Candidates get grilled at debate

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By Gavin Mackenzie

v.p. finance & development

The debate for v.p. finance and development featured three candidates who said similar things.

Ken Marciniec, Sabahat-Bin-Sabih and Michael DiRezze all promised to attract corporate dollars to RyeSAC and use the money for bursaries, financial aid and increasing the services available to students.

“I’m not for selling out the campus as might be suggested,” said Marciniec, a third-year technical theatre student. “We just have to minimize the involvement of the sponsors and make sure they are there in namesake only.”

DiRezze, a fourth-year business student, said this type of approach would not cause conflicts within RyeSAC — many of the other candidates’ platforms denounce corporatism — because everyone would be working as a team.

“One person doesn’t make all the decisions,” DiRezze said. “All I can do is pitch the ideas I feel will best help students and the school, and if approaching corporate sponsorship is what I think will do that I will pitch it to the team and we will decide if that is the best approach to take.”

Sabih, a 22-year-old business student, said he would use connections he has made working at an accounting firm to attract corporate sponsorship.

President

Presidential candidates Rob Haines and Odelia Bay have differing opinions about RyeSAC’s effectiveness over the past year, and those differences were thrust to centre stage at The Eyeopener’s Grill the Candidates Debate last week.

Haines attacked RyeSAC’s protest tactics and focus on external issues such as privatization and corporatization.

“There has been an inability to gauge what students actually want, and frankly a lack of anything getting done that affects Ryerson students,” he said. “RyeSAC is a $3-million corporation and we can do a whole lot more. Stop the fucking bitching and let’s get something done for the students.”

Haines said fighting privatization and corporatization are worthy causes, but feels it isn’t the job of a student government to use students’ money in the battle.

“That’s why we have the CFS (Canadian Federation of Students),” the 27-year-old theatre student said. “They lobby on behalf of us at the provincial and federal level.”

Bay, RyeSAC’s current v.p. education, was quick to answer back. She said eternal issues affect Ryerson students as much as internal ones.

“I have a real problem with this whole internal/eternal thing because what happens inside the university is a symptom of a larger cause, and unless we go after the root issues we are fighting a losing battle,” she said. “It is like giving someone a Kleenex for a cold instead of trying to boost their immune system.”

Bay, a 22-year-old journalism student, said that if she is elected president she will continue to fight issues such as tuition increases, deregulation and privatization.

“I really feel that, regardless of what happens in the future, I have contributed a significant part to this campus,” Bay said. “All the work I did with Access 2000 [a day of mass student protest last February] and the march of women, those were two areas that were highly successful.”

v.p. administration

Both Bruce Jolly and Darren Cooney pledged to increase school spirit and involve more students in extracurricular activities.

“Right now there is nothing going on at this school,” said Jolly, a third-year business student. “A lot of students are apathetic and don’t give a crap.”

But the highlight of the v.p. administration debate came near the end when Cooney, a third-year journalism student, climbed onto the table and started dancing, lifting his shirt and pouting his lips while the crowd cheered and a confused Jolly looked on.

v.p. education

Alex Lisman is running uncontested for v.p. education and a yes/no vote will decide his fate. Lisman, a 22-year-old image arts student, took his debate time to express his commitment to fighting tuition increases and deregulation.

“You start with reaching out to students,” he said. “Educate students on the issues, get them involved, and ask them for their support.”

Lisman also vowed to make the current instructor/course evaluations more useful to students by working with faculty to make the results public.

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