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AUS VP Finance resigns, citing society’s work dynamic

The Vice-President Finance of the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS)’s resignation was announced at AUS Council last Wednesday.

Xue cited the AUS work environment as motivating factors for her resignation.

“The work dynamic that I experienced within the AUS and the decreasing meaningfulness of the work I found myself having to do was very alienating,” Xue said. “In the end, I could no longer justify such a large time and energy commitment to something that made me unhappy.”

She continued to give examples of the issues in work dynamic she experienced.

“The VP Finance portfolio, as an operational portfolio, can very heavily be affected by other portfolios,” Xue said. “I experienced several issues within the AUS work dynamic that disrupted my ability to run my portfolio the way it was intended to be run. The cash flow stall in January is one serious example.”

Xue explained that she had already made logistical arrangements for her portfolio to ease the transition.

“I’ve […] put memos on files that need to be taken care of in the future,” she said.

As there are only around two weeks before the new VP Finance for the next term will be elected, there will be no interim position. AUS Finance Management Committee (FMC) Chair Rona Hunter said the duties of the VP Finance position would be managed by the FMC until the next year’s VP Finance is elected.

“Members of the [FMC] of the AUS will be working to keep the finance portfolio running smoothly for the remainder of the year,” Hunter said.

AUS President Ava Liu elaborated on the division of work, stating that the tasks of the VP Finance position are currently split between Hunter, Executive Assistant Grant Whitham, SNAX Manager Hasan Nizami, and herself.

When asked about whether the organizational structure of AUS contributed to the large turnover on the executive team, Liu said she felt this year’s high turnover was largely due to bad luck, and that there weren’t any plans to restructure the executive committee.

“[Resignations] don’t usually happen that frequently,” Liu said. “We have discussed some of the more operational roles, such as [the VP] Internal and [VP] Finance, being staffed. It’s something that was discussed two years ago and it was shot down, so it’s not currently open for discussion.”

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  1. AUS Councillor

    This piece is really not representative of how the majority of AUS –including AUS Councillors, the Exec, and Departments– must view the situation. Li, the VP Finance, was often the chief cause of any “poor” work dynamic within the AUS. She had poor relationships with many AUS departmental associations and often strong-armed those around her with deadlines and ultimatums.

    From this piece, it seems like near the end of her term, she was fed up with others not meeting her deadlines, and so she quit her job early. it is ironic since people have been making concessions for her all year. Ask AUS Councillors about the controversy over the “emotional blackmail” episode with the Work-Study Equity Complaint last year. Sorry for the dismissive tone of this comment, but from an insider perspective, I am a little frustrated by this representation of the VP Finance.

  2. AUS Executive Committee

    First, the AUS Executive Committee would like to state that we do not accept the reasons offered for the VP Finance’s resignation as adequate. Instead, we find them irresponsible, and we reject the portrayal of events offered by the VP Finance in this news article. The term of an Executive officer continues until the end of the school year, and it is the responsibility of an officer to fulfill his or her mandate barring extraordinary circumstances. Since there is little work remaining anyway during this last stretch of the year, it shows disrespect to the nature of an AUS position to resign early without an adequate reason. The reason why the Executive finds the cause of this resignation to be inadequate is because the issues that the VP Finance cites regarding the operational nature of the position are merely part of being a team. The portfolios of the other Executive are not “disruptive” to the VP Finance portfolio; it is the responsibility of the VP Finance to aid the students at large, just as it is the responsibility of the President to keep the society going. The AUS Executive is disappointed by the portrayal of this resignation especially since the Executive team collectively offered concessions to the VP Finance to shift around her responsibilities and even to drastically reduce her workload so she would continue on board. The AUS as a whole has been making concessions for the VP Finance all year on many issues when she showed inconsideration and an unwillingness to compromise. Furthermore, the VP Finance quit without advance warning; the extent of the sudden nature of this resignation is to the degree that the VP Finance had been discussing her plans for re-election up until the morning of her resignation. We urge next year’s Executive to be fully committed to their responsibilities as executives and officers to their student body, and to remain informed of the nature of their position. Being a team player is an important character for anyone in a position of responsibility.

    Secondly, the AUS President would like to make a correction to the last part of this article. Re-evaluating the operational workload of the positions is definitely on the table. Two years ago it had been discussed by AUS Council in the form of a motion. There are no motions on the table right now for this discussion, but we are consistently committed to re-evaluating our portfolios to improve our services to students.

    The AUS Executive Committee

    • I understand that the AUS Executive Committee is under a lot of pressure given its record this year, but making these claims is not how I thought the AUS Executive Committee would proceed.

      After I gave my notice of resignation, I was asked to suppress this news so that AUS could control the optics of how it would look as a personal favour to Ava. I agreed to this, given the number of resignations this year, and forwarded my personal statement to Ava which I asked her to release the same time the AUS planned to make its announcement. I found out only recently that the AUS did not, in fact, do so when the Tribune contacted me.

      There are many unsubstantiated fabrications about my lack of compromise and inconsideration. During my time on the AUS, I received praise both privately and publicly for my work. I responded promptly and clearly about operational and substantive items, and provided resources and information to AUS groups and students. I operated under firm deadlines to many units, which is why I must also set deadlines. When timelines are not followed, other portfolios can have a disruptive effect on mine — and they very much have this year. I have made numerous concessions and went along with many Executive decisions that affected the finances of the AUS, even though I did not agree. I was told to conceal several financial improprieties by folding them into the budget. I believe that there’s a difference between being a team player, and letting yourself be taken advantage of. I was not offered concessions nor a reduction in workload when it became clear to me that I could no longer continue in my capacity — I was threatened by the AUS President and called selfish for resigning despite raising legitimate, longstanding concerns that she has been aware of since January. I had not discussed plans nor a platform for re-election; the most I have ever said was that I was considering it when the topic was raised.

      Again, I do understand the difficult optics of the situation, but I do not believe that denying the problem is a wise recourse. It’s quite telling that despite its bevy of departmental associations, committees, Councillors, and affiliates, six out of the seven AUS Executive positions went into extended nominations, and despite that extension, five of these positions will be uncontested or unfilled.

      I was open in my communications with the AUS President in the week following my resignation and kept my personal statement purposefully vague when describing the reasons behind my resignation. I still continue to support the Financial Management Committee in an information/transition capacity, and have taken time to meet with potential VP Finance candidates to answer their questions. I am now asking the AUS Executive Committee to cease defaming me with these claims.


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