By Jacob Scheier
A campus activist group was rejected as an Oakham House society because of its close ties to the student government, said one of the society reps who voted against it.
“The relationship between the Canadian Federation of Students, RyeSAC and RyeACT is very unclear,” said Winston Lau, vice-president of the Adventure Society.
Lau said there was concern about whether RyeACT could survive in the long term if the political climate on campus shifted.
“With the changing executive, as every year political views change, can RyeACT adapt and del with that?” he asked. “Will they exist in a year? In three years?”
there are five existing Oakham Societies: Adventure Society, Gourmet Food and Drink Society, The White Wall Review, The Oakham House Choir and McClung’s magazine. Four of the five societies voted against admitting RyeACT as a society in a secret ballot election on Sept. 30.
RyeACT was not given a reason for the decision, and had to wait until last week to learn why they had been turned down.
RyeACT co-ordinator Alex Lisman expressed disappointment at the reasons given for his group’s rejection.
“I got a sense that they’re basing their views on distorted views of activists,” he said.
The rejection of RyeACT was not unusual, said Angela Green, president of the Gourmet Food and Drink Society.
“Student groups do get turned down because they don’t meet criteria. It’s hard on people who work to have a presentation and see it recognized, but sometimes it happens that way,” she said, noting that an application for a dance society had also recently been rejected.
Greene did not want to disclose her vote, but thought one of the major reasons for the RyeACT’s rejection was that Oakham societies are more activity-based rather than belief driven like RyeACT, which might alienate other societies.
Lisman dismissed the concern that the group’s political beliefs might single out members from other societies, saying that McClung’s magazine has a feminist view point, which could also alienate people.
“We need to apply standards equally. If we don’t want to alienate anyone, we shouldn’t have societies at all that promote any ideas or activities,” he said.
Campus Groups administrator Leatrice Spevack said one of the reason for the rejection was that there was too much duplication of services between RyeACT and RyeSAC in things such as putting up tuition freeze posters on campus.
She also said there were issues about who group members would be accountable to.
“Primarily there was juts a concern about the structure of the group,” she said.