By Sean Tepper
The Ryerson Free Press (RFP) will stop publishing for the foreseeable future after the abrupt departure of editor-in-chief Clare O’Connor, who is now entrenched in legal proceedings with the Continuing Education Students’ Union of Ryerson (CESAR), the paper’s publisher.
“Through a series of unfortunate events, it appears that our October issue is postponed indefinitely,” said James Burrows, the RFP’s news editor, in documents obtained by The Eyeopener.
“I unfortunately can’t [say] any more than that, as I don’t know any more, other than we no longer have an [editor-in-chief] and there appears to be no plans on the part of CESAR, our publisher, to hire one.”
One of Ryerson’s three campus newspapers, the RFP is an alternative publication aimed at part-time and continuing education students.
It is largely staffed by members of CESAR and publishes on a monthly basis.
O’Connor, who was in her first semester as editor-in-chief of the RFP after taking the reins from long-time editor Nora Loreto, published the September issue of the paper before her departure. Under the RFP’s mandate, they are unable to publish both online and print articles without a sitting editor-in-chief.
The circumstances surrounding O’Connors departure and the status of her legal proceedings with CESAR remain murky.
“What little information I have been able to receive from [CESAR] has been slowly and painfully extracted,” said Burrows in documents obtained by The Eyeopener. “Without an editor-in-chief my mandate is zero to do anything. What is worse is that our publishers are not giving us any info about what is happening and little guidance around what to tell our writers about the future … given my recent interaction with them, I doubt anything will fix this.”
Annie Hyder, CESAR’s director of membership and communications, would not comment on the specifics of O’Connor’s departure or the status of their legal proceedings but confirmed that “she is no longer with CESAR.”
“Unfortunately I can’t really talk about the editor-in-chief because we are actually in a legal proceeding with [her],” said Hyder. “We are definitely working on making sure that there will be a new editor-in-chief in place and have the paper available as soon as possible.”
While finding a new editor-in-chief is a top priority, according to Hyder, she admits that CESAR’s upcoming health and dental [referendum] remains at the top of their list.
“Right now we have health and dental referendum, which is really monumental because it’s something that we’ve never had so it’s a huge opportunity for us. It’s something we are focusing on in the immediate,” she said. “But once that is out of the way we are definitely focusing on [the RFP].” O’Connor was unavailable for comment.