NAITSA President ‘no longer acting in her duties’

by | Oct 17, 2022 | News

After a shocking announcement that Kaedee Fythe Torrino would no longer serve as NAITSA President, students are left wondering what happened, and what might happen next. The decision was announced in a press release issued by NAITSA on September 27th. It stated that “effective immediately, Kaedee Fythe Torrino is no longer serving as NAITSA President.” 

While the press release was light on details, the remaining Executive Council (EC) explained more to the Nugget. “We had some internal matters that had to be addressed. And unfortunately, the outcome was that Kaedee will no longer be serving as President. As we said, the Executive Council will be committed to ensuring that the student experiences are in focus going forward.”

When asked about the matter, the Executive Council declined to comment on what sparked the change, or why it happened.  “As part of our agreement with Kaedee’s departure from her role as President, we will not be disclosing any details of her leave,” they said.

They aren’t concerned with idle speculation, either. When asked if they were worried students might gossip or not get the full picture, Jody Gylander, VP External, responded with a simple, “No.” 

“People gossip and whatnot all the time about anything, and I think the work that we do and the student experiences that we’ve provided and the advocating we do for students should put any concerns at ease.” 

If students do have concerns, the executives encourage them to stop by their office for a chat. “The primary function of our role is that if students have concerns, they have someone they can talk to. There are certain things we can’t speak to, but we always want to focus on making sure that students feel comfortable here at NAIT and satisfied with the leadership that they have,” Gylander said. 

“Our virtual and our physical doors are as open as they can be,” Saison added. 

But the EC did assure the Nugget that Fythe Torrino’s departure shouldn’t alarm students. “Throughout our entire term, students have always been our focus and our priority,” Gylander asserted. “At no time have students ever been in jeopardy of being misrepresented.”

Fythe Torrino, who also previously served as a NAITSA Senator, plans on focusing on her studies during her remaining time at NAIT. PHOTO BY NAITSA

“None of the decisions that were made, like Jody said, have affected students in a meaningful way,” Tyleen Saison, VP Internal, added. “With this change, it’s more of an internal matter, and we wanted to … make sure our focus can still remain on creating that best student experience.” 

Former President Fythe Torrino was similarly reluctant to shed light on what occurred. Instead, she offered the experiences and lessons she learned in her role. “I signed up for the role to experience and to learn and grow, [I learned a lot about] leadership, teamwork, politics, lobbying the government, schedule planning, public speaking and strategies. A lot of learning, and that made it worthwhile.” 

“It was an adjustment, there’s a lot with learning when it comes to a role like this.”

Fythe also offered some insight to the challenges a student executive can face. “The spotlight is so bright. There’s a lot of things that come through it and anybody should be careful when it comes to the role.” 

She added that “you have to count your wins at the end of the day, what did you learn, did you matter, did you get to help somebody, did you have a positive impact? There’s a lot to reflect on.” 

While she isn’t certain what’s next for her, Fythe Torrino wants to focus on her studies. “As of now, my priority is to finish my program. I don’t know if I’ll pursue anything else for now.” 

The Executive Council is in a similar position. According to the press release, “The Executive Council will share the responsibilities of the President role until the NAITSA Senate convenes in October, where [the Senate] will determine the next steps in accordance with NAITSA Bylaws.” 

Regardless of what happens next, the Executive Council’s end goal has always been the student experience. As the press release stated, “The NAIT Students’ Association and the remaining Executive Council members are committed to our mission to enhance your student experience by advocating for your rights, representing your voice, creating a culture of engagement and leadership, while providing student driven services.”

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