Part-time students, part-time democracy

In Editorial /

By Lauren Strapagiel
Editor-In-Chief 

Something is rotten at CESAR.

We skimmed the surface when we revealed that the Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson had faced four resignations in one month. We found accusations and evidence of harassment and conflicts of interest.

Now this gem of a students’ union is entering election season and it’s shaping up to be a doozy.

Of CESAR’s 16,000 members, only a handful are even eligible to vote. To run or vote in the election, you’d need to have attended at least two political meetings. There’s only been three so far. And when your membership consists of people who are more likely than undergrads to have full-time jobs and families to worry about, that’s a problem.

Not to mention that the very people paying fees that support the union and pay the salaries of these positions are being left out of choosing who gets to hold them.

It’s not a problem for the current board of directors though if they’re trying to hold onto their positions. It’s easy to make it to meetings that you set yourself.

The Ryerson Students’ Union race was one-sided, but at least participation was guaranteed.

Comments

  1. OMG!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS!!!!!!!! ITS SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  2. CESAR is a local of the CFS. Why aren’t they stepping in to help, I mean, they surely stepped in to take they’re cut of the fees and now leave Rye students screwed! Shame!

  3. I plead that the Eyeopener do some investigating into this mess! I’m sure the dirty laundy will come out …

  4. WE NEED TO DEMAND FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD THAT ARE SCREWING UP CESAR!

    WE NEED TO DEMAND FOR A BY-LAW AUDIT AND ORGANIZATIONAL INVESTIGATION AT CESAR!

    WE NEED TO DEMAND FOR A FAIR ELECTION SYSTEM!

    CESAR NEEDS TO CHANGE NOW!

    CESAR NEEDS ITS HOUSE CLEANED UP!

    CESAR NEEDS TO GIVE BACK POWER TO ITS MEMBERS!

  5. I have no idea who you are Leona, but you are totally right.
    Your petition is great, but it needs to get out there.
    I think that if you’re a political member you should have access to member information, since the current board has been using that information to canvass for re-election.
    It might also be interesting to note on your petition that at the most recent finance meeting, they decided to spend thousands of dollars for new computers and office chairs and an ipad for their office.
    None of that money is going to students.
    I will definitely sign the petition, but maybe the university needs to get involved. After all, this is their students money.

    1. It might also be interesting to note that the former President and former VP Finance were the two that worked on changing this bylaw without consultation with members or lawyers.

  6. The cesar election is undemocratic. only 40 people can actually vote, and only 20 can run in the elction out of 16,000 members. (out of the twenty, nine of them are board members.)

  7. There are 500 eligible class reps, but their right to vote and run were taken away without proper notice or information given. Compare 500 eligible class reps who can run and vote versus the 20 eligible political members. How is this supposed to be empowering?

    The CESAR members have a right to access Board of Directors meetings and minutes but are being denied, barred, or lied to and told that they cannot have access.

    There’s been more then several impeachments and resignations within the past 3 months.

    Members are being investigated on whether or not they are able to vote or considered CESAR members.

    I agree there is definitely something weird going on … btw. whatever happened to the OCCUPY movement? Why not all PT and CONED students #Occupy CESAR?!!

  8. There actually have not been any impeachments in the following few months – but there have been 5 resignations from the board and evidence of harassment with the current board.

  9. RB – there has been more then several impeachment attempts in the last few months. I encourage you and everyone to ask for Board of Directors minutes. You`ll see.

  10. Hi MC,

    I have reviewed the minutes – while there have been “attempts” there have been no successful impeachments, which is what I was trying to say.
    The more important factor at least to me is the charges against the current board, as well as the obvious harassment and intimidation that is clear in the minutes.

  11. RB, you should attend the April 4th AGM and everyone should go too. Some questions need to be answered…. do you think that a new board of directors need to be elected in? out with the old and in with the new?

  12. I think that the current board needs to be impeached.
    That CESAR should just join with the RSU so part time students can actually get benefits.

    But none of that will happen at this meeting – really, what’s the point.

  13. All Part-time, Distance Education, and Continuing Education students at Ryerson:

    Please come out to the upcoming meeting this Wednesday April 4th from 4:30 to 6 pm at Thomas Lounge, Student Centre building on 55 Gould St.

    It is important that members participate and exercise their right to information and opinion in order to continuously steer CESAR in the right direction, which is serving students. Feel free to go to the CESAR office on the 3rd floor of the Student Centre for meeting minutes from the past years.

    Looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming meeting this Wednesday.

    -Annie

  14. RB: I dont know who you are.. but shutting down CESAR or letting it crumble and letting the full-time student union, RSU, to take over is wrong. The graduate student union is trying to get out and start their own representative organization – why should pt.ce.de representation – which is worth 16,000 out of 36,000 — that’s like 1 out of 3 — students be represented by students that won’t really understand what it’s like to have families or full-time job obligations to deal with? Your sentiments are nothing short of union busting. It’s really scary. In fact, it’s great that people are concerned to want to see positive change, but it’s destructive if people only complain and can’t find anything else to do but just that. I agree, CESAR has problems but it doesn’t mean CESAR should fold.

  15. at this point, as was pointed out in a previous article, more than half of the student budget is being spent on paying the salaries of staff and board. if the union were to join with the rsu, the rsu would also need to adapt some changes. I’m not suggesting that cesar be dissolved without thought to the rsu, but that perhaps one exec oversee what are currently specifically cesar matters – items like events, equity service groups, health and dental, legal services, student advocacy – they are all provided to rsu members, so in joining the rsu it’s not to say that their services would be cut, hopefully increased. as it stands, beyond offering basic services, cesar doesn’t really have anything that’s it’s offering us as members. oh, I’m sorry, beyond two half hazard parties a year that no one attends/

    I’m not simply complaining, these are realistic solutions. I’m not sure what your suggestion is, but just attending meetings isn’t going to do anything. The same people are running again, some even unopposed, so it looks like at least some of the same main issues with CESAR are about to be on their way back.

    CESAR has also indicated that it does not see any way to provide health plans to members. clearly, the union doesn’t have enough money to support running the office and the membership. at this point, membership money is being spent on wages and office upgrades. that won’t change with a new board. it will be the same number of people with the same wages, leaching the majority of membership money – so what realistic solution is there for lessening that use of student funds and keeping the union as is?

  16. also, MC, before you make accusations of union-busting, please consider that I am not suggesting that the cesar members do not need a union – I am suggesting that options be looked into where the members can be represented by a much more involved union. To say that the board should be impeached is not union busting – to say that an irresponsible board should be allowed to continue operating for the sake of keeping up a failing union, well, that’s just irresponsible.
    And, to assume that RSU members don’t understand what it is to have full time jobs or families is improper. There are current executives and staff who have those very same experiences. The rsu has done a great deal, and infinitely more than cesar, to vouch for and to represent mature students, low-income students, parents, etc.

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