RyeSAC worker receives critical, unsigned e-mail

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By Rosanne Van Vierzen

A RyeSAC official has consulted the university’s harassment office after receiving a nasty e-mail from the South Asian Alliance, a maverick former student group.

The e-mail, sent Sept. 26, told campus groups administrator Leatrice Spevack to stop harassing members of the SAA  — a club that represents students from six different Asian countries, including India and Pakistan — and accused her of not doing her job properly.

“You as a campus administrator are a failure and a disgrace,” the note read.  “You are a paid employee and as such should always conduct yourself in an impartial nature.  But you fail that task miserably.”

Spevack was shocked when she noticed the message her e-mail folder.

“I take a great deal of pride in my work,” she said.  “It’s really like a slap in the face.”

Nobody has taken credit for the message, which could have come from any of the SAA’s 130 members, but it was sent in response to an e-mail Spevack wrote to students on an SAA mailing list reminding them the group had lost its official campus group status.

The e-mail Spevack got in return accused her of being incompetent, criticized the way RyeSAC ratifies its student groups and accused the student union of favouring some groups over others.

It is not the first time the SAA and RyeSAC have butted heads.

The student union gave the SAA official club status last year — making it a RyeSAC-sanctioned group that receives student funds  — but eventually stripped the title after the group failed to put its money into a RyeSAC trust fund, a mandatory policy for all clubs.

Other groups also began complaining about the way SAA recruits its members.

But even though it’s not an official campus group, the SAA continued to hold meetings at Ryerson under the name Ryerson South Asian Alliance, something that irked Spevack.

During orientation week this year, the SAA set up a table outside Jorgenson Hall beside representatives from other student groups.  When Spevack caught wind of their display, she went outside and told them they weren’t welcome, taking away their sign.

“I don’t want students here being confused thinking this is a RyeSAC group,” Sepvack said.  “It takes a lot of work to be a RyeSAC group.”

Punji Panicuer, a returning member of the SAA, said the group doesn’t understand all the fuss over the message.

“About 15 to 20 people use that e-mail account,” he said.  “Someone is obviously offended but it’s a waste of time for us to sit down and figure out who wrote it.”

Vic Sachdeva, president of the SAA said he took offence to the way Spevack dealt with their group.

“I personally believe she is out of line and rude,” he said, adding that he hopes she will approach him directly and not through an e-mail list if there are any future problems.

Spevack said she showed the e-mail to both the RyeSAC board of directors and the harassment office, but she said until she find out who sent the litter, her hands are tied.

“Once I know who’s responsible I will have to consider my options.”

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