Volume 95, Issue 63

Thursday, January 24, 2002
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SSSC president Duane Baxter resigns

Hale named interim president

"Dear council..."

Baxter: a tumultuous and troubling year

Boy C testifies in teacher sex trial

UWO to merge business and education

News Briefs

Baxter: a tumultuous and troubling year

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

It's been a rough year for Duane Baxter.

The now former-Social Science Students' Council president's troubles began when news of his council's outstanding Orientation week bills were made public in early November.

The strange saga of former social science head soph Sarah Brock's O-week programming and a string of unpaid bills was the first sign Baxter's presidency was in jeopardy.

Baxter came under fire for holding several council meetings in confidential session and it was suggested he and the council were attempting to hide the truth from students.

Clamouring to deal with the situation, Baxter's said he did not want to make the council's problems public until a situation could be found.

"We were worried about the legal implications of the discussion we were going to have," said Paul Yeoman, a SSSC councillor. "No one on our council is a law student – we are not legal experts."

Baxter maintained throughout the controversy that he had "checked up" on Brock throughout the summer, but the first O-Week budget submitted by Brock was rejected by University Students' Council VP-finance Rob Irvine.

A second budget was never submitted. Baxter said he "took Brock's word" that she had "fixed" the budget.

From British Columbia – where she now lives – Brock maintained she had kept Baxter aware of all budget problems. Baxter soon e-mailed Brock asking for her resignation, but she declined.

Baxter's tumultuous year appeared to reach a head when, on Jan. 9, a motion was put forth by SSSC councillor Eric Fortin to hold an emergency council meeting to impeach both Baxter and VP-finance Owais Rafiq. The motion was defeated and it appeared Baxter's troubles were beginning to clear.

Finally, late Tuesday night, Baxter asked SSSC VP-communications Liz Berman to distribute a final e-mail announcing his resignation for "personal reasons."

VP-academic Ashley Hale has assumed the role of interim president.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001