Opinion by Kenny Yum
It’s been a year where that position of entrenched authority lost much of its righteousness, its value diminished by the political misdemeanours south of the border.
The title itself — president — has become pedestrian, part of the organizational nomenclature. Just about every non or for-profit invokes that word, thrusting the unlucky soul into a lofty pedestal with equally lofty expectations.
I, myself, am the president of Rye Eye Publishing, a hat that I seldom want to, or even admit to taking.
Historically, the presidents of Rye Eye (The Eyeopener) and RyeSAC are considered mortal enemies. One is the public figure, the other the watch dog. It’s a necessary, and fun, part of campus democracy.
And for that reason, it pains me as a matter of duty to write this editorial about your student council president, David Steele.
Steele is not your average RyeSAC president. From an unscientific empirical assessment of our past presidents — Angelo DeLuca, Vicky Bowman, Paul Cheevers — Mr. Steele is definitely a different breed of leader.
Which, in the end, probably is good for the campus because I think he’s the best we’ve had in many years.
For one thing, Stele is a diplomat, which is important when you’re dealing with the great bureaucracy that is Ryerson administration.
As he co-chairs the student campus centre’s main committee, it’s actually kinda fun to watch him go head-to-head with administrators 20 years his seniors. And he actually wins a few of those arguments.
His drive to make sure that student interests are spoken for in the student campus centre negotiations is indeed impressive.
I was impressed how easy it was to drag him out to a Rams playoff game — even though he probably doesn’t understand the game, as president-elect Erin George coached him on the finer points of basketball. But then he helped spread the word about the upcoming games and even made the trek to London, where he told us he’d rather sit with the students than the administrators who’d made their customary appearance. He then tried, with little success, to get a bus out to Halifax.
There are many more, less significant factors that make Steele a good president. For one thing, he can hold his booze, which all journalists, especially students, respect.
And he has a sense of humour and, as politicians go, is down to earth, which is nice when you’d rather talk to a human being than a stuffed shirt.
Sure, there have been some lapses in his mandate — a couple of election promises left unfulfilled, a couple of impeachments. And yes, RyeSAC is more than its president, and Steele will admit that he has a staff and executive that have made the union one of the best-run — how sad for us scandal-hungry journalists — and best-managed student organizations in the country.
So, in the end, Steele, like other presidents, serves well as a figure-head. Man of Steele, a fitting nickname indeed.