By Erin Valois
Two top Ryerson administrators are scrambling to find new jobs after a Student Services overhaul eliminated their positions on Oct. 16. With no notice, Maxine Laine, assistant director of Student Services, and Liz Devine, manager of student alumni partnerships, vacated their offices after spending more than ten years in the department.
Laine, second in command of one of the universitiy’s largest departments, and Devine, one of Ryerson’s most seasoned employees, were unavailable for comment.
President Sheldon Levy could not confirm if their silence was a condition of their severance package.
A Ryerson grad, Devine started at the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) in 1989. She worked in Student Services for 13 years and she was also the administrator of the women’s hockey team and the figure skating team.
Laine also worked in Student Services for years. Ryerson is unable to release the length of her employment because of confidentiality reasons.
Vice Provost Students Heather Lane Vetere is in charge of Student Services.
With Student Services director Marion Creery set to retire at the end of October, Lane Vetere is launching a new power structure at the department.
Lane Vetere said the employees were terminated because the new structure calls for the department to be divided into four or five different portfolios, each with a manager that reports directly to Lane Vetere — making the senior positions held by Devine and Laine unnecessary.
As for transferring Laine and Devine to a different job, Lane Vetere said there were no positions available at this time.
“We can’t add a whole bunch of new positions and keep what we have in place,” she said.
“I guess if there was unlimited money, everyone could have jobs but that’s not the way it is.”
Although both were long-time employees and the shift has been in the works for months, they were given no notice of their termination.
Lane Vetere said this is standard procedure when dealing with a major restructuring.
“It’s very difficult to tell a person they’re not going to have a job in two weeks and expect them to come back and work knowing that and it can be really difficult,” she said.
“It’s not a happy thing obviously but it’s the reality of life sometimes.”
David Steele, former president of RyeSac, worked with Devine when she ran the Career Centre.
“She was always an ardent advocate for students and a great resource on campus,” he said.
“I think the community will sorely miss her presence.”
Student Services was made up of three senior positions — the director, assistant director and manager of student alumni partnerships. Creery, Devine and Laine’s positions no longer exist because their responsibilities will be distributed among the portfolios. Lane Vetere maintained there is still no room for Devine and Laine within the new power allocation.
“These positions are also people who’ve been here, these aren’t positions that will be posted. These are people who already play some sort of role in those clusters and will take over responsibility,” she said.
“I’m just really trying to make the best use of the staff and financial resources here to make the best structure that will work for students.”
Lane Vetere could not confirm if more employees would lose their jobs during the switchover.