Wednesday, September 10, 2008

RSU infinitley increases P&P tickets: from zero to ten

The Eyeopener, Ryerson’s student weekly student paper, has come out with its first news issue of the year. In it, appear two stories of financial problems with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).

We first broke this story in our September issue, where we reported that the RSU Board of Directors hadn’t been able to pass its operating budget, because some directors weren’t showing up to vote on the matter. A similar story appears in the Eye. However, one issue that no one picked up on until now was that of the inflated cost increases of this year’s Parade and Picnic.

Luckily, the event was spared from the bad weather being dished out by the remnants of Hurricane Gustov. But despite this, attendance was much lower than in years past. It is normal to have well-over 2,000 students attend this event. This year, the Eye reports that less than half of that number attended.

To many, the lacklustre event--epitomized by Kardinal Offishall as headliner (didn’t he perform at the February 7 2006 student day of action for free? To compare, York had Talib Kweli play tonight for free)--was punctuated with more offensive moments like the 30 minute “booty shaking” contest. During this throw-back to less-sophisticated times, organizers had to awkwardly work the crowd to get much of a reaction from the confused observers.

Perhaps there is another reason that the 48th annual P&P seemed a little off this year: the advertised price to participate was an outrageous ten dollars. It is true that every year, students pay some amount to take the ferry. But last year, that was only two dollars, the rest was subsidized by the RSU. The University also donates tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize food. Last year, it was close to $35,000.

The justification for charging students ten dollars this year was increased costs for the P&P. Sid Naidu, the Vice-President who is in charge of this event, told the Eye: "Costs go up every year and that’s part of what students don’t see," he said. "Permits went up this year. We need street permits."


Did Kardinal Offishall charge more than the international sensation MIA last year? Did ferry tickets become more expensive? Isn’t the budget for the P&P already a massive line item for the RSU?

Inflationary excuses didn’t cut it when McGunity tried to justify cancelling the tuition fee freeze and they don’t cut it with Sid’s decision to jack up the prices of the P&P.

To many, the move to increase the cost of the P&P came off as a mere cash grab.

Let’s hope that this shift to right wing politics at the RSU, operationalized by the recent P&P, doesn’t continue to undermine the organization’s progressive history.

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