author: john loeppky and kristian ferguson | editor-in-chief and news editor
Executive sharing load in aftermath
Since Haris Khan’s resignation from the URSU presidency, the wheels have been kept in motion by interim president Jermain McKenzie. Khan was able to provide more context in regards to his resignation.
“I voluntarily stepped down due to personal and familial circumstances. It would have made it difficult for me to give 110 per cent with my family issues. I stepped down rather than do a sloppy job as president. If you’ve seen my past performance, I’ve always went above and beyond. To be a good leader, to be honest with my members, I felt it would be best for me to step down and let someone else do the job.”
Khan also said that the holding of two positions would be difficult for other members of the executive especially with other commitments pulling on them.
“This is a demanding role. It is not a 9 to 5. If someone does think that [that they can executive positions and work outside of the university], they need to check their leadership ideology. I know how much dedication and commitment that is required. It does boil down to an individual’s judgment if they are elected at a student union level, people trust in you. Your priority should be those people.”
Students are beginning to take issue with absences of McKenzie in terms of him holding two executive positions and an education degree internship. Education Master’s student Jacq Brasseur is one of those students.
“I’m really impressed by a lot of the work that comes out of URSU… The reality is is that the board of directors, particularly, non-executive members of the board don’t have the level of experience you would see on other sorts of boards of directors so they may feel less like they’re able to express discontent or express concerns about behaviour that the executive is engaging in. What seems to me is happening is that when an executive is breaking policy and by-laws that the student union is bound to bylaws according to the non-profit act of Saskatchewan, that’s a problem and the fact that nobody is doing anything about that, at least not in a timely manner to me, seems really strange.”
Brasseur pointed out the discrepincies between the by-laws posted in April and the policies being employed as well as the inability of McKenzie to meet the hour requirements set out in the URSU by-laws.
“Taking on the role of an executive is supposed to be a full-time job and although some students might have the capacity to work full-time at two different jobs — I think that we see that in a lot of the students at our university who are full-time parents on top of working full-time, on top of going to school full-time — but I think that it’s really important that people on the executive are providing the upmost level of respect and accountability to their role and I, personally, just find it disrespectful as a student that an executive member isn’t giving 100 per cent of their professional attention to their role.”
When reached for comment surrounding URSU affairs McKenzie declined to answer.
VP of Operations and Finance, Derrick Gagnon said that the focus is now for the executive to work together in order to keep the students’ union functioning optimally. Previous initiatives headed by Khan, such as URSU threads will be transitioned to other members of staff.
“As it stands right now the workload is being done. I know Jermain’s taking a lot right now with clubs and then of course presidential inquiries as well.”
Gagnon also provided his view on McKenzie’s current performance.
“As it stands right now I think he’s doing okay, but as the school year gets more busy I’m sure it will get more difficult and I’m sure we’ll see more executives supporting each other.”
With by-elections on the horizon it is unclear whether the two-term rule implemented last year will apply to McKenzie. General Manager Carl Flis confirmed that such a decision would be up to the board.
For McKenzie’s part, he told Ashley Martin of the Regina Leader Post that he would not be putting himself forward for the position.
I liked the role very much, but I think with some of my other duties right now and other responsibilities, that it wouldn’t be wise for me to continue on as president … I think the nature of the presidency is such where my time commitment at this point doesn’t make that very feasible.”
It is also unclear who will stand for the position. Last year’s leadership runners up included Matt Fedler and Oleksandr Tsuprak, it is uncertain whether either of them, or former executive members such as Shawn Wiskar, will step forward.
By-elections will take place in October.