RyeSAC executive and v.p.-elect ousted

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By Lori Fazari

Jason Power has resigned from his position as RyeSAC’s v.p. administration after the student council’s executive committee asked him to give up his job.

RyeSAC has also called for the resignation of Jennifer Long from her positions as board secretary and events commissioner, but Long said she refuses to resign. She was disqualified as v.p. administration-elect on Monday.

By-elections will be held April 14 to find another v.p. administration for the 1999-2000 school year, and Long said she plans to run again.

RyeSAC’s president David Steele drafted letters on behalf of the executive committee asking Power and Long to resign, which he presented to them Monday evening.

The call for the pair’s resignations comes after they vandalized candidates’ posters by drawing dildos and horns on them during RyeSAC’s executive elections in February, where fourth-year nutrition student Long ran for v.p. administration against second-year industrial engineering student Amirmakin Aziz.

In addition, Steele said RyeSAC has harboured concern for some time about Power’s handling of his duties as v.p. administration, including his professional conduct and over-spending of his budget.

Aziz lodged a complaint to the election procedures committee (EPC) because two of his friends, Vladimir Vasilko, RyeSAC’s v.p. development and finance, and Ivan Flores, witnessed the posters being defaced in South Kerr Hall. Long got 676 votes in the election, beating Aziz by 360 votes.

Once the EPC handed down its decision to disqualify Long on Monday, RyeSAC moved to deal with Power, who is in his final year of business management.

“[The executive committee] really felt that there can be no tolerance for this kind of action,” Steele said. RyeSAC’s executive committee includes the three vice-presidents, general manager John Fabrizio, communications and services manager Michael Durrant, student campus centre commissioner Elliot Salmons, residence director Shannon Shorey, and executive assistant Dennis Loney.

In a letter dated Tuesday and submitted to RyeSAC’s board, Power said he’s giving up his duties effective this Friday.

“When all my co-workers asked me to quit, what else can I do?” Power asked Tuesday before submitting his resignation to the board. “I think it’s clear that RyeSAC doesn’t want me around.”

RyeSAC accepted his resignation at Tuesday’s board meeting. “I think it’s the right thing for him to do,” Steele said.

He said the decision to ask for Power’s resignation involved more than just his doodling on election posters. “There are broader issues as well,” Steele said. “I think people have felt that we should have taken action before now.”

The v.p. administration’s duties involve overseeing course unions and student groups, organizing orientation, pub nights and other RyeSAC events.

“I think there’s a number of people that have concerns about Jason’s conduct,” Steele said.

Also, Fabrizio said Power exceeded his programming budget by $6,900, with RyeSAC having to make up the shortfall by relocating funds.

RyeSAC budgeted revenues of $42,000 and expenses of $81,000 for programming events, meaning there would be a subsidy of $39,000. But Power brought in $27,600 in revenue and spent $73,500, so revised financial statements for the nine months until Jan. 31 include a subsidy of $45,900, which is $6,900 greater than expected.

Power said since the executive committee wants him to resign, they have no choice but to ask Long as well, since they were both involved in the poster incident.

“They think Jen’s the best person for the job, but in order to get me they have to get her, which I think they feel bad about,” Power said.

But Long refuses to resign. “I fee confident of what I’ve done this year,” she said Tuesday night.

Long said her involvement in defacing posters was out of character and a minor incident that shouldn’t reflect on her time at RyeSAC. “I don’t think it had to come to this. I’m willing to make amends for what I did,” she said. “For that reason, I’m not going to resign.”

RyeSAC has rarely sought impeachment at the executive level. A bid to impeach Ryerson Students’ Union president Danielle Holmes in 1992 would have made her the first president to be impeached, but that motion failed at the board level.

RyeSAC’s bylaws state that to remove a board member, including an executive, from office, notice must be served at a regular meeting, then the board of directors must vote on the motion at their next board meeting, where a two-thirds majority is needed to impeach.

RyeSAC’s next scheduled meeting is April 7, right after their annual general meeting (AGM).

Power said he doesn’t need the stress of having the board vote on removing him, which is why he offered his resignation.

“To save this fine organization from having to go through the embarrassment of impeaching and removing me from office, I tender my resignation,” his letter states. “You should remember that you are students and that you should be having fun, in addition to gaining a well-rounded education, while you are enrolled here,” he wrote.

With Power and Long relieved of their duties, other RyeSAC members will have to fill in where they are needed until the new executive comes in May 1. “I have complete confidence that we can take over their duties and responsibilities,” Steele said.

“I’m very disappointed that our end of term is ending up like this,” he said. “For me as president, this is the worst thing that could have happened.”

Power said he is still positive about his time at RyeSAC. “It’s been a fun year.”

He said his actions during elections were to stir up the dry campaign. “What we did had no impact on elections, not at all,” he said. “I guess my brand of fun is too much for those fine people.”

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