A case of he said/he said

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By Suzanne Ma

Ryerson’s Formula SAE racing team may not get its car out of the garage if it doesn’t meet with RyeSAC — again.

Team member and aerospace engineering student Robert Szybalski said he submitted three funding proposals to RyeSAC Vice president of Student Life and Events Derek Isber this school year, but has yet to hear if his team will receive financial support from the student union.

“I just want to hear from him,” said Szybalski. “What’s happening with the proposal? Is the funding [RyeSAC] had for the team gone?”

Isber said RyeSAC is capable of giving more than the $6,000 they gave to last year’s team, which finished second among Canadian universities competing in an international race organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

However, Isber, who will be RyeSAC’s vice president of finances and services next year, says he hasn’t seen any proposals from the team.

This is news to Szybalski.

According to Szybalski, he met with Isber and gave him a financial proposal in October. In a follow-up meeting in November, Szybalski said Isber told him he had misplaced the proposal and asked for another copy. At that time, Szybalski claimed he provided Isber with two extra copies — in fact all RyeSAC executives — insists no one has met with Szybalski this year.

“I know I gave him the proposals,” said Szybalski. “I’m surprised because I know [Isber] has always supported the team.”

On the night of the RyeSAC election last month, Isber said he was committed to increasing funding towards the Formula SAE team.

“RyeSAC is here to provide quality services to students. I think this team is right up our alley,” Isber said. “The team is bringing the school prestige … this is something that benefits all out students because they’re giving our engineering department a name at an international competition.”

They may be improving Ryerson’s reputation, but that doesn’t mean the student union should keep giving the Formula SAE team money, said RyeSAC President Ken Marciniec.

“Last year, we made a one-time arrangement because they were not able to move forward because they didn’t have any funding. But I don’t think it’s fair for any group to come back year after year in the same position saying ‘we don’t have funding so bail us out,’” said Marciniec. “It’s actually the responsibility of the engineering department to fund them. That’s how it works at other schools.”

Earlier this year, RyeSAC decided all funding requests would go to the president first, but Marciniec said the system has not worked according to plan.

“We tried to establish something whereby if someone wanted to come and present a funding request they would go through my office, but I guess that’s just fallen apart,” he said.

The Formula SAE team is scheduled to race in May at the annual SAE Formula race in Michigan, but Szybalski said they won’t be ready to compete without another $20,000 in funding.

The team will continue to look for outside sponsorship to pay for the construction of the race car. It recently got $500 from Dana Manufacturing to pay for new parts. Szybalski says they will also continue to dig into their personal savings so the car will be ready in time to race.

— With files from Jen Garson

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