Darren Cooney celebrates with friends and beer after being voted RyeSAC president for next year.

Photo: Emily Bowers

Cooney victorious in RyeSAC election romp

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By Don McHoull

When he heard the cheering, Alex Lisman knew it was over.

Lisman wasn’t in the room when the RyeSAC election results were announced, but even from the lobby of Oakham House he could hear the jubilant shouts of Darren Cooney supporters coming up from the Ram in the Rye.

As Lisman returned to the room, a shocked Cooney was already on the phone, calling to tell his mother that he had just been elected president of RyeSAC.

“It’s close, so close, but I got it,” he told her over the bar-room din.

In the end it wasn’t that close, as the two largest programs on campus gave Cooney the votes he needed to came out ahead of Lisman 562 to 342.

Support for Cooney in the business building was overwhelming, with 78 per cent of voters picking him for president. Engineering students also heavily favoured Cooney, with 72 per cent of voters supporting him at the East Kerr Hall poll.

“I do feel glad about the high turnout in the engineering wing and the business building, which traditionally don’t have a lot of involvement, and there’s been some animosity between them and RyeSAC,” said Cooney. “We included some faculties and some programs that traditionally don’t vote a lot, and they actually boosted my support and helped me win.”

Lisman said he had been expecting to lose the election.

“I had a feeling right from the beginning that I wasn’t going to make it, because my heart hasn’t been in it, my dedication hasn’t been there,” he said. “I’m an activist been there,” he said. “I’m an activist, not a politician.”

Although upbeat in face of defeat, Lisman couldn’t hide a bit of disappointment at the students who had rejected him as being too left wing.

“Let’s look at the students who may not have voted for me, for ideological reasons — business and engineering — because that’s what I’m looking at in terms of the numbers there,” he said. “The fact is those are the students who are going to be impacted by deregulation. If they don’t want someone to fight deregulation, if they want to pay more for tuition and get less, that’s their choice.”

Cooney said that he didn’t see his victory as a rejection of RyeSAC activism.

“Obviously we’re going to continue fighting against deregulation and the cuts, that’s not something that RyeSAC will ever give up on, at least while I’m around I hope.”

As he waited for the final vote tally to be announced, Sajjad Wasti acted more like an expecting father than a soon-to-be v.p. finance and services. While his opposition drank pitchers downstairs in the Rams in the Rye, Wasti was three floors up, pacing back and forth outside the room where the votes were being counted.

“I was going crazy,” said Wasti, who trailed early on to Vishal Darji, a man he accused a few days ago of running an unfair campaign.

Darji chose only to spend $9 of the allotted of $200 campaign allowance.

“Just get your friends to vote and you ultimately stand a chance,” said Darji, who came in third with 202 votes. “It’s pretty funny. It’s somewhat of a joke.”

Wasti, an international student from Pakistan, edged Donald Kaye.

Kaye finished with 283 votes to Wasti’s 320 votes.

Crystal Adair received 152 more votes than her sole opponent for v.p. student life.

“RyeSAC’s going to be the same crap next year,” said a defeated Bruce Jolly. “I don’t hate RyeSAC, I just want to make it better. That’s why I ran.”

Adair, who was in tears when the final polls came to a close, immediately called her parents.

“I’m just so shocked right now,” she said, wiping tears out of her already red eyes.

Ken Marciniec, RyeSAC’s current v.p. finance and services, was acclaimed for the position of v.p. education next year.

RyeSAC elections 2002

RyeSAC’s executive for next year. From left: Darren Cooney, president, Crystal Adair, v.p. student life and events, Ken Marciniec, v.p. education, Sajjad Wasti, v.p. finance and services.

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