Mysterious anti-theft group gains support

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By Wojtek Dabrowski

News of an organized movement opposing the student government has stirred up interest in the business, engineering and computer science schools, even though the people behind the rallying cry against RyeSAC remain anonymous.

“You’ve got a group of less than one per cent representing the rest of us very poorly and giving us a bad name,” said first-year computer science student Michael Melvin.

Melvin, who has been looking to get in touch with the mysterious Students Against RyeSAC (SAR) group, said there is a “general feeling” among many engineering and computer science students that RyeSAC is too involved in promoting a leftish agenda.

“We as a university look bad when this small group goes over and above their mandate…and starts tossing in all of this activism,” he said.

Ryerson first heard about SAR when an article published last week in The Eyeopener publicized the groups criticisms of RyeSAC.

In an e-mail, SAR blasted RyeSAC’s involvement in the Oct. 16 anti-poverty protests in Toronto’s financial district, accusing the executive of propagating vandalism and violence.

The e-mail also hinted at unspecified political action planned for RyeSAC’s semi-annual meeting Nov. 20, where policy and structure decisions are made.

At a semi-annual meeting in 1990, 131 engineering students banded together to stop funding CKLN FM, Ryerson’s radio station, because they didn’t like it’s programming. As a result the issue was put to a referendum the following year. Eighty-six per cent of students voted to maintain funding.

This week, several engineering students and a larger group of business students expressed interest in getting involved with the SAR campaign, accusing the student government of misrepresenting their interests.

But RyeSAC’s v.p. education Alex Lisman said Monday that by keeping their identity hidden, SAR is losing credibility.

“It doesn’t look good to be anonymous,” Lisman said. “Their credibility would be increased if they publicized their issues.”

“I don’t think they’re afraid, but I think it doesn’t lend them the credibility that they probably would like.”

Ashvin Bapat, president of the Business Students Association, has participated in a debate series with RyeSAC in hopes of voicing the concerns of business students with the student union’s mandate.

He says its difficult to support a group such as SAR if the organizers refuse to identify themselves.

“There’s no validity to your statements,” said Bapat. “You’re putting down another group without standing on your own feet. You’re hiding in the shadows.”

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