by Dominique Blain
Last Thursday night I sat in class in the Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre and waited.
I waited for the CESAR cronies I knew were coming.
Two days earlier, when Jeremy Salter, president of CESAR, admitted to the Eyeopener that his first priority “has always been Centennial,” he also mentioned that CESAR employees were hitting upwards of 90 per cent of all continuing education classes to educate students about services they offered, the Coca-Cola campaign and CFS.
He didn’t mention it at the time, but I felt fairly confident that the “Save Student Space!” campaign might come up.
Sure enough, two young ladies interrupted our class to go through their song and dance. I took notes. CESAR services, check. Coca-Cola campaign, check. CFS, check.
Save Student Space — wait a second. I couldn’t help myself. I had to speak up. I apologized for interrupting and said that I couldn’t in good conscience sit silently as they spread their propaganda, not to mention their petition. I felt the bodies in the room go tense, uneasy with the impending conflict. Still, I continued and countered every single point the girls had made that evening. The poor CESAR employees were clearly uninformed — they got so unnerved by their lack of understanding of their own petition that I thought they were going to cry. It’s horrible to find out you’re being used.
While I support the spirit of the title of the campaign — “Save Student Space!” complete with an exclamation mark! — it is clear to anyone following meeting after countless meeting that all steps taken by elected student officials have been counterproductive to that aim. If those execs had followed the flow of bureaucracy that 10 years’ worth of students, student unions and academic councils had created in conjunction with the rest of the Ryerson community, the Student Campus Centre building would be directed by the Student Campus Centre committees, every single one of which providing student representatives with a majority of votes.
Get that? A majority of votes. It’s odd to me how point one of the petition demands “a managing majority to student representatives” when that majority would have existed since May 1 had they not interrupted the morphing of the Palin Foundation into the SCC committee.
Under the Palin Foundation’s direction, student union reps only hold two of the seven votes. Which means they have managed to secure their minority. Way to go, student representatives. So glad to hear you’re working hard to keep digging a deeper hole.
This is just one point I vocalized rapidly in a setting where all people present understood nothing of the conflict. To be sure, students were shaking their heads in confusion and I even heard one woman say “I have no idea what anyone is talking about.”
Imagine my shock and dismay when I saw that same woman signing the petition. Without reading it.
You may not believe my understanding of the events, but shouldn’t you at least investigate what a petition purports before signing it?
Still, that single woman’s action allow me to affirm the following: any petition concerning the SCC should be ignored. Although petitions may have at some point held credibility as a barometer for public sentiment, overwhelming peer pressure will apparently make you sign anything. Moreover, the SCC debacle and the issues debated are too complicated to be reduced to 10 lines on a petition sheet.
This petition should hold zero credibility with any official.