referendum last year to secure a steady flow of capital — money that now goes to the RAC — towards a centre fund, it assured itself a head seat at the bargaining table.

Our school, like most public institutions, makes decisions through committees.  The recent recommendation that a Fine Arts degree be granted for the theatre school, for example, has to pass through many bodies before it becomes finalized.  Even our president, Claude Lajeunesse, is accountable to a review committee.

The student campus centre committee, yes another one of those drudge names for bureaucratic bodies, is not the ultimate authority on the future of the building.

But it will define what the building will be, what services it will provide and who will govern it.

It is obvious by the fact that LInda Grayson, Ryerson’s v.p. administration and student affairs, and David Steele, RyeSAC’s president, co-chair this committee that the school and the student union both recognize the tremendous stake this committee holds in the centre.

Of the voting members of this body, student voices, including RyeSAC and CESAR, dominate.

A student centre should be student-run, RyeSAC has said in the past.  If RyeSAC secured the funding, then it has probable right to a claim in the building.

But what about a student campus centre?  Ah, there is only so much in a name.

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