Regina council sued
By Dave Yasvinski
Members of the University of Regina Students' Union are in the midst of a lawsuit after firing the editor-in-chief of their student newspaper.
Three members of The Carillon the editor-in-chief, the managing editor and a news editor were terminated over the summer by the URSU for alleged financial mismanagement. The lawsuit was initiated in August by Hannah Scissons, news editor at the time, who was to assume the position of editor-in-chief in September.
"In July I received a letter that I had been retroactively fired from March when I was an editor," Scissons said.
She said she filed the lawsuit in the hopes of showing the URSU she was wrongfully dismissed and, hopefully, be reinstated as editor-in-chief. "They have yet to prove any mismanagement on my part. It's something they're getting away with I had no other option."
As news editor, Scissons said she had signing authority but she never actually signed anything. "A news editor is not responsible for finances at all," she said, adding this may not be the real reason she was fired.
"I can only speculate there has to be a different reason. There have been some conflicts between The Carillon and the students' union. There's been a history of not very good relations," she said.
Sheldon Stener, lawyer for URSU, said the lawsuit will now go to mediation where the disputing groups will have the opportunity to sit down and discuss the case. "There are a lot of chances for the resolution of this matter before it goes to trial."
Stener added lawsuits like this often take time to settle. "It could take several years to get through this," he said.
Once Scissons was terminated, the duties of editor-in-chief fell on the shoulders of copy editor Jovita Cherian and Anna Scott on an interim basis. Cherian said relations between The Carillon and the URSU this year have been good so far.
"There were a lot of conflicts last year [but] we stress not carrying over old tensions," she said.
By January, The Carillon will become autonomous from URSU partly as a result of this incident, Cherian added. "This is something initiated by the students' union as a result of the things taking place. It's something we wanted to do but we didn't think it would happen this soon," she said.
Jim Walden, general manager of the University Students' Council at Western, said he has never seen a situation with The Gazette serious enough to warrant a termination. The relationship between the USC and The Gazette has been a good one over the years, Walden added.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I don't see anything to indicate it's ever been broken," he said.
It would be hard to imagine financial mismanagement leading to problems between the USC and The Gazette, said Ian Armour, USC president. "Financial mismanagement would be difficult because of the number of checks and balances in place."
Scissons said the mediation portion of her lawsuit should begin soon but she is becoming less and less optimistic she will get her job back. "So long as it is practical, I'm hoping to be reinstated. I want my legal costs covered and a statement that says I shouldn't have been fired it was wrong in my opinion."