RyeSAC pulls out of prize money

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By Allan Woods

The “shit disturber” has been silenced once again.
RyeSAC’s executive committee reversed an earlier decision and voted Monday afternoon against endorsing the $1,000 Gerald Hannon Prize for Dissenting Journalism.

The decision was made after rumours began circulating that alumni donations might be threatened and RyeSAC president Erin George was “railroading” the award into existence.

At Monday’s meeting, Vladimir Vasilko, v.p. development and finance, raised a motion to reconsider RyeSAC’s position, which was seconded by Atif Asghar, v.p. administration.

The committee had a second vote as to whether to endorse the award, and the motion was defeated.

Both Vasilko and Asghar were quoted in a Toronto Sun article Friday saying they felt they didn’t have enough information about the situation to make an informed decision.

But George said members of the board were given a package detailing Hannon’s past record, including the 1978 article “Men Loving Boys Loving Men,” in which he condones intergenerational sex.

Before Monday’s committee meeting and exactly one week after receiving the package, Asghar said he hadn’t read the Hannon articles.

“It’s not professional,” George said. “Hopefully members of the committee will ensure that when they vote [in the future], they are informed.”

George said she plans to contact Hannon to discuss how he can circulate information about the award

She suggested he place an ad in The Eyeopener.

Hannon is in New York this week and couldn’t be reached for comment.

The award money was being established from Hannon’s settlement with Ryerson.

Hannon’s contract to teach at the university wasn’t renewed in 1996.

This was after he made headlines in The Toronto Sun for working as a prostitute and condoning intergenerational sex.

Ryerson’s administration refused to offer the award to students last May.

Don Obe, a Ryerson journalism instructor and judge for the award, doesn’t feel Hannon’s prize will be hurt by the rejection from Ryerson or RyeSAC.

“Hold the award ceremony in a pub,” he said. “Everyone can sit around, lift a few and piss all over the administration.”

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