New leader announced
By Karena Walter
The new interim director of a major provincial student lobby group is vowing to run the organization on a tight budget.
The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance has chosen Rick Martin to fill the vacancy left by Mike Burns, the full-time executive director who was let go earlier this month due to the organization's financial troubles.
In an effort to save money, the new position has been made part-time and will only last until May. Another director will then be chosen as Martin is not interested in a permanent position.
Martin has been OUSA's senior policy advisor for two years and said taking the new job will be a smooth transition one of the reasons he thinks he was chosen for the position. "There was some sense that some stability was needed," he said.
Chris Walsh, Western's University Students' Council VP-student issues, said the choice of the new interim director came down to experience. "Rick, based on his previous experience in Toronto was a great candidate."
The organization will not be hiring anybody else at this time, Martin added. "We'll probably be running things on a tight shoestring."
As for the two unexpected lawsuits which contributed to put the alliance's budget over the top, OUSA has offered to settle, he said. "We're hoping to put that behind us."
Martin's first meeting as director with OUSA's steering committee will be tomorrow and they will discuss the direction the organization should take, he said.
The first item of business will be to formulate a response to the provincial government's report of the advisory panel on future directions for post-secondary education. Martin is also expecting to be busy after the expected government announcement on student aid in the spring. "We're really going to be focusing on the essentials over the next little while," he said.
OUSA represents over 110,000 students across Ontario. Every undergraduate student at Western is a member of OUSA and pays $1.95 in student activity fees to cover the cost of membership.