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Argosy May 21, 2009

Argosy May 21, 2009

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Published by Geoff Campbell
Argosy May 21, 2009
Argosy May 21, 2009

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May 21, 2009 Still believin’ since 1875 Vol. 139 Iss. 1
Argosy
     T     h   e
Independent Student Journal of Mount Allison University 
By-election planned for fall after SAC President steps down
Julie Stephenson
Argosy Sta
ff 
SAC President-elect Paul Rasbach’s abrubt departure from the 2009/10 SAC executive has left many students wondering about the realreason for his abscence. As of the time this issue went to print, Rasbach had not yet commented on why he resigned from the SAC.
Vivi Reich
We’ve taken measuresto try and reduce thelikelihood of someonebeing asked to leavethe school by theuniversity.
 Jessica Emin
List of graduatespp. 13 - 17
It was a surprising and confusing timethis past April as rumours flew acrosscampus concerning the positionof SAC President. Following aparticularly close race for the positionin February, Paul Rasbach was votedin for the 2009/10 term. Toward theend of winter session, rumours beganto circulate on campus and it seemedas though Rasbach would not befilling the position after all.Suspicions were confirmed at theend of April as the new SAC executivesent out an email informing studentscurrent president Mike Currie wouldbe filling the position during thesummer as Interim President. Atthe time no reason was given for thechange except that it was Rasbach’s“[decision] not to return…in theFall”. When approached after the studentbody had been informed that he wouldnot being returning as SAC Presidentor to Mount Allison, Rasbach initially agreed to comment and give hisown explanations. Stating he would“enjoy the opportunity,” Rasbach alsoadmitted regret for “not being able tobe straightforward with
e Argosy
 before [the] last issue of the Academic Term.” No comments were availableby the time this issue went to print.
 
e incoming and now currentSAC executive was informed thatRasbach would not be returning the week of April 20. After discussingthe change and exploring whatoptions were available, the executiveapproached Currie about filling theposition of Interim President forthe duration of the summer.
 
eappointment was made possible by therecent introduction of by-laws in theSAC constitution.
 
e new by-laws were prompted by the resignation of VP Academic Brian Crouse this pastfall.
 
e by-laws address the possibleresignation of a SAC President orany of the Vice Presidents during thesummer.
 
ey allow for the executiveat that time to appoint a member of the students’ union for the summerin an interim capacity. Currie saysthat the by-laws were created to allow for a smoother transition duringunstable times. He also pointed outthat the wording makes it possible forformer members of the executive tobe appointed if they are available; thismakes it possible for the executive tofunction during an important periodof time.Currie eventually followed the firstformal email a few weeks later withone that acknowledged the confusionand explained that a by-election would be taking place in the fall toelect a new SAC President. “I think in general this was an unfortunatecircumstance,explains Currie.Perhaps most surprising is the new sets of rules and regulations beingattached to the SAC. Accordingto Currie, a code of conduct forits members, which was originally pitched this past year by a studentat the SAC’s regular meetings, is animportant move forward. “If there’san individual in the future who’sinvolved in activities that mightinvolve him or her getting expelledfrom school, at least there was thatinformal awareness from the SACof them signing a document sayingthat they shouldn’t be doing suchbehaviours.”
 
e SAC has also implementedan academic requirement for thepositions. “[It’s] just in case in thefuture, there might be someone who’s on probation or who might benot performing well academically.In every residence, it appears that tobe a [Residence Assistant] or housepresident, it requires a minimumacademic standing. So we weresurprised that the SAC didn’t haveanything of that sort as well.”Currie is sure that SAC is doingeverything they can to preventsituations similar to the current onefrom taking place. “We’ve takenmeasures to try and reduce thelikelihood of someone being askedto leave the school by the university.”However, Currie remains adamantthat certain things are out of theircontrol, “For personal reasons, [thechoice of running for SAC positions]is something that is out of the handsof the SAC and up to the individualmainly.”Currently the by-election will behappening alongside the electionsfor House Representatives and O
ff 
-Campus Councillors.
 
e elections will be open to everyone, includingboth new and returning students.
 
e two candidates who ran againstRasbach in the February election wereRyan Robski and Shehzad Dhanani.
 
e election went to a second votebetween Robski and Rasbach whichrevealed a close race for President. When asked about running in thefall by-election, Robski admits hehasn’t made up his mind as of yet.“Circumstances are obviously very di
ff 
erent than they were in February  when we ran our original election,”explains Robski. He is adament thathis passion for student representationand the SAC haven’t lessened despitehis initial loss or the time that haspassed. While he remains uncertain,Robski admits he is thinking aboutit. “I’m […] more interested in whatother people think about me runningfor this position again […] if there wasa reason I didn’t win the first time,I’m kind of curious to know if there issomething I can improve upon.”Firmly rejectsing the idea of running, Dhanani revealed that hebelieves there should not be a by-election in the fall. He is concernedthat it will be di
cult for someone new to “come in the fall and take charge”.“It takes time for any individual tobuild any sort of relationship andin an organization like SAC wherean individual is working with 2000plus people, one needs to put in sometime to build that relationship withtheir co workers,” explains Dhanani.Following this line of thought,Dhanani explained that he did notthink it would be wise for him to runin the fall by-election.
 
e current SAC executive hasasked Currie not to run again in thefall, a decision that he agrees with. “It would be a bit undemocratic to havesomebody be appointed and then endup running in the election,” explainsCurrie.
 
e by-election will operatethe same as normal with nominations,campaigning, and speeches. Currieis currently planning to extend hisoriginal end of the year report – asrequired of him when he leaves theposition – to cover the summermonths. It is the hope of the SACexecutive to make the transition inthe fall as easily as possible.
 
e SAC would like to thank allthe students for their support andunderstanding during this time.
 
is is unprecedented,” explainsCurrie, “We’ve never had a presidentresign before, so we are doing our bestto make the transition and process aslegitimate as possible.”
 
 w w w . a r g o s y . c
      
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Argosy Publications Inc.
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
2MAY 21, 2009THE ARGOSY • NEWS
Almost 17 months after his arrival at MountAllison, it seems as though Ron Byrne hasfinally found his place. When he first arrivedat Mt. A, Byrne was hired under the title of Vice President Student A
ff 
airs. After recent butlong coming changes, Byrne’s new title is VicePresident International and Student A
ff 
airs. While not so di
ff 
erent from the original, Byrnesays the job has evolved as he’s been here.Byrne’s duties and areas of managementrange far across the university. “You’relooking at Residences, Chaplaincy, Disability Services, Sexual Harassment Advising, theRegistar’s O
ce, including Admissions andRecruitment, the Meighen Centre, Athleticsand Recreation, Student Life, overall enrolmentmanagement, Leadership Mount A, and of course International,” explains Byrne. Widely visible on campus as both anadministrative figure and a participant incampus functions, Byrne’s actual role is a littleless well known. Byrne acknowledges that his job does not primarily deal with the day to day issues of students. “
 
e idea behind my positionis more to keep things at a strategic level so that we bring a level of coherence and consistency across the entire umbrella of Student A
ff 
airs.”Byrne explains that for him the job has notchanged to much as his understanding of hisrole in the community. “What I’ve learnedover the past year is that my position is notthe Manager of Student A
ff 
airs, it’s not theDirector of Student A
ff 
airs, and it’s not theDean of Students.” Byrne explains that for atime beginning last July and continuing almostto the end of this past October, he e
ff 
ectively  was the Dean of Students. While partakingin the role allowed his increased visibility andstudent interaction on campus, it did heavily involved Byrne in the day to day of student life.Crediting this time and his work throughoutthe various factions of Student A
ff 
airs, Byrnesays that it has allowed him to better understandand appreciate his own role. “While I stillcontinue to have a lot of student contact, it is very much student contact aimed at moving[the university] to a di
ff 
erent place,” explainsByrne. He admits that the day to day issues arestill present within his own schedule. However,the involvement in more responsive rather thanimmediate.Byrne says that the biggest changes in thelast year and a half are in the initiatives thatthe department was able to actualize; ideas that were being envisioned as Byrne came into theuniversity.
 
e International Centre marks anaccomplishment for Byrne and Student A
ff 
airs.Explaining the need for one and the lack of the resources for students, Byrne says that theactualization of the centre represents the core of his job; being able to actualize the ideas movethe school forward. With several months of experience now behind him, Byrne says the more advancedcomponents of his job are plausible. “I’m in aposition,” he explains, “of being very intentionalabout creating a strategic vision and missionfor Student A
ff 
airs within the Mount Allisonstrategic vision and mission.”
 
e monthshe spent immersed in the community were,according to Byrne, integral for him to cometo this point. “I’m at that executive table, withthe President’s Executive group, to advise onstudent issues, to advocate for student concerns,and to be able to be there when decisions arebeing made.”As his job has become more centred on thestrategic operation and implication, Byrne saysthat he always remembers how important hisfirst hand interaction with students is. “Youcan’t be so strategic that you’re completely separated, and everything that you’re receivingis coming to you through the people who reportto you,” answers Byrne, “I’m at an incredibleamount of events and I still […] try to get tosome element of sporting event, I try to get to anumber of plays and productions, [and] I try toget to a number of residence functions.” Despite wanting to be as involved as possible, Byrneadmits that there is a limit.“In order for me to be able to focus on thestrategic, I can’t be mired in the day to day kinds of details, which I was when I was Deanof Students.” Byrne, however, isn’t worriedabout the change in his involvement. “In almostevery area that I’m being more strategic in, we have [...] student representatives.”
 
ereappears to be a sort of constant circulation of ideas, conversations, and meetings for Byrne.Balancing university o
cials, academics,and students, he sees the interaction as morebeneficial.Byrne says that accessibility and careercounselling and advising have become key issuesfor students. “
 
ey are making it very, very clear, that they are concerned,” explains Byrne.He is firm that Student A
ff 
airs recognizesthe concerns of students when it comes to theaccessibility to post-secondary education, andthe need to be able to fund it. He also explainsthat he also sees the need for counselling forbecome more well rounded and exploratory.“Students are always interested in finding new  ways for […] activities to take place,” explainsByrne, “[So it is our job] to continue to try tobe creative, and supportive, and to facilitatestudents moving forward.” Byrne cites therecently released Academic Renewal Plan as amedium for the university to support studentsfurther.
 
e options being presented, accordingto Byrne, o
ff 
er students the creativity that hasbeen asked for in the past and acknowledges theawareness and concern students have over their
 Where he is now 
Looking back over the past seventeen months with Ron Byrne
Julie Stephenson
 Argosy Staff 
degrees and time at Mt. A.Addressing issues that came up repeatedly inand from the SAC, such as snow removal andsecurity, Byrne remarks that they aren’t budgetary issues. “
 
ey are more operational issues,”stresses Byrne, “We are certainly aware of thoseand are committed to continuing to looking athow our operations run and what happens.”
 
eissues, although relevant to students and theirconcerns, require a di
ff 
erent sort of evaluationthan do academic and curricular areas.Along with the more immediate issueson campus and with students, Byrne sayshis department has begun focusing on theincreasing student desire to study abroad.A large impediment to those plans are thefinancial assistance most student require. Byrneexplains that financial assistance is a large areaof concern, not only in terms of studying abroadbut also to facilitate studying at Mt. A.“Despite downturns in our endowments,significant downturns - we lost roughly about$ 300, 000 from our endowment pool – we’veutilized other existing funds but we’ve alsomade sure that we had no decreased our o
ff 
ersof scholarships and bursaries,” explains Byrne.He acknowledges that they had an advantage of unclaimed funds from previous years, but stillemphasizes that the increase in funds is moreof an overall expansion and more useful movetowards students.Always looking forward, Byrne explainshis hope to soon compose a Student A
ff 
airsAdvisory committee. It is another avenue in which Byrne hopes to receive student feedback.Byrne sees the potential of regularly updatingstudents, explaining that certainly seems agood way to have students’ voice concerns andmake change based on those concerns. “To bea pipeline,” says Byrne, “to broad representationof Student A
ff 
airs.”Following his concerns about properly representing the students of Mt. A and propellingthe university forward as an institution, Byrnesays he has yet to stop being amazed by theaction and force of the students on campus. “Iam a firm, firm believer that there is not a singlestudent who gets admitted to Mount Allison who cannot make it here.Byrne explainsthat he has increasingly enjoyed the amount of students who have come to him in the hopes of putting their own ideas into action. “Anybody can come up with ten great ideas,” says Byrne,“but it takes that one person willing to makesomething happen.”
Sue Seaborn
Despite the strategic nature of his job, Ron Bryne tries to attend as many student anduniversity-run functions as he possible over the year, such as shown above.
Byrne says he has yet tostop being amazed by theaction and force of thestudents on campus. “I ama firm, firm believer that there is not a single student who gets admitted to Mount Allison who cannot make it here.

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