By Cliff Lee
Residents in Pitman Hall will be getting more familiar with their student council this year.
Starting in September, two RyeSAC executives will be moving in along with frosh and staff – for free.
On July 28, a board of directors’ meeting approved recommendations to provide residence space to RyeSAC President Dave MacLean and Cristina Ribeiro, the vice president student life and events. The ad hoc report said this would provide “an excellent opportunity to connect RyeSAC and the first-year students living in residence.”
As a result, RyeSAC is covering the full cost for two rooms. The report also said “that an appropriate housing allowance should be provided for those executive members not living in residence.”
Vice President Finance and Services Derek Isber and Vice President Education Rebecca Rose will receive 65 per cent of residence fees towards their own cost of living.
RyeSAC will pay $25,529 to house all four executives, with most of that money coming from the group’s $1.1 million contingency fund. Simon Rossiter, chair of the committee that presented the recommendations, hopes that having executives in residence will open them up to the community.
“We felt that it was relatively insignificant as to if we could afford it, if we’re finding the value we’re getting from it is visible,” he said. The RyeSAC executive abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.
MacLean said rooming in Pitman Hall will allow him and his fellow executives to fully focus on jobs, instead of worrying about money. “There’s a high cost of living in Toronto,” he said. “The executives in the past have been forced to take multiple jobs because they’re not full-time students anymore.”
In July, MacLean said he worked a 60-hour week for RyeSAC. On top of that, he spent another 14 hours a week at a second job to pay the bills. During May and June “every Tuesday, I had to work [another job] from 2 to 10 p.m.,” he said. “I had to leave to go to work even when there was stuff to be done here.”
MacLean said he’ll also live closer to the office. “There was one day I worked a 26-hour day, an all nighter. Cristina did the same all nighter and stayed even longer,” he said.
MacLean’s salary for this year is $26,244. Once the cost of an expense account and residence is factored in, his salary matches the $35,000 Mount Royal College in Alberta pays its executives.
“From an examination of other schools in terms of salary, we sat in the middle of the pack,” MacLean said. “The rationale [for the subsidy] was to cover cost of living in Toronto.”