SA board of directors sets new tone

Francis Torres appointed interim director of operations, board members now have to track office hours and committee for non-gendered bathrooms formed at first Student Association board meeting of 2017-18

If the Student Association’s (SA) board of directors were looking to set the tone early, Monday’s meeting was mission accomplished.

The SA funds The Dialog.

In their first meeting of their term, the board tackled a litany of items. Ten committees were approved, a new interim director of operations was appointed and greater tracking of work hours was agreed upon.

But it was the overall level of seriousness which perhaps left the greatest impression.

“I’m happy to see more seriousness,” said director of education Tiffany White. “It is a job at the end of the day, and I would like to see people taking this job seriously, especially when dealing with students’ money.”

Following the meeting’s more procedural motions, the board moved to pass a motion implementing accurate tracking of work hours among its members.

The hope is for 2017-18 to set a precedent for future board members, as well as improve upon that which came before.

“I found that there were a lot of people who just kind of coasted through the year,” said White, a returning board member, about last year. “Because we were dealing with so many other issues, we kind of let them slide under the radar and they didn’t earn their pay and they never actually engaged with their students.”

With the executive position of director of operations vacant after the death of Gemeda Beker, the remaining four executive committee members proposed splitting those duties until the 2017 fall byelection. That motion failed.

Instead, the meeting saw business representative Ron Greenberg, St. James campus director Francis Torres and Casa Loma campus director Jasmyn St. Hilaire each make a case for being appointed interim director of operations.

Torres won the most votes in a secret ballot between the three candidates and his appointment was then ratified by the board.

“In talking to (Beker) and just expanding my role within the organization and the school as a whole, I realized that there was so much that I wanted to bring,” said Torres, who will simultaneously serve as St. James campus director. “Taking this responsibility, it’s my way of being proactive in doing so.”

While there were originally nine committees on the agenda for approval, the board moved to approve one more: an ad hoc committee on non-gendered bathrooms—a committee St. Hilaire firmly believes is needed.

“People are still getting harassed and making complaints because they’re uncomfortable to use the bathroom, and that struck a chord with me,” said St. Hilaire, who will proposed and will chair the committee. “Everybody has a right to pee, everybody has a right to use the bathroom without feeling ashamed, or getting beat up or abused over it.”

There is also a “Free to Pee” campaign at the college that is a collaboration between the SA’s Community Action Centre and partners across the college.

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SA board of directors sets new tone