Jamie East resigns from PrideWestern post

Former co-ordinator says USC's treatment of service 'inconsistent'

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Two more PrideWestern resignations occurred Wednesday, including that of co-ordinator Jamie East.

Confusion ensued earlier this week as East initially appeared to be fired by the University Students’ Council. However, USC VP-campus issues James Arthurs quickly clarified East would be vice-chairing PrideWestern, with him at the helm.

Yesterday morning, PrideWestern director of finance and administration Chelsea Cameron told The Gazette East officially resigned from his position and would not accept the vice-chair position.

In addition to East, PrideWestern’s off-campus representative, Josh Taylor, announced his resignation Wednesday on the service’s message board.

The operations of PrideWestern will now be the responsibility of an ad hoc executive committee, composed of Arthurs and the remaining PrideWestern executives, USC Board of Directors, and USC legal counsel and acting general manager Kendell Wilde.

Stephen Tang, a residence life professional and diversity consultant, will serve as special advisor to the committee.

Arthurs thanked East for his hard work with PrideWestern and said that the offer of a vice-chair position still stands.

“I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job, but I know 100 per cent that I did the best job I could,” East said.

“All the little problems started snowballing, and me, with my time restraints, couldn’t manage it.”

East said he chose to step down to focus on his studies in light of his upcoming graduation. He also shared his negative sentiment on the USC’s involvement in PrideWestern.

“If it was my leadership, why didn’t [the USC] step in sooner?” East questioned. “And if my removal was imminent, why wasn’t I notified before?”

The Gazette received a copy of East’s resignation letter to Arthurs, in which the former co-ordinator said the USC showed inconsistent support for PrideWestern.

“We were forced to change the name of the Homohop ... because of a ‘mandate’ that was written by last year’s [VP-campus issues],” East said in his letter.

“Then after more research after the event, I discovered that [Western] and [the University of Toronto] are not the only universities that have Homohops, rather a great deal of them do, and none of them are asked to change the name of the function.”

East also cited the USC’s goal of planning activism and campaigning on behalf of those affected by the Canadian Blood Services’ controversial policy banning men who have had sex with men from donating blood. East said no such campaigning has yet occurred.

Josh Ferguson, director of Students Against Queer Discrimination, the activist group that has fought the CBS ban, is concerned about the current state of PrideWestern.

“I think that the fragmentation of PrideWestern has affected the queer community at Western,” he said.

“I’m a little bit worried the [USC] reacted late on this issue.”

Ferguson said that SAQD will likely have to absorb the void left by PrideWestern. “It would be potentially disastrous not to have any service in place.”

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