The stepping down of their president, the rearrangement of their executive and the recently passed by-laws all mean big changes for CESAR. News Editor Rebecca Burton reports
Instead of calling out for a new president, the Continuing Education Students’ Association at Ryerson (CESAR) is seeking a political mass.
Bright green posters were hung throughout the Student Campus Centre (SCC) this past week and the blank faces adorning them represent the spaces available within their new alignment.
After a new set of by-laws were passed last November, the current executive and board members are slowly dissolving, while CESAR transitions into a political membership and five-person board.
The new model will allow any member of the Raymond G. Chang school to participate, compared to just one member of each class as was previously allowed.
A political membership will only be defined by the requirement that a member has attended at least two meetings.
“We felt the previous model wasn’t sufficiently democratic,” said Jason Harman, director of membership and communication at CESAR.
The new chairperson will have the most authority, but every member will have a vote and decisions will be made by consensus.
The organization is currently without their last president Dominic Wong, who recently stepped down.
Wong spoke about the organization’s existing deficits from the past couple of years and the immediate effort to curb overspending this past November.
Specific reasons for his departure are still unconfirmed. According to Harman, it simply had to do with the amount of time Wong was putting in.
“Dominic deserves a lot of credit. He rewrote the by-laws, spent 40 hour weeks here compared to the mandatory 20-hour-week,” said Harman.
“I knew it was coming, he was overworked. He had always intended to work until April.”
Wong indicated that he would prefer not to state the reason for his departure and that he “should leave it up to the current executive to explain his leave.”
Compared to last year’s audit, Harman says they do have spending under control now and he is happy to report that they should be breaking even this year.
“Everyone has taken a bit of a hit,” he said.
CESAR has downsized their full-time staff to four individuals and has cut back the part-time hires they assign to do classroom outreach programs. They have also significantly cut back on campaigns and services.
“We wanted to cut down so we weren’t so dependent on the boom and bust,” said Harman.
No names were given in affiliation with past money issues, but Harman accounted a lot of it towards CESAR’s intense growth while member numbers dropped once full-time student fees were excluded from their budget.
CESAR will host their first political membership meeting on Feb. 8.