By: Yelin Gemma Lee, News Writer
On January 5, 2022, Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) president Gabe Liosis announced his resignation due to mental health challenges intensified by the pandemic. His resignation will take effect on January 24.
As per SFSS by-law 14, vice-president internal and organizational development Corbett Gildersleve will be taking over the term. The resignation notice detailed Gildersleve will serve in this role until May 1 when the next elected president will begin their term. Additionally, Council will be appointing an acting vice-president internal and organizational development to take over Gildersleve’s role during this interim period.
Liosis began serving on the SFSS executive council in 2020 as the vice-president university relations. He was later elected president in the Spring 2021 general election. Liosis attributed his time serving the student body through SFSS as “the greatest honour of [his] life.”
In his resignation notice, Liosis explained the combination of his position’s workload and the pandemic worsened his mental health. He said he’s currently experiencing “severe anxiety and depression.
“I — like many people my age were — began to grapple with deep mental health challenges associated with social isolation and burnout, which worsened over the next 21 months,” said Liosis. “It became increasingly unbearable over the last two years, not only because of the pandemic, but performing an incredibly difficult job on top of that. My anxiety has become particularly bad since returning to campus for in-person learning in September 2021.”
Liosis stated he is no longer in a position to take on the responsibilities attached to the role of president. He wrote it is not within his current capacity to “lead the charge in moving the Society in the direction that it needs.
“When you decide to run for president of a student society [ . . . ] you also bear the burden of representing and advocating for your friends, your peers, and marginalized communities — you are expected to perform your best as anything less will result in harm to those people and groups.”
Liosis expressed his gratitude and solidarity in his statement and said this was a very difficult decision which was ultimately decided by putting his health first.
“I do not, and will not, regret taking any actions I deem necessary to protect my mental health, even if it means stepping away from a job that I love with immense passion.”