Ben Manzer has stated that he intends to resign as the Student Representative Council (SRC) vice president of student affairs at the end of the semester.
Manzer made the announcement at the October 26 SRC meeting, stating the following:
“An opportunity came up and I felt that, as much as I wanted to be here, the opportunity was greater in furthering my career so I do apologize to everyone that I will not be here in January.”
Manzer will be transferring to Dalhousie University in the Winter of 2017 and plans to stay on as vice president student affairs, which he was elected to last winter, through the end of the fall semester.
“I am going to take extra steps to provide the proper training to the next official elected to the position so that they can be comfortable and up to speed with everything that I have worked on and completed this year,” said Manzer in an email exchange with the Baron.
“I was elected for this position and I believe it is my duty to fulfill to the best of my ability, for the duration that I am here at this university.”
Manzer’s resignation was met with scathing criticism from some members of the executive, including the president, Jordan Tracey, who accusing Manzer of hiding his plans to resign until after the recent by-election.
“The SRC believes that the announcement should have been made before the by-election so the position could have been filled more efficiently,” said Tracey via email.
Manzer denied he knew he would be leaving before the by-election, which saw nominations close on October 7.
“I made the final decision on October 18. I’m not sure why there have been accusations that I (knew) before the by-election,” Manzer stated in an email.
Jenna Evans, SRC vice president social, also claimed that rumours had been circulating for weeks, however, admits she was not aware of the departure until partway through voting on October 19.
“(It is) selfish considering someone isn’t staying. I think knowing that you are leaving and not telling executive or council about it is not the right way of going about it. “ said Evans during the meeting referring to when the announcement was made
Manzer defended his choices stating, “I chose to announce my intentions because there had been a lot of rumours going around and I wanted to settle the rumours and let everyone know of my intentions…I felt that the best way to do that was at the next council meeting, which was at the end of October.”
The SRC bylaws state that in the event of a vacancy from a resignation, the position may be filled through an appointment process, instead of by-election.
Kjeld-Mizpah Conyers-Steede, vice president external of the SRC, says that the vacancy left by Manzer will be filled by an internal candidate rather than being open to all students.
Although there was discussion about the process no formal vote was taken during the meeting.
“I do not agree that the position should only be held available to council members as was discussed in the meeting,” said Manzer.
“I (think) that it should be open to every student of UNB Saint John in the form of a by-election, to give every student a fair chance at the position, like what we do in the Spring election.”
Conyers-Steede is confident in an internal process producing an effective appointee. “We have so many amazing councilors that are willing to step up to the task,” He stated, referring to Councillors Higgins, Savidant, Rogers, Jardine, and Anumenechi who all indicated they would be interested in the job.
An approximate date for selection will be sometime in November with a date yet to be decided.
Updated Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 9:50 P.M. AST to reflect additional comments from Manzer, Evans, Tracey, and Conyers-Steede.