By Allan Woods
Ryerson students see their student government as “freedom fighters” and protester ahead of school issues, according to a shelved report obtained by The Eyeopener.
The report which compiles the suggestions of 49 students from public forums last year, also calls for more involvement with corporate sponsors so students can meet “high-quality employers.”
Students are weary of damaging Ryerson’s reputation with future employers through poster campaigns and political activism,” says the draft report, which was written last year by v.p. student life and events Darren Cooney and former business student Judy Okten.
Okten, who was in her third year, and Cooney, who was a RyeSAC board member, weren’t able to compile their findings until April, near the end of the school year and after the last board meeting.
The report says its goal is to develop an understanding of student priorities. Cooney said the executive committee, which is made up of RyeSAC’s president and v.p.’s, reacted to the report with hostility when they were presented with it last April.
“People started questioning our techniques and what we found,” Cooney said Tuesday. RyeSAC president Odelia Bay, who was v.p. education last year, said there were problems with the make-up of students who attended the forums. “The numbers seemed to suggest that there were more students from some faculties,” she said. “The cross-section was a bit problematic.”
Statistics show that business and information technology management students were present at all four meetings while engineering students were represented at three of the meetings. Eight other programs were represented at the meetings including fashion, image arts and urban planning.
Cooney defended the findings and the way the data was collected though.
“We truly believed we got a cross section of students,” he said. But Cooney said business and engineering students “tended to be the most upset with RyeSAC.” Calling RyeSACers “freedom fighters,” the report said: “Students agree with the cause, but do not feel the ends justify the means.”
Another section calls RyeSAC a “guarded” and “bureaucratic organization.” Cooney said he and Okten “toned down some of the quotes.”
Other parts of the paper are less critical and recognized such RyeSAC services as the health plan, tax clinic and Copyrite. It advises RyeSAC to improve communication with students, course unions and student groups and to organize more events on campus and promote school spirit.
“Things that came up in this were not surprising at all,” Bay said. “We’re doing pretty well and students seem to tell us when there’s something they need or something they don’t like.”
“[Critiquing RyeSAC] is something you do day-to-day by talking [to students],” Bay said. “Not by a focus group.”