By Don McHoull
The chaotic situation that has befallen the student union at York University should give us all reasons to appreciate our own student union, RyeSAC.
For all its numerous flaws, RyeSAC has managed to avoid being caught up in the rip tide of Middle Eastern politics that has engulfed the student union at York.
RyeSAC may have pissed off some students by distancing itself from Irshad Manji’s lecture on human rights in Israel, but I think it was the right thing to do.
Rather than having a student union fixated on a bloody political conflict hallway around the world, I’m sure most students would rather see their elected representatives concentrate on doling out cheap metropasses, running popular events like Rye Idol, and lobbying against tuition increases.
York’s student union has been crippled as an outgoing administration refuses to give up power. The old administration are seen as favouring the Palestinian side, while the newly elected group, despite their avowed apolitical stance, has been backed by Jewish and Zionist groups.
The situation has come to a head over the issue of campaign spending, of all things. Three losing candidates complained that the victors in last November’s student union election had exceeded spending limits.
Even after a hearing found the over-spending charge to be baseless, the losers refused to concede.
Could the same thing happen at this year’s RyeSAC election?
From a news perspective, I hope so, but it seems unlikely.
Passions don’t just run as high at Ryerson as they do at other universities. Unlike students at Concordia or York, Ryerson students are able to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian situation without resorting to violence or spitting on each other.
Last year’s RyeSAC election got a bit ugly when campus activists dug up dirt on presidential candidate Dave MacLean, but at the end of the day things were pretty mild.
I just can’t see one side in a RyeSAC election refusing to concede defeat.
Hopefully, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won’t become the focus of this year’s RyeSAC election.
When it comes to campus issues, Arab and Jewish students have far more in common than they do dividing them. Both groups, I assume, want the same things — affordable tuition, well-run students services, and a quality health plan.
Basing student politics on the Middle Eastern conflict serves only to divide students needlessly.
Ryerson has spent a lot of money over the past few years trying to rebrand itself as a proper university and a leader for continuing education. But what do people really think of Ryerson? In an unscientific experience, I searched for the phrase “Ryerson is” in the search engine Google. Here are some of the results:
Ryerson is ranked sixth in the country for University accountability. Ryerson is on the rise, Ryerson is overlooked because it isn’t located in a high-growth location.
Ryerson is a short taxi ride from Union Train Station. Ryerson is looking out for further advancements for me.
Ryerson is pioneering. Ryerson is a gifted jazz floutist who brings a special, unique voice to the instrument.
Ryerson is the largest plate processing and fabrication facility in Mexico.
Ryerson is Canada’s leading centre of applied, professional education. Ryerson is enhanced by joining a fraternity. Ryerson is approximately 1 mile from the Marriott.
Ryerson is without an unloading boom. Ryerson is a fun, supportive place for everyone. Ryerson is home to several rare species, including the blue-spotted salamander.
Ryerson is always rick in sacred musical traditions, styles and genres. Ryerson is editor of the Indianapolis Star.
Ryerson is a hard driving Nu-Metal force to be reckoned with.