By Melissa Godsoe
Presidential candidate Dave MacLean said RyeSAC’s move last week to double the number of bursaries it gives out was an attempt to trap him.
RyeSAC’s Board of Directors voted in favour of a motion that incorporated both doubling the number of bursaries and injecting $5,000 into the freeze the fees campaign.
MacLean, a member of the board, said he is angry the two issues were lumped together into a single question. MacLean has been equally outspoken in his support for increasing bursaries and in his disapproval of RyeSAC’s involvement in protesting, and felt the joint motion was at attempt by the present executive to trap him into contradicting his platform.
He immediately put forth a motion to split the issue into two separate questions but the board decided against it. MacLean left the meeting before the original motion could be put to a vote.
“It was a trap. I would have gotten killed at a debate if I had voted yes for that,” he said. “I ended up getting killed because I walked out. But I still didn’t vote to put more money in the pot.”
RyeSAC President Darren Cooney said MacLean has little grounds for complaint.
“We had a motion to divide those two motions and the board was comfortable handling it as one motion,” he said. “That’s how democracy works. We vote on decisions and sometimes you get your way and sometimes you don’t and then you have to weigh the benefits and strengths.”
“I don’t think that contribution to freezing the fees is a significant reason to vote against doubling our bursary program,” he added. “What kind of student wouldn’t want to freeze the fees or work towards freezing the fees? I think that is absolutely absurd.”
Cooney was surprised that MacLean was opposed to putting money into the freeze the fees fund that now holds about $9,500. The fund is used to buy buttons, posters and to campaign against any increase in tuition. Any money left in the fund at the end of the year is carried over into the next budget.
On top of the 15 bursaries RyeSAC doled out, it will distribute an additional 15 to students who applied last semester and another 30 to students who apply this semester. The money to fund the bursaries and freeze the fees comes from the health plan switch that resulted in a surplus last September.
MacLean is promising to offer students up to 400 bursaries if he is elected RyeSAC president. Cooney however does not believe that is an option for RyeSAC.
“I think students at Ryerson are sophisticated enough to realize that we can provide a Band-Aid solution for now but if we don’t address the long-term problems, it will only get worse,” he said. “We can continue to expand our bursary program to meet students’ needs, but eventually it’s going to eat up our entire budget.”