On Monday, Mar. 30th, Reno Pereira, VP Social of the UNB-SRC, resigned from his position.
Jen Brown, VP Student Affairs, said that Pereira’s resignation was not “announced at council, nor did they read the letter, which they should have.”
Brown’s understanding is that the VP Social’s resignation is because “he was not a registered student here at UNB Saint John.”
It was the responsibility of the UNB-SRC President to ensure that Pereira was a student. However, that duty was not fulfilled, and so Pereira continued to hold the position of VP Social and continued to be paid for said position.
It is unclear whether or not there will be repercussions for Pereira and what those repercussions may be, but “he is obviously not getting paid for the rest of the term”, Jen Brown stated during the interview, “it’s a tough thing because he still did the services”. Pereira still performed his duties as VP Social and satisfied his job requirements, so it is unclear whether or not he should be reprimanded for collecting the paycheque until this point.
Although there will be no new student brought in to the position for what remains of this term, Brown has offered to perform the role of VP Social for the next few weeks as she has held the position previously.
Upon being asked whether or not she would change anything about the way the UNB-SRC is being run as a graduating student, Brown stated that “there are many things that I would change […] the bylaws definitely need to be looked at,” and emphasized that “they definitely need to set money aside to do the bylaws because there are a lot of loopholes and a lot of things that people can get away with.”
Brown states that the bylaws are often “not enforced,” as has been noted in previous years. The last time the bylaws were updated was three years ago, and it was only a small update. Brown feels that the UNB-SRC needs to thoroughly update the bylaws and properly enforce them.
The UNB SRC Policy Manual (2011) states that: “All individuals, elected and appointed, shall be required to sign a contract at the beginning of each year outlining each individuals duties, salaries and other important information including the dates of the bi-annual reviews that are to take place” (35: Employment Contracts, p. 16).
It is also stated in the manual that the Social Director must “present an annual report to council before leaving office” and is “responsible to the president (38: Social Director, p. 18). It is unclear what the date was set for the bi-annual review, or if one was set, for Pereira.
Pereira may have been uninformed/unclear about the “must be a student” rule for the VP Social position, and it is also unclear whether or not that accounts as being irresponsible to the President.
However, the UNB-SRC Bylaws state directly that: “The Members of the Company shall consist of those students enrolled to attend the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.” Furthermore, they must be enrolled as a student “On or before the last day of September and the last day of January in a given year, a Company Registry shall be created by the Vice President Student Affairs in which shall be entered the names, student numbers and e-mail addresses of all persons who are or shall be Members of the Company” (p. 1).
This means that Pereira should have known about this bylaw and around the end of January/beginning of March. At some point, the UNB-SRC should have become aware of the fact that Pereira was no longer a student at UNB Saint John, and thus could no longer retain the position of VP Social.
Bylaw 16 also states that: “In addition, the following persons are disqualified from being on Student Council: (a) any person who is not in good academic standing as defined by the current University of New Brunswick Calendar; or (b) any student who is not a Member in good standing of the Company” (p. 4). Pereira was clearly not “in good academic standing” as he was no longer enrolled at UNB.
- The Vice-President Finance, Vice-President External and Vice-President Social shall receive an honorarium equal to the amount obtained by adding the cost of domestic fulltime tuition plus applicable student fees to One Thousand Five Hundred dollars ($1,500.00). A summer instalment of five hundred dollars ($500.00) per position shall be paid by the 1st of September. The balance shall be paid in two (2) equal instalments. The first instalment shall be paid by December 31st in the year so elected and the second instalment shall be paid by the 2nd Monday in April in the year so elected. (UNB-SRC Bylaws, HONOURARIA, p.6)
When Pereira’s resignation was brought to light, “no one asked why,” says Brown. She went on to say that “It’s very disappointing that we as counsellors, as executive[s], are not wanting to know why”.
Brown ended the interview stating that “as a student, and as an SRC member, I’m very disappointed this happened […] because he was a great guy, Reno, and he had very big potential, and it’s just, it’s very unfortunate it had to come out this way […] I’m very sad, especially as a UNB student.”
She expressed her concerns that students at UNB Saint John have not been speaking up with their concerns toward SRC affairs: “They pay for the SRC […] They spend a lot of money, essentially, for the SRC, and they’re just throwing their money away because nobody’s concerned with the going-ons of it.”
So far, no one else has come forward with information about Pereira’s resignation or what the parameters of his resignation were. It is still unclear whether or not he will be reprimanded, or who is at fault in leaving this information for so long behind closed doors.
Despite the fact that Pereira still performed his duties as per his job description, and fulfilled them in a reasonable fashion, he still should not have been allowed to continue his position as VP Social.
There has been a lot of ‘drama’ in the SRC in the past few years, and it is a shame that these issues are not being addressed before they occur. Brown wanted to be clear that “this is nothing against Reno as a person, I don’t want him to think that, but the SRC is not being held accountable at all for what’s going on.”
Upon being asked about Pereira’s resignation from the position of VP Social, outgoing SRC president Chris Mahar states: “I really don’t have much to say about it really. I think that issue is one that has some personal information attached to it, and I really don’t want to speak on behalf of that person. If that person wants to speak about it, I think they should and be more then willing to, but for me and the SRC it is still business as usual.”
Pereira has refused to comment on his resignation.