The DSU Exodus
by Hannah Lazarus
The Dawson Student Union (DSU) kicked off the Fall semester with a full slate of nine members, but only four remain with the end of the semester fast approaching.
Over the past two weeks, five executive members of the DSU have resigned. They include Chair Treven Goppy, Deputy Chair Terry Tsatas, Director of Student Life Gloria Mutombo, Clubs & Services Director Jonathan Gelinas, and Internal Affairs & Advocacy Director Ryan Therien.
The DSU announced the news during their long-awaited Fall General Assembly (GA), on November 28th.
“Some executive members are no longer part of the team,” explained Mobilization Director, Sarah-Lena Grogg. “Since the loss of Clubs and Student Life, another member, Trey, resigned, who was unable to fill his duties as Chairperson. This is nothing that the DSU wanted to come to. The team here today is here to support you.”
Sustainability Director Aya Chkirate echoed those sentiments, saying, “We have two roles now. Just one role is a lot and now we have a bunch of new responsibilities.”
The duties of the DSU members who left will be taken up by the four who stayed, until the by-elections in January. At that point, students will be able to run for the vacant positions as well as vote in new members.
Terry Tsatas, the previous Deputy, offered three reasons why he quit the DSU: “My first is the lack of time I had,” he said. “My second reason is that because of internal issues with the DSU, I felt like I couldn’t provide for the students the way I had wanted to. Third: happiness. I wasn’t happy there as much as I thought I would be because I couldn’t make the difference I wanted to achieve.”
Tsatas noted that his duties often included standing in for Chair Goppy when he was not available. “Trey wasn’t there a lot because of personal affairs, so I would have to step in and learn on the fly. I did some good and I made some mistakes. It was a positive experience overall. At the end of the day, I don’t think I can give the DSU what I need.”
Before the news of the resignations came to light, a petition calling for the impeachment of several DSU executive members for not fulfilling their duties appeared on Facebook after it had been posted on Spotted: Dawson College. Many people speculated that this was the reason for the sudden exodus of DSU members. This was denied by Tsatas.
“None of the reasons from the petition are the reasons why I left,” he says. “I took the matter seriously. The petition wouldn’t have been valid. Anyone could sign it. You need one petition for each executive member. I knew the good work I was doing, but unfortunately [the petition] was a representation of how the student body felt.”
Another concern being raised is whether or not the resigned DSU members will still enjoy the benefits of having their phone bills and OPUS paid, along with keeping their $500 honorarium. According to treasurer Charanda Fraser Williams, she only signs cheques for the perks of current DSU Executives. Once they quit, no more perks. The same principle applies to the $500 honorarium.
Dawson clubs have also been affected in particular by the resignation of Clubs & Services Director Jonathan Gelinas, who had a host of duties, as the DSU bylaws clearly show.
Sarah Petkau, Treasurer of the Dawson Feminist Union, attributed the DSU’s problems to a simple lack of organization. “We tried to organize events on so many occasions but because the DSU wasn’t organized enough to help us there were so many things we couldn’t do.” She continued, “It was especially hard for us to get members involved since we’re such a new club. I hope that the resignations allow for better organization and communication.”