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By Joel Wass


At first glance, RyeSAC President Dave MacLean and I have a lot in common. We’re both white males. We’re both in our fifth year of university and proud of it. We both grew up north of Toronto. And both of us are arguably overpaid to do a job that we’d probably do for free.

The similarities end there. At best, we don’t trust each other. At worst, MacLean and I don’t like one another. Our first conversation occurred when MacLean ran for RyeSAC president two years ago. I was interviewing him about a supposed 10 per cent Government of Canada savings bond he’d discovered.

He promised, if elected, to invest $2 million of RyeSAC’s money that was currently being kept in multiple bank accounts, into the alleged bond. He’d then, if elected, use the bond’s annual interest to create an additional 400 student bursaries. Although several financial experts had already informed me that no such savings bond existed, I acted naive during the interview so that I could get better quotes from MacLean.

And while it may be giving myself too much credit by saying my story-Bond plan is junk, experts say-cost MacLean the 2003 election, it’s fair to say the article hurt his credibility as an honest candidate.

Our relationship blossomed from there. That said, I’m siding with MacLean on an issue that more than 800 voters on The Eyeopener’s very unofficial online poll have sided against: He should be given free room and board in residence.

Vice President Student Life and Events Cristina Ribeiro should get free accommodations, too, but I’m not going to mention her again because, let’s face it, MacLean is the one everybody is fussing about.

One argument for having executives live in residence is that it makes their RyeSAC positions a 24-hour job. Including his accommodation, MacLean gets paid roughly $35,000 this year.

If he’s on-call 24 hours a day for a year that means MacLean makes just under $4 an hour, $3.15 below minimum wage. Now sure, my math is about as scientific as our on-line poll.

Still, it’s hard to argue MacLean doesn’t deserve a few perks if he is supposedly always on duty. Besides, those who think MacLean has a sweet deal by living in residence for free are people who have never lived on their own outside of rez.

As president, MacLean not only has the unenviable task of keeping his staff and Ryerson students happy, he also has to answer hot-button questions about if he supports transgendered washrooms-it’s no abortion debate, but I’m definitely glad I don’t have to give my two cents on that touchy subject.

And if MacLean’s floor in rez is anything like the floor I lived on, he goes home to stories that begin with: “So and so made out with so and so,” and end with: “Now so and so is crying and so and so’s girlfriend is pissed.”

The only way MacLean could surround himself with more trivial drama by both working at RyeSAC and living in rez, is if he worked at the Peach Pit and lived in The O.C.

Don’t get me wrong, living in rez at 18 or 19 is great-I know, I’ve done it. I just can’t imagine being 23 and having to abide by rez rules, which include policies against everything from lighting candles to lighting up bongs.

But that’s where MacLean and I differ again: He seems to not mind living in residence. “I enjoy it…I can wake up at 7:40 and be at a meeting for eight o’clock,” says MacLean.

I honestly don’t know how he tolerates rez life, but the fact MacLean and I don’t see eye-to-eye is par for the course.

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