Rough stuff

Ryerson two-ply toilet paper inquiry should be applauded

Rough stuff

They had the perfect plan, they had the perfect system, and they had the perfect two-ply toilet paper; but Ryerson University could not have imagined that an unopened pack of plush bathroom tissue would have tipped off journalism student Laura Woodward. Woodward toiled to discover the final destination of the toilet paper — for it was certainly not being stocked in students’ washrooms.

Eventually, Woodward let the facilities department know she was ready to file an access-to-information request, and that’s when the administration cracked. A university spokesperson revealed the truth behind the two-tiered toilet paper system — some buildings on the Ryerson campus (especially those with administrative offices) are supplied with toilet paper that is both softer and more luxurious than the paper being stocked in other buildings.

Though it may seem like a trivial matter, outlets like CTV, the Toronto Star, and the National Post have picked up the story. Yet, plenty of people on Facebook and in newspaper comments sections decry that this is a ridiculous problem. Are some of us privileged to the point that we demand two-ply toilet paper as a basic human right?

However, aside from the predicament being hilarious, it is a controversy that is completely relevant to students. Namely, there is little transparency over where our tuition fees go and as a result, the average student has little input. Woodward’s efforts should be applauded, for they symbolize the somewhat arduous process students have to go through to get to the bottom of a story.

Two-ply toilet paper is more expensive — in fact, Janice Winton, vice president of administration and finance at Ryerson, looked into converting to a two-ply system, but opted against it, citing the high costs. It is therefore preposterous that they are still purchasing two-ply toilet paper for select patrons, despite it being double the cost ($3.67 per roll, compared to $1.83). Students have a right to know where their fees are going without having to threaten to file an access-to-information request, and they have a right to their tuition being used fairly and responsibly.

Whether or not you agree that this story deserves coverage, it is important that we recognize the merits of investigative journalism. Woodward saw something that appeared out of place: in this case, the catalyst was two-ply toilet paper at an institution where she had never seen such a luxury. She contacted toilet paper manufacturers to find out more information, and brought her concerns to the administration. Through inquiry, Woodward was able to engage students and spark discussion over equity, student finance, and the responsible spending of money at an educational institution.

This story brings up a minor injustice on campus, and highlights that universities should be transparent in how they spend their funds. Student should not have to jump through hoops to learn about something as mundane as toilet paper on campus.

Norm Kelly, Shawn Micallef, discuss pop culture and politics

Event held as part of ASSU’s City Series

Norm Kelly, Shawn Micallef, discuss pop culture and politics

Drake may not have come to campus this year, but his Twitter-famous city councillor buddy Norm Kelly paid U of T a visit last week. Councillor Kelly made an appearance as part of Social Media and the City, the first event in the Arts & Science Students’ Union’s (ASSU) City Series, three events designed to explore what makes Toronto unique, and how to make it better.

Students gathered at New College’s William Doo Auditorium, where they talked social media, pop culture, and politics with journalist and event moderator Shawn Micallef. Micallef opened the discussion by describing Kelly’s stint as the deputy mayor of Toronto as a “calm presence in the city, who would later embrace Twitter.” Kelly gained a large Twitter following after he came out in support of Drake in his feud with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill.

According to Kelly, his activity on Twitter began out of curiosity, with no plans to use it as an extension of his political life. “I just simply wanted to have fun. That was it,” he claimed.

Discussion of the ways in which a politician could use social media dominated the event. There is an “entrepreneurial drive out there [in social media] waiting to be released in opportunities,” said Kelly. “I think Toronto is beginning to situate itself to compete internationally for skilled people and investment money. We have the essential mass of creative young people in the city that carries us forward.”

“A lot of conversations about the city now take place on Twitter. Journalists, politicians, writers and ordinary citizens all engage in these conversations,” said Abdullah Shihipar, ASSU president. “We hope the U of T community gets a better appreciation of the issues that face our city, what we have accomplished and the challenges we face [through the City Series].  How so much happens takes place around us in the place where we live, that we may be oblivious to.”

While there were questions about Drake and the 6ix, students also grilled Kelly about his job as a councillor. When asked about his stance on ranked ballots, Kelly emphasized that he does not support ranked ballots as a voting system.

Students also used the event as a platform to air concerns about the gentrification of Toronto. One audience member brought up the racial and socio-economic divide that has plagued Toronto over the past three decades, as noted in U of T professor J. David Hulchanski’s Three Cities report, which looked at income inequality in Toronto from 1970 to 2005. “Toronto has always been a city of immigrants,” said Kelly, adding that, “the research shows that the longer you stay, and the longer you’re here, the more your income goes up.”

Toronto may have ambitions to become more of a creative city by using social media, but there are issues that surround citizens who identify in minority groups that still need addressing. How social media can bridge those experiences to help Toronto become a sustainably equitable city was the question to which many audience members left the event without an answer.


 Norm Kelly’s tips for Twitter

Stir the pot — get a reaction

Write tweets that tickles the spot — be humorous!

Inform — use Twitter for an educational purpose

Know your audience — consider who is going to listen to you, and who will be impacted


U of T community members skeptical about Ontario’s decision to eliminate “arbitrary” carding

Future of carding and institutional concerns not addressed in banning of practice

U of T community members skeptical about Ontario’s decision to eliminate “arbitrary” carding

Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s minister of community safety and correctional services announced his intent to ban “random and arbitrary carding.” Community groups and activists have long been pressuring the government to eliminate this practice.

Carding, which has been described as “community engagement” by Toronto’s police force, is seen as a racist policy by many. It allows police to interrogate people without clear indication that they have committed a crime.

“These new draft regulations are a long awaited step in the right direction by those in positions of power, however we still have a very long way to go,” says Hashim Yussuf, a UTMSU Board of Directors member who also sits on the Toronto Police Advisory Committee for Review.

Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, spoke in support of intelligence-led carding. “The benefits… not only assist police with identifying and arresting offenders but also help to exonerate innocent people who may otherwise be suspects of a crime.” She emphasized, however, that the Toronto Police Service sees arbitrary carding that is not intelligence-led but motivated by prejudice as “unacceptable.”

Dissecting the implications of the government’s decision

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a former PhD candidate at U of T with specialization in race and policing in Toronto, told The Varsity that the government’s recent decision to end arbitrary carding does not mean that carding has been banned entirely. “‘Arbitrary’ use of the practice is to cease. What that looks like in practice is yet to be seen.”

Yussuf echoed Owusu-Bempah’s sentiments: “just because there is a law saying that a cop can’t randomly card someone, doesn’t stop the cop from making up a fake reason and continuing,” he said.

Yussuf further stated that he does not believe that regulating carding, which the government has proposed, is the right approach. “The provincial government had to do something and change the environment or the perceptions around it. Politics is all about keeping a good face even if that means making changes that don’t really matter.” Activists such as Yussuf and those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement are not satisfied with the regulation of carding and advocate for the elimination of the practice in its entirety.

Jessica Kirk, Scarborough Campus Students’ Union’s (SCSU) vice-president equity, is also skeptical about the effectiveness of the government’s new regulations on carding. “Eliminating [arbitrary] carding without a more wholehearted approach to addressing the underlying issues like racial profiling is like putting a small Band-Aid on an open wound.”

Gray outlined the ways Toronto Police Services has worked to address racial profiling. “Like everyone else, police officers have biases. We train our officers to recognize and manage these biases. Having these biases does not equate to racial profiling; acting on them does.  When that happens, the service holds those members accountable for their actions.”

U of T’s relationship to carding and racial profiling

Kirk described how U of T students have been affected by carding. “Students have spoken to me about numerous accounts of racial profiling, carding, and hostile interactions with the police. All students who have spoken to me were black themselves, or have spoken to me about being carded when among a group of friends who are black.”

Seeing the effect carding and racial profiling has on the U of T community, Owusu-Bempah said that he strongly encourages student engagement, and Kirk mentioned that the SCSU continues to actively support the grassroots organization Black Lives Matter Toronto.

Yussuf also believes that U of T should play a strong role in fighting racial discrimination in the police force, suggesting ways the U of T community can become involved. “As the premier university in Canada, our university can provide lots of academic research into creating new policies for the government and police. The university can invest its resources into giving folks like Black Lives Matter Toronto a voice to organize and educate… The students and population of the university just needs to hold the administration and top decision makers accountable, if we want to see change that is.”

While Ontario’s alters the practice of carding, U of T, Toronto’s academics, activists, and students remain wary when considering the new regulations as a solution to a deeper race issue. “Don’t get me wrong,” Owusu-Bempah said “things have changed, but much still stays the same.”

U of T has lost $550 million by choosing not to divest from fossil fuels, report claims

Corporate Knights uses “decarbonizer tool” to generate data

U of T has lost $550 million by choosing not to divest from fossil fuels, report claims

A recent report by Corporate Knights, an organization that promotes “clean capitalism,” claims that the University of Toronto has lost over $550 million CAD by not divesting from fossil fuel firms over the course of the past three years.

“U of T is an institution that is designed to prepare students for the future and they should not be investing in companies whose business plans [are] built around making that future unliveable,” said Sam Harrison communication coordinator at UofT350, a group of climate justice organizers at U of T.

The application Corporate Knights used to analyse this loss is called the decarbonizer tool and allows a user to take an investment portfolio and retroactively divest it to create an alternate portfolio.

Corporate Knights ran a side-by-side comparison of U of T’s portfolio, one showing its current state, and another in which the university had divested from fossil fuels. The results stated that, for the past three years, the university has been consistently losing money in its fossil fuel investments.

Althea Blackburn-Evans, director of news & media relations at U of T, said that the issues of divestment and investment are mutually exclusive and are being wrongfully conflated. “Decisions about whether or not the university divest[s] from a company or an industry, those are not investments, so they can’t be motivated by a company or an industry’s profitability,” Blackburn-Evans said. “Divestment is focussed on essentially the university’s social responsibility in an investor, and then its response to activities or behaviours that may cause social injuries.”

When asked about the particular investments made, Blackburn-Evans said, “what [Corporate Knights is] basically saying is the university has lost a lot of money. I can’t confirm or deny that the university lost that money. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but that’s about an investment decision right? It’s not about a divestment decision, so they’re making an argument that if the university had made a different investment decision perhaps they wouldn’t have lost this money?”

Harrison countered, “It is possible that [U of T] could divest from fossil fuels and then not use the money for anything else. That is highly unlikely. [We’re asking for the university to] divest from the 200 fossil fuel companies [and] if they do that they’re going to have a bunch of new money that they’re going to want to invest in something else.”

Harrison claimed that, while methodology used in producing these results may vary, the conclusion is clear that by investing in climate change the university is losing large sums of money that could have been used elsewhere.

Although he declined to speculate on the upcoming committee decision on whether or not to divest from fossil fuel firms, Harrison did note that if U of T went ahead with divestment, it would be a “brave” decision. “A lot of universities have not been divesting largely for reasons that are not credible and have been debunked,” he said.

Many other universities in North America have also been facing the same issues that arise from this heated debate. Universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have decided not to divest and instead have agreed to spend around $300 million USD in the course of the next five years to research climate change and technology, developing “low-carbon energy centres” to produce sustainable energy. Universities in Canada such as Dalhousie and McGill have decided to be active as shareholders in the company.

Harrison, however, did not believe in the feasibility of what he called “shareholder activism.” He emphasized a need for U of T to go against the grain of Canadian universities and take a step outside the comfort zone of academic research.

So far, this issue has taken root among both students and faculty members. Lila Asher, another member of UofT350, organized a march in late October. “It’s upsetting that U of T still trusts fossil fuel companies with its money. These companies are irresponsible: they ignore climate science and can’t even turn a profit for student programs at this university,” said Asher in a press release.

On a global scale, climate change has become an increasingly popular issue. From November 30 to December 11, 2015,  delegates to the Paris Climate Change Conference will discuss the urgency of climate change and the devastation that it has caused in multiple parts of the world, as well as further damage that could be done. Due to the alarming nature of climate change, a new global agreement is on the table to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for which the commitments will expire in 2020.

Harrison claimed that this should be reason enough to encourage fossil fuel divestment. “Academics aren’t usually big fans of big symbolic statements, but in lead up to one of the most important UN climate conferences ever there’s never been a more important time to have big symbolic statements.”

With files from Iris Robin

University of Toronto graduate receives $90,000 from three dragons

Noureddin Chahrour wins big on TV show Dragons’ Den

University of Toronto graduate receives $90,000 from three dragons

U of T graduate Noureddin Chahrour has received $90,000 from the popular Canadian reality show Dragons’ Den. On the show, entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists — the “dragons” — in the hope of securing their investment. Chahrour will put the money towards his company, Adrenalease.

Chahrour, a kinesiology student, spent much of his time at U of T hunched over while studying. Like many other students, he subsequently developed bad posture and back pain. Any effort that he made to relieve the pain was of no use; he found that stretching exercises didn’t offer much relief. After consulting with physicians, Chahrour learned that back braces would actually worsen the situation as the retractive position would force his muscles into relying on the brace, which would ultimately weaken his back. This led Chahrour to a ‘eureka’ moment, and Adrenalease was born.

According to Chahrour, Adrenalease is where “fashion meets ergonomics” in the form of an adjustable line of fitness clothing that holds the wearer in an optimal posture position. By pulling back on the shoulders, the shirt aims to also improve patterns of breathing while exercising. After developing the idea, Chahrour consulted with kinesiology professors Margaret MacNeill and Jack Goodman, who supported his idea and encouraged him to develop a business.

Goodman, Chahrour’s former professor and supervisor during his research project, said that Chahrour is “really the author of his own success.” Goodman emphasized the importance of not selling faulty ideas of merchandise, and ensured that Chahrour’s design was built on accurate research findings.

MacNeil agreed with Goodman’s sentiments and expressed her excitement at seeing Chahrour’s project come to fruition. “[Noureddin Chahrour] roared into my health com class in FKPE two years ago and used assignments to get students to improve their posture with a mobile phone-based health campaign (while showcasing a shirt he thought might also pull their posture up),” MacNeill said, calling him the “posture whisperer.” MacNeill further remarked that Chahrour was an excellent health science student, “one who embraced all areas of science to solve a problem in a complex manner linking cell to society.”

“His inventor’s intuition, entrepreneurial spirit and health educator soul has coalesced into a wearable technology helping both Olympic athletes and aging [professors] curled over their computers.”

Following the development of Adrenalease, Chahrour auditioned for Dragons’ Den in an attempt to gain attention and snowball the product. He was accepted to appear on the show on April 13, just one day before one of his final exams at U of T, where he graduated in 2015 with an honours degree in kinesiology.

The episode featuring Chahrour aired on November 18 and showed Chahrour receiving three offers from four dragons, valuing the company as high as $500,000. Chahrour accepted bids from dragons Mangit Minhas, Michelle Romanow, and Jim Treliving amounting to $90,000 for 30 per cent of the company. Chahrour said he landed on the decision because of Treliving’s connections with the NHL and his enthusiasm following missing out on a bid for compression shorts which later were sold to Under Armour for $10 million.

Today, Chahrour works with the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto, where he receives guidance on leading his company and guiding its growth, learning about everything from mentors to business advisors and marketing plans. The Impact Centre also provides an office space for Adrenalease to conduct its work at the moment. Together with three interns, Adrenalease soon plans to release a sports bra that is the first of its kind with adjustable straps and patented ergonomic technology.

When asked about advice for other entrepreneurial-minded students, Chahrour recommended that students who are interested in entrepreneurship start with a topic that they are passionate about and get involved with an accelerator program when they develop a good idea.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Chahrour advised that students find something that exists and perfect it, as niche markets can offer room for significant growth. Chahrour also suggested developing a canvas model and business plan as well as a sales strategy when embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.

When asked about what the future has in store, Chahrour said, “I was born and raised as an entrepreneur. I love what I’m doing, I don’t have a boss telling me what to do and where to go. I can make my own decisions and own hours, I love that about my job and I love everything that has to do with it… even if I get a multi-million dollar offer and sell this, I will stay in the field of entrepreneurship.”

Robarts cherry blossoms to temporarily relocate

Removal accommodates construction project

Robarts cherry blossoms to temporarily relocate

In preparation for the Robarts Common construction project, the beloved cherry blossom trees behind the library will be leaving their home temporarily. PAO Horticultural, a nursery located in Hornby, Ontario will relocate and replant the 32 trees that surround the library. This project began on November 12.

The trees were a gift from the Consulate-General of Japan in Toronto, planted on October 12, 2005. The gift was part of the Sakura Project, an initiative to strengthen diplomatic ties between Canada and Japan that spanned from 2000 to 2012. Within that time, 3,082 trees were planted in 58 locations across Ontario,paid for with about $83,000 from public and private donations. Both UTSG and UTSC were gifted with the cherry trees.

Jesse Carliner, acting communications librarian, said that the temporary removal of the trees is intended to sustain a long-term preservation. “Currently, the trees are crowded and competing for light and nutrients,” he explained. “In order to ensure their health and longevity so that future generations may enjoy them, the trees will be spaced farther apart when they are replanted.”

According to Carliner, the trees will return to Robarts by 2018 once the landscape project has been completed. He did confirm that the number of trees planted at Robarts after the construction work will stay the same.

The construction occurring at Robarts is the second phase of an expansion project that has been in the works for years, although the details have changed and been reworked throughout the years. The $74 million project aims to alter Robarts’ looming, brutalist facade. The first phase focused on improving the quality of study spaces and implementing new infrastructure.

The upcoming construction project will include an additional 1,222 study spaces to accommodate the growing student body, bringing the total number of study spaces to 6,027.

The face of Robarts will soon become the Robarts Common, a five-storey glass pavilion facing Huron Street. The project, headed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, is expected to be completed during the 2017–2018 academic year.

“With the cherry blossoms unavailable for the upcoming spring, Robarts will be missing what is seen as an “annual U of T tradition,” said Carliner.

This is a sentiment echoed by Sarah Fellows, a first-year English student, who feels that taking the trees away amounts to taking away a part of Robarts. Fellows expressed that the trees acted as a great de-stresser and a great option for those who wanted to study outside.

Darren Cheng, a fourth-year neuroscience student, said that he has faith in the administration’s goals for the construction. He articulated that so long as the additions are designed with the students’ well-being in mind, he is okay with them. Cheng expressed a hope that the additons will improve the space.

“Photographs of the Robarts Library cherry trees in bloom are a social media phenomenon,” remarked Carliner. “I can’t think of many study or work breaks better than taking a walk or sitting on a bench underneath the cherry blossoms. Beyond U of T, the cherry blossoms also bring a lot of joy to the greater Toronto community.”

Seven motions pass, one fails, five motions not discussed at SCSU AGM

Meeting loses quorum, adjourns prematurely

Seven motions pass, one fails, five motions not discussed at SCSU AGM

Students came to discuss a number of issues at the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM), but only eight were addressed before the meeting adjourned early.

The meeting, which began on Wednesday, November 18, lasted four hours and saw seven motions passed. One motion that would have changed the vice-president, operations of the SCSU from an appointed to an elected position was the only motion to fail.

VP Operations: appointed or elected?

The most contentious resolution of the meeting was a motion to change the selection of the vice-president operations position from a hired to an elected one. SCSU president Nicole Dionisio, the mover of the motion, began the discussion. She explained that the motion was proposed because the role of the vice-president operations has transitioned from being primarily business-focused role to a more services-oriented one.  Dionisio said that a full-time staff member had been hired to help monitor the SCSU’s finances and operations, leaving the vice-president operations free to focus on reaching out to students, without needing a strong financial and operational background.

However, many students questioned the feasibility of the vice-president not requiring training or background in finance or management. Students listed several of the vice-president operations’ responsibilities, including accessing all financial records and presenting the budget.

Some students worried that a ‘popularity contest’ would not suffice in ensuring the capabilities of the person appointed. Furthermore, students mentioned that the voter turnout for SCSU elections is extremely low, with less than 10 per cent of the student body participating.

Govind Mohan, the resource co-ordinator of the UTSC Young Liberals and communications executive with the UTSC Film Club, and Syed Sajeed Bakht, a second-year computer science student spoke against the motion. “The SCSU is a $5 million organization, which, in the wrong hands could face appalling consequences, even without any malicious intent,” they later told The Varsity in a joint email.

The motion required a two-thirds majority vote to pass, which it did not meet. SCSU did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment.

Motions carried

Several motions to amend the SCSU’s by-laws, including by-laws pertaining to the removal from office, committees, and executive responsibilities, all passed without much discussion. Motions for improved multi-faith space and scheduling, as well as a motion condemning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) also passed.

[tweet https://twitter.com/VarsityNewsUofT/status/667171056516538368]

The motion for a Racialized Student Collective, however, was contentious. It proposed the creation of a collective with an anti-racist mandate that would organize campaigns to combat oppressive systems, as well as provide a safe space, called the Equity Service Centre, for students to discuss their experiences.

Some students arguing against this motion were concerned about the inclusivity of the proposed space, while others worried about the opportunity cost, wondering if the space would always be active.

Those supporting the creation of this collective assured that non-racialized students wouldn’t be barred from the space and that the space in question, SL-210B, is largely under-utilized, stressing that the space would not be wasted.

Samreen Aziz argued that this space would act as a form of therapy for students. “The racialized space that the motion was referring to was to recreate a room in the Student Centre dedicated to students of ethnic minorities or of stigmatized religious background or really, any group of individuals who are facing tough times in the world,” she said, adding that the space is for “[students] who have cultural struggles between themselves and their society, who are victims to hate crimes, who feel overwhelmed by their own culture and adjusting to Canadian lifestyles, who have experienced PTSD or severe depression due to the things they or their families have experienced in war-torn countries -— it is for THESE [sic] people to sit and talk to one another to relieve themselves of stress and their frustrations.”

After further discussion, the majority voted in favour of the motion.

[tweet https://twitter.com/VarsityNewsUofT/status/667163073355096064]

Five motions not discussed after losing quorum

Five motions, those calling for Syrian refugee support, for South African solidarity, for a website update, for livestreaming the SCSU AGM, and for SCSU holding an open public forum at the end of the year, were not debated or voted upon, because the meeting lost quorum. The meeting was adjourned during discussion on the motion asking for the SCSU to donate $500 to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

[tweet https://twitter.com/VarsityNewsUofT/status/667172943210881024]

Aziz, the mover of the motion, was extremely upset. She believes that the SCSU should cap the AGM at four speakers per motion, saying, “The debates went on far too long and by the time my motion came up, it was the fifth hour and people just wanted to get up and leave — no one cared anymore.” Aziz said that she does not blame the SCSU, remarking that the union has been extremely supportive of her campaign.

There are three options for the remaining motions: they can be moved for discussion at the next year’s AGM, the Board of Directors can call for another General Meeting this year, or the motions can be brought to the Board of Directors who would vote on them.

Aziz said that her motion will be brought to the next board meeting, where she has been told there is a high chance it will pass.

Katie Konstantopoulos, the Sociology director for the SCSU, says, “I think another General Meeting should be called, because I think these motions are too urgent or important to leave aside for a year.”

[tweet https://twitter.com/VarsityNewsUofT/status/667173218046877697]

Students react to the AGM

Renee Ball, president of the UTSC Young Liberals and an upper year representative for the Political Science Students Association believes that, overall, the meeting was conducted professionally and impartially. However, she, Aziz, Mohan, and Bakht all said that the meeting began too late and ran too long. Aziz commented that students did not anticipate the meeting lasting longer than two-to-three hours, and that the executive report and financial report reading took about two hours, not leaving enough for discussion of the motions.

Konstantopoulos was satisfied with the thoroughness of the executive report. She also praised the SCSU’s explanation of Robert’s Rules of Order prior to the meeting, saying it increased students’ access to participation in the meeting. “I think these changes really cleaned up the way the meeting was conducted, based off of comparisons to previous years; simply by changing the space and providing clarity, the overall atmosphere was more positive.”

SCSU vice-president operations resigns

Resignation leaked in email to members

SCSU vice-president operations resigns

Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) president Nicole Dionisio mistakenly attached an executive member’s letter of resignation to an email inviting UTSC students to the SCSU’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). In the letter of resignation, Eilia Yazdanian, SCSU vice-president operations and chief financial officer, stated that he was resigning due to physical and mental health issues.

The Varsity asked when Dionisio had originally intended on announcing the resignation, and she said that she had not considered putting out an official announcement. “It’s not something that I have really thought of doing. It’s not something that’s outlined in our by-laws to do. I do intend on bringing it up at the AGM, which is a public meeting for all our members to attend,” Dionisio said.

However, Dionisio mentioned that the resignation is public information and not confidential. Commenting on the nature of the release of the information, she said, “I do know that it may not be the most comfortable for that person. But I did, right away, as soon as I found out, I contacted the provost’s office to see if I could take back that email. I also called the Freedom of Protection Agency to see what I could do and I also contacted Eilia to see what he wanted me to do.”

With Yazdanian’s official resignation on October 30, four months before the end of his term, the SCSU will not be filling the vacancy. Rather, Dionisio will be serving interim, and the vice-president operations’ responsibilities will be divided among the other executive members.

Dionisio explained that the SCSU will not be hiring a replacement for Yazdanian due to time constraints. “[Given] the timeline right now, we are looking at a heavy period with the AGM, the elections just finishing, and the winter break coming. We are also hiring the executive director right now, so we have a lot of responsibilities currently,” she said. “Given the rest of the term is only four months, it wouldn’t be very reasonable to have that person transitioned and hired in a reasonable amount of time to fully complete their term.”

The executive director, who will be taking on most of Yazdanian’s responsibilities, will be hired by early December. In the meantime, Dionisio will oversee operations and supervise the staff, while Camille Galindez, SCSU vice-president academics, will chair the services commission. The rest of the team will organize events at Rex’s Den.

Responding to the concern that distributing the responsibilities might overburden the other executive members, Dionisio said that she does not believe the extra responsibilities will interfere with the team’s primary duties. “I think we’ve been working really well as a team for this whole year, and we’ve been really good at picking up where there are gaps in anything, so I don’t think that it will hinder any of us.”

As for the vice-president operations’ salary, Yazdanian will receive payment for the time he worked. The rest of the designated salary will go into the SCSU’s reserves.