By Joe Friesen
Just one week after suggesting he might seek a second term as RyeSAC president, Darren Cooney has decided not to run for reelection.
“I’m still passionate about RyeSAC and I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. But I’m not going to run again,” said Cooney.
Cooney made the decision after consulting his family and many friends and supporters throughout the university.
“It was never my goal to run for a second term as president,” said Cooney. “Right now, finishing my degree and trying to pay off my student debt are looming very large on the horizon.”
Cooney intends to complete the final semester of his journalism degree before moving on to a career in politics or the civil service.
Cooney’s presidency has been marred by the political infighting which forced the resignation of Vice-President Finance and Services Sajjad Wasti late last year.
Although he regrets that his administration could not achieve all it set out to, Cooney said that conflict among board members dominated his time in office.
“I wish we had done communications and conflict resolution training at the beginning of the year,” he said. “But other than that I have accomplished a lot of my goals.”
Board of Governors representative Alex Lisman said Cooney should be congratulated for what he has achieved on issues such as the TTC student fare reduction and the construction of the new student center.
“I think he’s done a really good job and he’s worked under conditions that were almost intolerable,” said Lisman.
But Cooney’s longtime political opponent, presidential candidate Dave MacLean, said Cooney has left a legacy of political discord.
“It’s the year the board fell apart, that’s definitely what I’m going to remember about this year,” said MacLean. “There was nothing but infighting all year round.”
Cooney’s withdrawal from the race has paved the way for Vice-President Education Ken Marciniec to challenge MacLean for RyeSAC’s top job.
Marciniec said he was planning to announce his candidacy once the nomination period opens next week, but he praised Cooney for the work he has done on behalf of Ryerson students.
Although his nomination is not yet official, Marciniec’s candidacy may come as a relief to those who fear a recurrence of this year’s council conflict.
“I’m hoping that someone will step up to the job of running against MacLean because he’s very divisive,” said Lisman. “MacLean is the worst thing that’s happened to RyeSAC in about four years, in my opinion.”
Cooney said he will be backing Ken Marciniec for president.