By Grant McDonald
Students are much closer to gaining control of the Student Campus Centre (SCC) after an operating agreement was signed by four out of five controlling groups on Monday.
These groups include Ryerson administration, Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), The Palin Foundation and Continuing Education Students Association (CESAR). The only unsigned group is Ryerson Centre. This signing means that an end to the RSU’s long fight for control of the centre is in sight. “It’s a victory for students in general because students are the ones who are feeling the biggest effect of this,” said RSU president Muhammad Ali Jabbar.
These effects can range from shorter lineups for metro passes to an easier time booking rooms in the centre, says Jabbar, adding that students will also have more direct input in the operations of the SCC. “Now students are feeling that this is their centre,” Jabbar said. The Palin Foundation was responsible for the SCC in the beginning because they were in charge of the adjoined Oakham House. In 1996, due to continuous financial loses,
The Palin Foundation entered a management agreement with the RSU to get more money, offering the RSU greater presence in return.
Two years ago, the RSU (then called RyeSAC) and CESAR agreed to a previous agreement but never got around to signing it. When the 2005/2006 slates came to office they demanded more control and the lengthy SCC battle began. Negotiations sped up last November when Palin Foundation Chair Ron Stagg was ousted by president Sheldon Levy. Jeremy Salter, president of the continuing education union (CESAR) who has worked closely on the agreement, explains that because of this change, The Palin Foundation will now operate under the brand of The Student Campus Centre.
Salter also said that The Palin Foundation would have to give the students the majority of votes because of the huge investment they make in the building. “Overall the biggest change will be a building that is truly representative and responsive to the people that paid for it. Students put in more than $1 million a year,” Salter said.
Ryerson president Sheldon Levy is pleased with the signed agreement. “I think that at the end of the day it’s a fair settlement, a fair agreement, the students have the level of responsibility and accountability that they wanted,” Levy said. Levy hopes the agreement will work for all parties in the long run. “I hope the contract gets on the shelf and never has to be looked at because that means the centre is really working. I trust the students to do that.”