by Sonja Puzic
Jeremy Salter, president of the Continuing Education Students’ Association at Ryerson (CESAR) is multitasking this semester as he prepares to run for the executive vice-president position at Centennial College Student Association (CCSAI).
While some may question his divided loyalty, Salter said his presidency at Ryerson remains uncompromised even though his priority “has always been Centennial.”
“I’m a Centennial College student, that’s not a secret,” Salter said. “I loved working there last year (as a board member of the students’ association).”
CCSAI President William James was the first person to confirm Salter’s candidacy for the executive position, which is not officially open yet.
Salter said he is only required to work 10 hours per week as CESAR president and has no problem juggling full-time studies at Centennial, a position on the college’s student association executive and CESAR’s executive, as well as a continuing education class at Ryerson.
“I’m pretty good with time management and we have a good team here and a good team at Centennial to get the work done, so it’s never been an issue,” Salter said. “There is a strong executive team (at CESAR) that can definitely pick up the slack if I cannot make it in on a certain day.”
However, a former CESAR president and board member, Vaughn Berkeley, said he was “shocked and disappointed” to hear that Salter may be part of another student union’s executive team.
“CESAR was always a family organization and I have never seen anything like this happen,” he said. “I’m really at a loss for words. I feel betrayed and I think CESAR students would too.”
Berkeley left CESAR’s Board of Directors in April after serving six years. He was president of CESAR in 2003/2004.
There is no bylaw in place preventing a CESAR executive from assuming an acting position in another student union or association.
“For the same reason we would not keep anyone away from United Way or being active in their church. It’s not like we’re talking about two corporate entities that are competing and risking sharing trade secrets,” said Salter.
Salter said his CESAR colleagues are not concerned about his potential involvement with CCSAI.
He said there would be no conflict of interest, but if CESAR students had a problem with his juggling act, he would “sit down and discuss it.”
Salter said he doesn’t think his interest in the CCSAI is a big deal and that he would rather focus on the “good work” he and his colleagues at CESAR have done over the summer for Ryerson’s part-time students.
Under Salter, CESAR has also taken out a one-year trial membership with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a move that surprised Berkeley.
“It’s never been the philosophy of CESAR to join an organization like the CFS,” Berkely said. “CESAR always wanted to be autonomous.”
Salter said the final decision on CFS membership will be up to the students. “We will have a referendum and if students don’t want (CFS), we won’t join,” he said.