By Charles Vanegas
UR Vision swept last week’s Board of Governors’ (BOG) election, completely shutting out Students First candidates — many of whom have also served as Students United candidates in February’s student union elections.
The BOG is primarily responsible for the finances of the university.
Gerald Mak, Angelo Pirosz and Stephen Kassim received 680, 633 and 495 votes respectively, to beat out notables such as recently elected Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) vice-president (VP) operations Andrew McAllister and current RSU VP education Melissa Palermo.
Kassim, a fourth-year politics student, said his team had been preparing for this election since November. He credits the victory to their readiness for the campaign, but also to their decision to run as a slate.
“I ran for the senate in my second year as an independent. If you’re [running] by yourself — especially if it’s your first time — unfortunately you don’t really have a chance to win,” he said. “One of our strengths was that Gerald, Angelo and I had all lost our first elections. It gives you a better perspective — like if you want it, you need to step your game up.”
Mak, Pirosz and Kassim will join Ryerson’s 24-member BOG, which in addition to its three student-elected members, is comprised of faculty, administrative staff members, alumni, Chancellor G. Raymond Chang and President Sheldon Levy.
Swedha Ezhil, a third-year social work student, says she is pleased that UR Vision kept RSU leaders off the Board.
“I’m not too happy about [RSU leaders being able to run]. I understand that they want to get involved, but at the same time I’m not too comfortable with the idea that RSU people have their influences everywhere. I believe there needs to be a balance.”
Despite being shut out of the BOG, Palermo believes that the students have the right to vote for whichever candidate they feel is best suited for the job, and is confident that the student union will be able to work with the newly elected members on a number of pressing student issues including rising student fees.
With that being said, RSU candidates had greater success being elected to the Senate, which is responsible for making academic policies and governing the BOG.
RSU president-elect Rodney Diverlus and current VP Student Life and Events Alyssa Williams received the most votes amongst at-large (those not running to represent their particular faculty) candidates, and were elected alongside UR Vision candidate Marwa Yahya and Danielle Brogan, the next two highest vote getters.
Unlike RSU elections, all Ryerson students — including Graduate and Chang School — are eligible to vote for the Senate and Board of Governors.
However, this didn’t deter voter apathy. The 1,500 students who voted accounted for only 4.2 per cent of the student population.
Dan Savery, a third-year mechanical engineering student, said he didn’t vote because he has other concerns.
“The things everyone argues for aren’t very significant when it comes to the real world,” he said. “I’m too busy with my education, and secondly, I don’t know who these people are, nor do I have time to listen to what they’re all about.”