By Grant McDonald
Sports and Recreation needs more money, and Dave Dubois has to find it.
Dubois, program director of Ryerson Sports and Recreation, felt a “No” campaign headed by recently elected RyeSAC executives misinformed the students during last semester RAC referendum. He said he’ll make sure students know the issues the next time around. “We will not need to ask for as much as last time,” said Dubois. “We have to make sure this is what students want.”
Last semester’s referendum asked students if they were in favour of raising mandatory athletics fees to $133. Nearly two thirds of the 2,638 student voters turned down the proposal, leaving Sports and Recreation strapped for cash.
“The university is way too fast to (make) students pay,” said Nora Loreto, RyeSAC’s vice-president-elect of Education. Loreto, a RAC user and “No” activist. She still opposes forcing students to pay for something they do not use. “It’s part of a bigger problem,” she said. “We have so much more stuff at this school that we need money for.”
Dubois’s angle is that by creating an all-inclusive RAC, the university community will be healthier and less stressed. “We are looking at a whole new spin on it because we need to fulfill the leisure time,” said Dubois, who is looking at incorporating more recreation activities such as card and board games into the department.
“It not only builds a healthier community, but a closer community.” Athletes say the fees will serve teams and students alike. “It will not only help athletes, it will also help the RAC,” said volleyballer Roger Marszalek. “It’s not that much money.”
Rebecca Rose, RyeSAC’s president-elect, agrees that funding is critical. “I definitely believe that athletics need to be funded,” Rose said. However, she said the solution can’t come from just students or fundraising.
Loreto said the lack of alternative funding pursued by Dubois prompted her involvement in the “No” campaign. “I’d like to see some alternatives, I’d like to see the RAC working with RyeSAC,” she said. “There are so many more alternatives.” Rose agreed, saying the $133 means a lot to students. “There are a lot of commuters that cannot afford a fee hike,” said Rose.
Dubois said that Sports and Recreation cannot continue under the current system. If Sports and Recreation doesn’t get more funding through either a successful referendum, a RyeSAC initiative or increased government funding, major programming changes are in store. Dubois said he would consider cutting RAC hours, limiting services, or even cutting a varsity team.
Dubois said the current system can’t give students the services they need. “We’re just not doing a good job,” he said.