By Matt Kwong
RyeSAC could lose about $250,000 to the Student Campus Centre once the new building is up and running.
Under the current contract for the student centre, annual profits from Oakham House will no longer be going exclusively to RyeSAC-as has been the norm for six years. Instead, that revenue will be channelled into running the student centre.
“My concern is that RyeSAC [would be] losing a good chunk from the operating budget,” said Derek Isber, vice president finance and services.
RyeSAC had a majority voice on Oakham House’s management board (with student representatives occupying five out of nine seats on the board).
“That’s why we always say RyeSAC owns’ the pub…But now that’s all changed,” Isber said.
According to Isber, the problem is largely due to the structure of the new student centre’s management board. As it stands, there is no longer a RyeSAC majority on that board and representation is now down to four out of nine seats.
Along with the four RyeSAC reps, the board also has two university reps (one administrator and one faculty member), two CESAR representatives and one alumnus. “That translates to lost revenue,” Isber said. “Students are paying for this building and I think students need a majority there.”
RyeSAC President Dave MacLean said the proposed management committee should please all involved. “I’m confident in the seats we have,” he said. MacLean’s main concern is the potential loss of thousands in Oakham revenue.
“That money won’t be able to be going to things like events, but rather the maintenance of the building.”
Oakham House’s financial history with RyeSAC started in the ’90s when the pub – which was run by the Palin Foundation – suffered poor business. RyeSAC intervened by agreeing to absorb any debt incurred by Oakham, and in 1998 Oakham House signed a contract to give all of its profits to RyeSAC.
Currently, the Palin Foundation management board operates Oakham House. By the time the student centre is complete, however, Oakham House and the centre will be the same building.
The solution was to adapt the current Oakham House management committee for the student centre, explained RyeSAC general manager Rob Emerson.
“The way it’s structured with our current agreement with Oakham House made us solely responsible for the losses incurred,” he said. “Therefore, we received a majority share on the management committee.”
Emerson added that the proposed management board came out of years of negotiations, and that it may be too late to appeal for a RyeSAC majority now. Ron Stagg, Chair of the Palin Foundation, argued that any Oakham House profits would still be going to students.
“The money is going to the successful running of that building; it’s just not going to be channelled through RyeSAC,” he said. “Everything will be going to the centre, so students will not be losing out.”