Photo courtesy Axel Smith

Ryerson Arts Society president removed from office

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By Jacob Dubé

The Ryerson Arts Society (RAS) president has been removed from his position due to not being an official member of RAS.

In a meeting on Feb. 15, Axel Smith, now-former president of RAS, only took Chang School courses this semester, and therefore paid a student levy to Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR). This means he did not pay the levy to RAS and so he is not a RAS member, according to faculty of arts interim associate dean Kathleen Kellett.

RAS manager Stephen Kassim said that as soon as he confirmed Smith wasn’t a member, he had to “take action” by removing him.

“If this were true for anyone else on the board then they would have also been required to step down from their position. It is the responsibility of the Dean and the Manager of Student Relations to check these things and enforce University policy,” he later wrote in an email to the RAS board members.

Smith said that he assumed he was paying the RAS levy—that it was included in his fees—also mentioned that he is willing to pay it now if possible.

Daniel Lis, RAS vice-president external affairs, and incoming Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president education, said that RAS’s constitution doesn’t specify anything about levies, and states that it covers part-time students as well. Kassim replied that the Board of Governors’ (BoG) policies state differently, and they take precedent, especially since the RAS constitution was never formally brought to the BoG for approval.

After the meeting, Smith said that the reason he’s only enrolled in continuing education courses is because he works a full-time internship during the day and can only take online and night courses.

He also mentioned he still believes his removal was invalid, because he should have been paying the RAS levy from the beginning.

I still feel it’s a billing error, and there’s a lot of outstanding revenue that should be collected by the Board of Governors from the society,” he said.

Smith has contacted the BoG to get “a clear definition of what they perceive as an enrolled full-time student,” since the issue stems from discrepancies between their documentation and the BoG’s.

“I still feel that it should be the Board of Governors making this ruling, and not some staff member,” Smith said. 

Smith replaced interim president James Dittburner as RAS president in January following Nikita Jariwala’s impeachment.*

According to Kassim, the position will be filled by the RAS vice-president finance, which is currently Bahoz Dara Aziz.*


*CORRECTIONs: In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly named the vice-president finance Bahoz Aziz.

We also stated that former-president Axel Smith became RAS president in December, he actually took the position in January following interim president James Dittburner. The Eyeopener regrets these errors.

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