Amid recent financial scandals, there has been a lot of attention on the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), and a bigger spotlight on interim president Maklane deWever, to fix surfaced issues.
In a sit-down interview with the Ryersonian March 14, deWever talked about everything from budget cuts to students to advice for the union’s incoming president Vanessa Henry.
DeWever said that it hasn’t been easy “putting out fires” from the previous RSU executive team, but he has made it work. He also said there’s no guidebook for the job, but he is willing to provide support and assistance whenever needed for the new president, Vanessa Henry, and exec team.
When asked about budget cuts for the university and the opt-out option, deWever gave his rationale for why students should care about these changes.
“There was three things that happened [in the announcement a month ago]: Cuts to students’ tuition, which at face value looks good but … will be met with cuts to university funding; secondly, they announced cuts to the amount of grants that students will get, and thirdly was the ability for students to opt out of paying certain fees, such as the RSU fee,” said deWever.
He said that there are a lot of things to be concerned about, like the overhead and not just the clubs themselves.
“Student life as we know it at Ryerson … is about to change completely,” said deWever. “The reality is that things require money to do, and if we don’t have the money it will be harder for them to happen.”
The current president said that he is aware of students being concerned about financial mismanagement based on past issues with the RSU, which is why he is confident that the incoming team will be completely transparent with their finances. It is also something deWever has specifically tried to enforce since coming into the presidential role following the impeachment of former RSU president Ram Ganesh.
Even though the RSU has been under fire and asked a lot of tough questions, deWever has managed to keep a lighthearted perspective on the issues he is aiming to fix, as well as the abrupt transformation into president.
“There’s been a lot of fires to put out [and] it’s been crazy, I’ll be honest with you. But I’m just taking each day as it is,” deWever said. He added that while what happened was “terrible,” there’s an opportunity to take it and turn it into something to learn from for the future.
“I didn’t have a transition period, so [the new team] will have the benefit of knowing that they’re not going to just be thrown in,” deWever said. “I remember the day after the board chose me, someone messaged me in the morning and they were like, ‘Is the students’ union building open?’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know, don’t ask me,’ and then I was like, oh shit — I guess I’m president.”
Elections for the 2019-2020 student union at Ryerson ran from March 12 to 14, and campus political party Refresh had a sweeping win for the executive team.
As for his name not appearing on the ballots, he laughs and says “Thank God,” but he will be there to help the incoming team adjust.