For the third year in a row, a director has stepped down from the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board.
Bill Papanastasiou, a first-time director handed in his resignation to board chair and chief governance officer (CGO) Chris Walker last week, with the decision being made final at last Friday’s WLUSU board meeting in Brantford.
In January, Papanastasiou, a second-year double-degree student in Laurier’s BBA program, started a co-op term at professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Toronto. This meant that he was unable to continue living in Waterloo.
“I wasn’t able to make any of the board meetings so far [in January] and I didn’t feel I could make any of them in the future,” said Papanastasiou.
“Representation definitely comes into it, I was getting asked questions and I didn’t feel like I was able to answer them.”
Initially Papanastasiou was planning on not taking the co-op option, but deciding to do so after meeting with an advisor, getting the job offer at PwC was too good to pass up.
“I really lucked out this term with the job offer that I got,” he said. “When they offered it, I had to take it.”
Papanastasiou’s decision didn’t come as a shock to the board as he consulted with his fellow directors before resigning, including his brother Tom — who still sits on the board — and Walker.
“He and I had a talk about it in the fall and he had said at that point that he wanted to stay on the board and make a contribution if it was possible,” said Walker. “More recently we chatted and he said that he just felt like he wasn’t making a strong contribution anymore.”
Walker was disappointed to see Papanastasiou — who did not sit on any of the board’s committees — resign, but respected his decision.
“We never like to see a director resign,” he said. “But at least it’s more of a logistical issue, he wanted to remain on the board but he simply couldn’t whereas in the past, people have become disenfranchised or upset with the way things have gone.”
Walker added that the board would not be filling the spot left vacant by Papanastasiou and that it would continue to function with 14 members as opposed to 15. As the chair of the board, Walker holds the tie-breaking vote.
For Papanastasiou, though it ended earlier than he would’ve liked, being a director was a positive experience.
“I learned a lot from it and I met a lot of great people,” he said. “Overall, it was a good experience.”
Papanastasiou added that, should his future co-op schedule permit it, he would be interested in returning to the board in future years.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publishing date.