NightViews Editorial Staff
Thank you and goodbye to all our loyal readers (all four of you). After the unfair dismissal of two colleagues, the entire editorial and photographic staff of NightViews has decided to resign.
The CESAR board has made it clear that they intend to implement some “formal procedures,” including the recent dismissal of our layout editor because she did not have a contract (rather than offering her a contract). This follows the temporary suspension of our senior editor, from which he never returned.
A reason for dismissal was not given in the letter received by the layout editor. The board would not discuss the matter during their board meeting, at which the majority of the NightViews staff was in attendance. This is because as staff members, we are not privy to information regarding other staff.
The Background: After the publication of the “Election Scandal” story, allegations were made against our senior editor Mark Bassant (who wrote the story) by the news editor, Patrick Purcell, who then left the city for work-related reasons.
The claim concerned the accuracy of the story, and put forth the possibility of conflict of interest. Consequently, an investigation was launched, which never came up with conclusive results.
Mark Bassant was banned from the building for almost two months, until NightViews informally discovered, from the former senior editor himself, that he would no longer be returning (the board never made a formal comment on the matter regarding the investigation). His contract was based on a verbal agreement.
With no senior or news editors, CESAR president Jeremy Salter then approached the skeleton staff to propose autonomy. While funds and some limited support were technically offered, we still faced a daunting task with no one leading our organization.
We were asked to find our own lawyer, make our own budget, hire support staff, and become incorporated etc. As students, we were unsure of how long we would be able to keep our commitment to NightViews throughout the process of incorporation.
Our layout editor’s position was terminated: “We would like to thank you for filling in and looking after the layouts on an on-call basis.” She worked long hours for two years.
She was replaced by an administrative assistant who was recently hired. The position was never formally advertised in NightViews or posted outside of the CESAR office.
Furthermore, no review of our layout editor’s work was offered nor was there a performance evaluation or dialogue with the Personnel Committee, which deals with CESAR staffing.
The letter read, “Upon the completion of the current issue of NightViews we will no longer require your services” — no two-week notice (time or pay) given.
Of the three-person Personnel Committee, which deals with CESAR staffing, two members, Jeremy Salter and Darcy Flynn – Executive Director, were either in a meeting or on holidays (respectively) when the editor was given her dismissal notice.
Perhaps all this was done within what the board considers a proper legal framework, as few if any of us had formal contracts, but by principle, without notice or consultation, the CESAR office in conjunction with the NightViews staff has become an uncomfortable and hostile environment that puts students second and bureaucracy first.
We have decided to leave as a group to show that we support our unfairly dismissed colleagues, and because we will only work in an environment that values trust, honesty and fair dealing.
In the future, please look for this newspaper, or its replacement. Should you not find a replacement of similar quality, then think about the monies that CESAR allocates to the paper from the fees you pay.
If there is no CE paper, there is no place to voice the collective concerns of the CE students, and ultimately the Ryerson population.
Thank you to all the writers who have contributed over the years and especially to our readers. Your dedication will be missed.