A Note Regarding 2016 CAPS Conference

The purpose of this message is to state both RAPS and RPGSA’s position with regard to issues and concerns raised about the upcoming CAPS 2016 conference.

RAPS and the RPGSA are strongly discouraging all Ryerson M.Pl, BURPl, PLAB and PLAD students, and SURP faculty from attending the CAPS 2016 conference in Banff, Alberta. We are also requesting that no school funds be issued to subsidize participation in this event. This position was developed in three ways: through ongoing discussions with planning student associations from across Canada; through consultation with the M.Pl. student body on November 10, 2015; and through a RAPS meeting on November 9th, where recent undergraduate concerns about the conference were brought up and addressed.

We have taken this position as a result of the following concerns:

  • The CAPS conference is no longer a “student” conference, as its name (Canadian Association of Planning Students) would suggest.

    • In 2015, CAPS changed its mandate as a conference hosted “for students, by students” to a more general conference hosted for “delegates”.

    • There is no longer any representation from planning students or schools in the conference’s administration.

    • There will be exorbitant attendance costs as a result of the venue and date selections for conference, reflecting a disregard for the average student’s budget.

  • The CAPS leadership has not acted in a manner reflective of the values of the planning profession.

    • It has infringed on the organization’s own by-laws.

    • It has actively rejected transparency and accountability.

    • It has repeatedly failed to engage productively with planning school representatives to address these concerns.

Overall, RAPS and the RPGSA believe that CAPS is currently operating in a manner that is contrary to the student spirit of open dialogue, collaboration, and transparency that has characterized the conference in the past. While we believe that this year’s conference still has the potential to be informative for planning students and allow them to develop their professional network, we also feel that the aforementioned concerns are too important to overlook.

Actions we have taken

In addition to sending this formal position statement to our own student body, RAPS and RPGSA have signed off on a letter sent to CIP, co-signed by other student representatives from various planning schools across Canada, explaining our collective discontent toward the new direction CAPS has taken. This letter is attached, and we strongly encourage you to read it to learn further details about this developing situation.

Next steps

Following this letter, RAPS, RPGSA, and other planning student associations will reach out to more planning schools to include more voices in this process.

 

As student associations we aim to develop the social, academic, and professional lives of the SURP student body. Because we do not support the 2016 CAPS conference in its current format, RAPS and RPGSA will work to develop a short-term, alternative forum to provide students with a similar experience to the one past CAPS conferences have provided. This forum will likely be more regional in focus than the national CAPS conference, and will take place as part of the RU Planning Expo in March 2016.

In conclusion, while we respect the individual freedom of all students and faculty to decide whether or not to attend the CAPS 2016 conference, RAPS and RPGSA feel it is necessary as representative authorities to take a strong stance in opposition to detrimental changes to a long-standing, valued student event. It is our hope that this stance will send a clear message to the conference organizers that the SURP student body disapproves of their methods and new direction, and will engender positive change. Our role moving forward is to provide constructive leadership by ensuring that students are well informed about these important issues, and by actively developing solutions to address them. While the future of the CAPS conference remains unclear, RAPS and RPGSA will continue to work with its organizers and other planning schools to achieve a long-term positive resolution that will secure enrichment and networking opportunities for planning students at Ryerson and across Canada.

 

Sincerely,

RPGSA and RAPS

RPGSA Executive

Dominic Tremblay, President

Casey Craig, Vice President

Neil Loewen, Treasurer

Emma Abramowicz, Secretary

Brodie Johnson, First Year Representative

Christopher Yuen, Sustainable SURP Liaison

 

RAPS Executive

Nikolas Koschany, Co-President

Jordan Mcleod, Co-President

Kimiya Behrouzian, VP of Administrative Affairs

Michael Reisman, VP of Financial Affairs

Santiago Martinez, VP of Social Affairs

Kalvis Mikelsteins, Co-Ethics Advisor

Bailey Bradshaw, Co-Ethics Advisor