A month-long war of words over whether or not the executive of the Fine Arts Student Alliance had the right to terminate their VP finance came to a close last night with the student’s name being cleared and with calls made to modify FASA’s embattled constitution.
“I’m satisfied and I feel it was productive,” said former VP finance Laura Glover following FASA’s council’s unanimous decision to clear her of all allegations made against her by the executive. “I just hope that issues like this don’t come up again in the future.”
The issue in question revolved around FASA executive asking Glover in a letter dated Sept. 1 to resign from her position after only four months, citing a lack of confidence in her ability to attend to the responsibilities of the position. The letter was signed by co-presidents Paisley Sim and Neal Moignard, and CC’ed to Tricia Middleton, the student relations coordinator in fine arts.
In Glover’s opinion, the move to remove her was unconstitutional, for according to FASA’s constitution, the president or presidents cannot terminate a member of the executive. Such an action would require a two-thirds majority vote by council.
For their part, the executive maintained that what they did was legal, due to the fact that the finance VP is not elected, but rather appointed and paid an hourly wage. This title-related confusion brought about a constitutional catastrophe that lasted for weeks.
During that time, a website set up by fine arts students, calling itself FASA reform, published private emails sent between the executive and certain member clubs of the alliance, which defamed the image of FASA, according to co-president Paisley Sim.
“FASA reform’s website and its Facebook page should now disappear because it has certainly done some damage to FASA,” she said.
The motion passed last night also cleared the executive of the allegations made against them on the FASA reform site.
Sim feels that the alliance will now be able to move forward because the VP finance predicament has made the council fully realize that they inherited a constitution that was far from perfect.
This was made highly obvious last night, as vague constitutional clauses provoked a melee of emotions and opinions among FASA’s 17 member associations. In the middle of it all, a newly-appointed neutral chair did his best to keep everyone focused on the topic at hand, which was far from easy.
Glover, who officially resigned from her position at last night’s council meeting, was permitted to make a statement in which she said she felt her character had been diminished by the executive’s reasons for her firing, most of which she claimed were not true.
“I also want to reiterate that these reasons were never communicated to me in a personal setting,” she said to applause from those gathered.
Among the allegations were the fact that Glover had apparently failed to return FASA’s keys and that she was partly to blame for the alliance’s surplus, a statement that was retracted by the executive at last night’s meeting even before the motion clearing Glover’s name was passed.
Although the former finance VP maintains that most of what was said about her was false, Sim would not comment on the issue, stating that she preferred not to dwell on the past.
“Seeing as FASA has now come to a decision on this point, I’d rather just look at the future,” she said, promising that many exciting things are to come for fine arts in the coming year.
So FASA’s executive’s right to terminate Glover’s position may still not be completely clear, but representative AJ West says he is content with what was hashed out at last night’s meeting. The cinema students association, of which West is a member, as well as the dance students association had been at the forefront of calls for more transparency at FASA, going as far as proposing a formal recall of co-presidents Sim and Moignard for, among other things, creation of an unconstitutional executive position.
“Council should not contain elitist, dictatorial co-presidents who bully and threaten fine arts students,” said West in his presentation to council.
West indicated that an email sent by co-president Moignard to CSA, DSA as well as the design art student association seemed to allude that their club status under FASA could be jeopardized due to their opposition.
In any event, the motion for recall was never considered, but West feels transparency has been attained.
“We didn’t necessarily expect that motion to go through in the beginning anyway,” he said. “Our goal was to have council discuss the executive’s decision [regarding Laura Glover’s termination] and that’s what they did and they decided on it. So it’s great.”
At the very end of the meeting, well past 11 p.m., a motion was passed to set up an ad hoc committee composed of one member of the executive (current VP finance Julie Johnston), four members of the council, and one student-at-large to offer recommendations on modifying the constitution to ensure once and for all that such warfare among students never takes place again.