So long, CESAR

In Editorial /

By Lauren Strapagiel
Editor-In-Chief

There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding amongst Ryerson’s student unions about what we do here at the Eyeopener.

In the March 28 meeting of the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson, in an item nonchalantly titled “media communication,” it was affirmed that CESAR had a pressing matter to deal with: us.

“Be it resolved that media issues be discussed and appropriate measures are taken to counteract the bashing by which the organization is currently going through local newspapers,” reads the agenda item. “Local newspaper” in this case is a euphemism for the Eyeopener seeing as we’re the only ones reporting on the current turmoil.

Evidently some of the CESAR board’s way of counteracting our “bashing” is by refusing our phone calls, refusing to address the messy situation they’ve created for themselves and by even going so far as to telling their student membership not to talk to us.

So here’s a message for those CESAR directors, since we have such trouble talking to them directly: we’re not bashing you. In fact we’d be perfectly happy to not deal with your brand of bullshit, but we don’t have that luxury.

It is our job here to report on student politics, especially when they fuck up, and CESAR has indeed fucked up. Let’s review: multiple resignations, accusations of harassment, impeachment attempts, denying members the right to vote, conflicts of interest among staff, withholding meeting minutes to members. Not to mention the backlash. The attempts to suppress contact with us haven’t been so successful. Members have been coming to us (anonymously, so I suppose you’ve scared them a little) with their grievances. It seems some CESAR members trust the Eyeopener more to express their frustration than their own union. There’s even an online petition demanding change.

“How does it feel to have your voting rights taken away without proper notice and consultation with members through a bylaw change? How does it feel when you, a fee-paying student taking three courses are told you cannot vote at your first or second meeting, but a non-student who obtained ‘political member status’ can vote and govern an organization that is run by students, for the students?” asks the petition.

I imagine it feels shitty. And that’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to covering it.

This is our last issue of the year, but rest assured we’ll be keeping an eye on the CESAR elections as they unfold.

Clean yourselves up, address your membership’s concerns and stop the infighting, and perhaps next year there won’t be any need for our “bashing.” That, or maintain the status quo and continue filling our news section.

It’s your call, we’ll be following.

Comments

  1. This is very powerful. Way to go Eye Opener! Thanks for sticking up for the CESAR membership Lauren!

  2. This is a great article! Thank you for writing this! Those people who f***ed up needed to hear that they did.

    Why are they denying minutes from members and denying members the right to vote? The current board should all resign.

  3. Thank you for writing this, Lauren! You are the champ! The CESAR Board needed to hear it from someone and you said it like it is.

  4. Eyeopener, what would we do without you? Love Love Love it! Thanks for sticking up for the CESAR members, seriously!!

  5. After having read the articles so far published, there are topics that weigh in and others that are out of context and, in a sense, pollute the current state of affairs-even more.

    The language used throughout the text is problematic as there is vulgarity all over the article(s) and that actually puts the newspaper’s credibility and that of its staff’s- at least some of them- into question. This is a university newspaper that should act in a more professional manner where the coarse language could be kept to a minimum and not be part of the paper’s standard. Adopting this type of language as the modus operandi of the paper raises serious questions about how well trained are staff members and what guidelines they follow, especially when it comes to verifying the information passed on to them, which the paper seems to have taken all at face value.

    More than a breach of ethics, in case it might exist, the paper has published or alluded to some confidential information given by an individual within CESAR that has decidedly embarked on a witch-hunt without revealing her/his identity which makes it all the more disgusting after having signed her/himself a contract of confidentiality and loyalty toward the organization.This is certainly a person that might not be suitable enough to hold office, be a Board member, or simply be part of the staff, whichever is the case.

    Leaving that aside and focusing more now on the articles, there are a few points that CESAR would like to raise.

    It is useful to start by alluding to a term coined by one of the founders of Sociological theory, Max Weber, who said that in any context, a sense of understanding (Verstehen) needed to be applied to grasp a better sense of the situation. These remarks have been pronounced to highlight the member of the paper who said that the majority of CE and part-time students have families and are more likely to work full-time. The actual reality of CE students who are not able to make it to the meetings happens for different factors. Most people would agree that we all have families and work and regardless we still allocate time for other activities, be it leisure, hobbies, etc. In the case of our members, it is a complex dynamic when it comes to demographics that along more effective outreach has prevented us from fully reaching to all our members. To give an example, more than 50% of CE and part-time students have some sort of post-secondary education. In turn, a good number of them have achieved fully household independence and, in some cases, financial too in clear contrast with undergraduate students. To add another example, when I was an undergrad, I used to work more than 25 hours/week, which is close to the threshold for being considered full-time minus the health and dental benefits that come with that status. Again, things need to be put into context before making assertions that lack clarity or simply understanding.

    Another issue that I’d like to touch upon is the seemingly male-dominated politics that exist within CESAR claimed by fellow Director of Finance and Services who has managed to ‘survive’ to the environment. This is a very touchy subject that needs to be dealt with by someone who has at least an idea of what gender dynamics mean. I don’t think that in this case, either the person interviewed or the journalist understand fully the meaning of it and should be more respectful of the topic. Not to suggest that there should be a limit in what is being written, that’s the decision of the journalist, but throwing this type of accusations around without having the necessary foundations in place opens the door for someone to be discredited. To say that males dominate in an environment without providing the rationale for it, is divisive in itself. Even though that probably was not the initial intention, it still puts CESAR into the light of an us vs. them perspective, which is, to a certain extent, patriarchal in nature as it automatically divides members in two gender camps. This is not the case anymore, at least in the majority of social movements, and all across the boundaries of this nation, as gender identities have evolved and are no longer exclusively restricted to males and females. It is a binary still theoretically valid but no longer relevant or practical as it is archaic and lacks study of more current avenues of research such as agents of socialization.

    It is up to the reader to believe what’s been said but there should be an encouragement to make efforts towards understanding the context and the person(s) involved along with the institution(s) in question.

    CESAR appreciates the first-page(s) and editorials so far allocated to the organization as it understands that these are news that deserve remarkable attention and spotlight for which we thank you. We are not spending any money on it which makes it all the more feasible for both parties.

    What still worries us, though, is what the Eyeopener will be doing next year once the house, as it is hoped, manage to clean itself up. This might be desirable but is still a far cry from reality for which we would like the opener to do the watch-dogging as events unfold.

    Regards,

    Sergio Ortiz

    Outgoing Director of Membership and Communications

    Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson
    Local 105 Canadian Federation of Students

Leave a Comment