By Gavin Mackenzie
They’re off and scurrying.
The RyeSAC election race kicked off last Friday and it looks like the presidential battle, if not close, will at least be humorous.
Student council veterans Odelia Bay and Rob Haines will fight it out against a rodent — The Eyeopener’s candidate, Scoop W. Gerbil — for RyeSAC’s top job.
Haines, a 27-year-old theatre student, has questioned the effectiveness of the protest tactics used by RyeSAC over the past two years.
“RyeSAC’s tactics have alienated a large number of students and they haven’t done much of anything this year,” he said. “There’s a lot of bitching but no solutions … RyeSAC’s focus has been on the postsecondary system, we need to focus more on student life.”
But Bay, a 22-year-old journalism student, begs to differ.
She says because of activists’ efforts, the provincial government capped tuition increases at two per cent, and the number of programs with deregulated tuition was put on hold this year. Bay feels the actions of organizations such as RyeSAC play an important role.
“We’re not alienating people,” she said. “Making education accessible for everyone is something worth fighting for, and just having meetings doesn’t always work.”
If elected, Bay said she will continue fighting tuition increases and would also like to push to improve campus safety.
If Haines emerges triumphant, he plans to immediately double the financial aid available to students through RyeSAC, to $20,000 from $10,000. If he can’t raise the money through donations or fundraising, he said he will pay for it out of his salary of around $20,000 a year.
He also plans to increase funding to course unions and student groups, and develop a career placement assistance program.
On top of that, Haines has boldly vowed to run naked through the quad if he wins.
“Well I might wear some shoes,” he said. “I don’t want to fall and scrape the nutty bits, if you know what I mean.”
Gerbil is a candidate put forward by The Eyeopener. He doesn’t say much but may be a hit with Ryerson students who are traditionally unenthused by SAC elections.
In other races, third-year-journalism student Darren Cooney is running against third-year business student Bruce Jolly for v.p. administration.
Cooney, 21, a member of RyeSAC’s board of directors, said he will aim to create school spirit among the traditionally apathetic Ryerson student body.
“To be honest, I enjoy extracurricular stuff more than school,” he said. “People pay more than $4,500 to go here and it doesn’t make sense not to enjoy yourself.”
Jolly also serves on RyeSAC’s board of directors. He said he wants to focus on increasing spirit among first-year students and plans to involve residence students more in theme nights at Oakham House.
Three candidates — Ken Marciniec, Sabahat-Bin-Sabih and Michael Direzze — are running for v.p. finance and development.
Both Sabih and Direzze are 22-year-old business students. Sabih has worked with the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) in the past. If voted into office he said he will fight tuition increases.
Marciniec, a 21-year-old theatre technical production student, is one of RyeSAC’s representatives on Ryerson’s academic council. If elected he said he’d like to increase the number of bursaries available to students, as well as make all financial aid resources available through a single application form.
Alex Lisman, a 22-year-old image arts student, is running uncontested for v.p. education. Lisman is co-chair of RyeACTION, the activist wing of RyeSAC’s educational affairs committee.