Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Pants off to YFS

Written by Aliza Libman - Assistant News Editor
Excalibur - Wednesday, 10 March 2004

The ongoing battle between the York Federation of Students (YFS) and its constituency committee (CC) ended last night as the members of CC stormed out of the annual general meeting of YFS, with one walking out with his pants down around his ankles.

“This will be our last attempt to deal with the YFS,” says Wayland Gill, Winters College Council (WCC) president. Gill sits on the CC with all the presidents of college and faculty councils. He says that the majority of them agree with him and will be attempting to “derecognize” the YFS.

“The YFS does not represent the students that we represent,” adds Gill.Gill was disappointed by the amending of the YFS by-laws, new appointments made to council as well as the speaker’s decision to disregard the CC’s February 25 veto of the controversial by-law amendment.

YFS had altered the by-laws a number of times over the course of the past year, most controversially when they changed from a fixed election date in March to a floating date within 12 months of the ratification of a council.

Though the CC vetoed that motion two weeks ago, saying that the YFS had “ignored the will of their membership”, acting-speaker Kiley Thompson ruled that the veto could not be used because it does not fit the conditions required for its use.

“The CC veto is invalid in this motion … It is fully outside the realm of the constituency committee,” Thompson decided.

Despite opposition from several council members, the agenda called for the passing of the by-law amendments as a whole, rather than by individual amendment.

As the by-law amendments were all adopted, Gill and other CC members in attendance became upset for the second time in the meeting. Earlier in the meeting, Gill had tried to nominate former frosh bosses and Winters students Shaun Waterman and J.J. Stocker to the vacant council positions for Winters representatives.

However, a secret ballot conducted by the YFS elected second year chemistry student Iris Reyhan, who lost the Keele councillor election in November, and first year student Daniel Cooper as Winters YFS councillors. YFS president Paul Cooper (of no relation to Daniel) nominated them both.

Other positions filled were for Atkinson College and Glendon College. The Atkinson Students Association appointed their own councillors, as per a contractual agreement between Atkinson and the YFS.

Aurangzeb Mubshar and Boris Augilero were ratified as Atkinson representatives, though they were not present at the meeting.

Some council members objected to the appointment, noting that the Atkinson representatives were not duly elected.

“Why didn’t they run in the past election?” asked vice-president academic and university affairs Stefan Santamaria. Two councillors who had been acclaimed in November’s elections, who were on Santamaria’s slate, were never ratified, due to the agreement between the YFS and Atkinson.

Two more seats were filled for the Glendon representatives, as standing councillors Ron Fiedtkou and Hossein Samiian, who were elected in March 2002, had been removed from their positions on January 28 because of claims by the YFS that they missed too many meetings.

Founders College Council president Curtis Phills nominated Fiedtkou and Samiian to resume these positions, while president Cooper nominated Christopher Mahon, a second year political science and economics student who serves as a student senator, and Joseph Lavoie, a first year political science student who had directed the Glendon Extreme Sports club.

In the scrutinizing period, Mahon and Lavoie were asked if they were bilingual and were asked to answer questions in French. Lavoie, who is bilingual, did so, while Mahon told the council in French that he was working to improve his French at Glendon but is not bilingual.

Fiedtkou and Samiian were not present at the meeting and could not respond to the questions asked, but council was told that Samiian is bilingual.

A secret ballot elected Mahon and Lavoie to council.

To the members of the CC, the events of the meeting were the last straw.

“It’s important for us to interact with responsible student governments. We’re interested in working with anyone else – we’re just not interested in working with the YFS,” says Phills.

Phills expects that Founders College Council will follow the WCC’s example and pass a motion directing council not to affiliate with the YFS. Other councils plan to do so as well, he says.

“It’s been discussed among the members of the CC, informally,” says Telle Vilkama, president of Calumet College Council.

Gill notes that his council will not be permitting YFS to participate in their orientation in September.

“It’s a farce, they’re useless,” he says. Gill left the meeting in boxer shorts, with his pants around his ankles to show disdain for the council.

YFS is not concerned by the actions of the CC, though.

President Cooper chalks the outburst up to differences of opinion, noting that CC members have to expect to disagree with some actions of council.

“We’re disappointed that their disagreement with us has led them to take such unilateral and undemocratic action,” says Cooper, calling their actions “irresponsible”.

Cooper adds that they are still planning to work for all students, and with any council who wishes to collaborate.


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