By Maurice Cacho
Foundation chair asked by president to leave, had worked to build Student Campus Centre for over 15 years.
The chair of the Palin Foundation has been “replaced” under pressure from the university’s president, according to the man who left his post yesterday.
The Palin Foundation is responsible for creating social and community space on campus for students, staff and faculty. The move is part of an on-going struggle between Palin, the university, Ryerson Centre and the student unions over control of Gould Street’s Student Campus Centre.
Former chair Ron Stagg said he wanted an operating agreement to be signed before he left his post. The agreement would clarify management decision-making between the tenants of the SCC.
“It was never intended that I would stay on forever,” he said. “The idea was that once the agreement was signed, I could retire.”
Stagg said Ryerson Centre President Liz Devine may also have been asked to leave.
Liz Devine could not be reached for comment as she is on a professional leave of absence.
“We don’t want to (leave). We feel it would be selling out to some groups.”
Those groups include the RSU, CESAR, Palin and Ryerson Centre.
“We didn’t step down, we were replaced,” he said.
“But this project has meant a lot to me.”
Stagg, the current history department chair, has been an active member with Palin since 1990. He became the group’s chair in 1993 and was not re-appointed to the position when his term ended Tuesday.
Stagg said he thinks the school’s president is looking to replace him with someone who can “break the deadlock” in negotiations.
“The president feels that some new people may be able to come up with an agreement,” he said.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said Stagg has done a good service to the group, and that both himself and Stagg had discussed the decision beforehand.
Levy also said they are “very close” to signing the operating agreement.
Negotiations were supposed to have been finished in May, said RSU President Mohammad Ali Jabbar.
He said he was surprised to hear that Stagg was not re-appointed by Levy for another term.
“My feeling was that it got to be personal,” he said.
“But since we have new people here in RSU, we’re hoping that we can start something new. Hopefully we can get an operating agreement.”
He said Levy and Vice-President Administration and Student Affairs Linda Grayson have been helpful in getting the RSU a member services office.
Stagg wishes his sucessor “good luck” in trying to get the operating agreement signed.
“I just hope that it works out in a way that is good for the students and the staff at the Student Campus Centre,” he said.