SFSS internal conflict follows alleged physical altercation

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UPDATE (10/31/2019): For an updated version of this story which discusses an external report finding no evidence of foul play in this incident, read this follow-up article.

On Friday, Oct. 11, an incident occurred in the SFSS’s Maggie Benston Centre office that has environmental representative, Monique Ataei, calling for the resignation of member services officer, Moe Kopahi.

Ataei claims that Kopahi lent her his phone to place a call, and when he changed his mind due to privacy concerns, Kopahi grabbed the phone from her hand, inadvertently striking Ataei in the face as he pulled the phone away.

Kopahi stated that he asked Ataei repeatedly to return his phone to him because he “did not feel safe nor comfortable” with the person Ataei was calling having his personal contact information. “I got out of my seat, and grabbed my phone from her hand, which on the way . . . touched her lips,” Kopahi wrote in a statement.

Ataei stated that Kopahi didn’t seem to notice that he had struck her, and was yelling and cursing. While Ataei said that she received no apology from Kopahi, he claims that he told her that his phone hitting her lips was not intentional, apologized, and offered her a hug, which she did not accept.

According to Ataei, the cell phone struck her on her jaw and upper lip, not damaging her nose or cheek. SFU Campus Security was called by a friend of Ataei’s, who she told immediately of the incident. Kopahi left the campus before Campus Security arrived at the SFSS office. SFU Campus Security confirmed that they responded to an incident at the date and time in the MBC area, but can confirm nothing else due to privacy policies.

Ataei claims that she stayed in the SFSS office until 1:30 a.m., icing her face. Her biggest concern, however, is the lack of action from other SFSS board members following the incident.

“The IRO did not contact me,” said Ataei, referring to internal relations officer, Kevin Zhang. “I waited three days for an email from the IRO.”

According to Ataei, Zhang and president Humza Khan were both aware of the incident, but did not contact her until after the weekend. “They didn’t know to what severity it [was] . . . They didn’t know anything. They just knew that I got hit,” said Ataei.

The following Tuesday night, Zhang sent Ataei a text message apologizing for not handling the situation sooner.

He continued, “Lying is wrong regardless whether you win or not. Once you lie and twisted the truth, you can hurt the people around you and you will regret it for the rest of life. I sincerely hope to speak to you asap and I hope that you remain faithful to your morales[sic] and integrity.”

Another concern of Ataei’s is the office environment that allowed this conflict to take place. “This incident that happened is not something that would occur in an environment that is safe and supporting and comforting,” Ataei stated.

 

quotes1Monique Ataei has created an unsafe space for male board members of the SFSS.”

-Moe Kopahi, SFSS member services officer

 

The Peak first learned of the incident when Ataei sent out an email to board members and other university stakeholders stating that she would not be returning to the SFSS board office, due to a “lack of safety.”

Ataei wrote, “I will not be setting my foot in the SFSS office, for I have seen the lack of response incidents receive from the majority of the executive.”  In response, business representative, Brandon Chapman, replied: “This email is unacceptable. You are supposed to be a professional. Stop acting like a child.”

The underlying problem, according to Ataei, is one of a hostile work environment. Throughout her interview with The Peak, Ataei repeatedly stated that she did not feel safe in the SFSS office. “This isn’t the first time I’ve felt scared in the offices,” she said.

In his statement, Kopahi criticized Ataei for her handling of the situation. “Monique Ataei has created an unsafe space for male board members of the SFSS by sending a mass email . . . claiming false accusations.” Kopahi went on to say that he now feels unsafe holding his office hours, and is fearful that someone who has heard fragments of the incident will come to his office with “negative intentions.”

Ataei has requested that the remainder of her voluntary stipend for her year-long term be paid out, a sum of $6,125, after which she plans to resign, as she said she no longer feels she is able to carry out her due diligence in the position.

Ataei is also calling for Kopahi’s resignation, and for Zhang to be disciplined within the SFSS and to be stripped of a month’s worth of his stipend. Kopahi has no intentions to resign, and stated that he will continue in his duties as MSO.

Ataei said she chose to make the incident public because she hopes to change the environment within the SFSS offices. “I’m bringing this externally because nothing happened internally,” said Ataei.

She continued, “I don’t want a student to go through what I did . . . The fact that this could happen appalls me.”

On Friday, the SFSS released an official statement, saying, “The assistance of external parties is being pursued to investigate the incident further and reach a resolution. Meanwhile, other options are being pursued to ensure all Board of Directors members have access to a safe work space to continue with their mandate of serving SFU students.”

“The Simon Fraser Student Society continues to take the safety of its members, staff, and Board of Directors very seriously.”

*Comments on this post have been moderated in accordance with The Peak‘s anti-libel and anti-slander policies*

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105 COMMENTS

  1. It’s very disturbing, although no longer surprising, when what seems like Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) co-opt the language of feminism and anti-oppression to try and claim some kind of victim status. After an alleged assault the member services officer of the Simon Fraser Student Society is quoted:

    “Monique Ataei has created an unsafe space for male board members of the SFSS by sending a mass email . . . claiming false accusations.”

    This kind of bullshit, after an alleged assault against a woman in the offices of the SFSS, is breathtakingly manipulative and a typical example of the kind of MRA rhetoric that seeks to claim oppression when called out on blatantly violent or misogynistic actions.

    Our campuses are not safe for women. SFU needs to deal with this swiftly.

  2. I don’t understand why Monique was expecting a contact from IRO (Internal Relation Officer) aka Kevin Zhang. According to By-Law 4:

    2. The Internal Relations Officer shall:
    a) Act as a liaison between the Board and its EMPLOYEES
    b) Coordinate all staff relations functions, activities and policies.
    c) Ensure Compliance with and enforcement of all relevant collective agreements, employment contracts and staff relations policies.
    d) Be a signing officer.

    Where does it mention that IRO has to act as a HR?

  3. Unfortunately this article is missing some information which I would like to add:

    1) “Kopahi left the campus before the campus security arrived at the office”
    in my response, nobody told me security was coming and this article is making me look like I fled the scene. I spoke to the security on Monday and gave my statement as requested.

    2) I did not noticed the phone had hit her lips because she was walking away with my phone and her face was not visible to me. I did apologize after I noticed it, and I do have a witness who was in the room.

    3) Alleged means it is said without a proof. I have no intention of hurting anyone, men or women. I just want to do my job and serve the society. Monique and I have known each other since high school, and maintained a good friendship through out SFU as well. I am very upset that she has the thought that I had any intentions, but I just want to do my job.

    Those of you who need clarification on this story, on what I do, or anything related to me, please don’t hesitate to come see me at MBC2220 or contact me via email mso@sfss.ca so that hopefully I can clarify any misunderstanding.

      • His definition is correct, alleged means “without proof”, meaning something that does not hold any merit unless evidence suggests otherwise. There is no “yet.” Thankfully we reside in a state where we are innocent until proven guilty.

        “Your intentions are meaningless in this instance.”

        The BC Judicial system would disagree with that notion…

        • Are you implying this should be a criminal case? In this instance, a hostile work environment and a facial injury exist. I don’t particularly care – and unless you’re a judge in a criminal matter, nor should you – whether or not so and so *meant* to do something. It is done. Rectifying it is the important matter. This is a moral and ethical issue centred around leadership at SFU. It is derailing to suggest that someone’s stated intentions after the fact are more important than the continuing campaign of harassment.

          As for the YET – while the denotation of “alleged” is indeed without proof – the connotation used by Moe above is that the proof doesn’t exist, rather than that it is not on display here. ANY assertion like this in a media context is “alleged” because it has not been proven in a court of law. It is a caution around legal liability, not a judgement about the merits of the assertion.

          Shame on everyone who is so outraged that someone who has been the subject of harassment and suffered injury dare to say so out loud. Shame on this victim blaming and shame on the reflexive embrace of the status quo and refusal to rock the boat. How embarrassing for SFU.

          • I’m going to ignore that you’re using all of the “alleged” facts as truth right now (though I hope if you were ever accused of something you’d enact your rights under the Canadian Charter to a presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial as a citizen equal under the law).

            You have made a previous post on this thread: “Someone who uses force to grab something that results in facial contusions does not get to share blame with the person they hit.”

            Actually they do (contributory negligence or self-defense, for example – remember the Zimmerman trial?).

            Similarly, you have the right to protect your own property (the phone) and privacy (her dialing a number to which he didn’t want to reveal his own).

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe Moe did try to hurt her, but nobody knows that except him – from the facts you and I have available, he tried to get his phone back by request, she didn’t comply, she walked away, and as anyone would do, Moe wanted his ~$500 phone back. There was incidental contact in grabbing it back from her face – what else was he supposed to do though? Keep asking and let her walk away with his property while giving up his privacy?

            Surely you can’t presume that it was his intention to hurt her? Perhaps he was reckless in the method he used to re-claim his phone, but to allege that an otherwise normal person all of a sudden decides to assault (physically or sexually) a woman for absolutely no reason (there is no motive based on the facts in the article), is absurd.

            Defamation is a rich man’s law, so unfortunately Moe can’t even protect his reputation due to the high costs. He’s now being branded as a person who performed some sort of twisted attack on an innocent girl… let’s use our common sense here people, there is nothing to show that he is that type of person. At worst, he accidentally caused her harm, but by law and in my own opinion, he had the right to protect his property with reasonable force (ex. knocking somebody down who was about to throw a stone through your window).

            You have previously mentioned nobody here is a Justice in a Court of BC, so we should reserve judgement – you should follow your own thought process and reserve your moral judgements on the accused.

            PS: I’m a former SFU student now in law school – so please don’t respond arguing about how law works – I think I’m probably in a better position of understanding. If you would like to educate me on the facts – if I’ve missed something in the article or something you know for a fact is misstated – please do respond.

          • Hypothetically speaking, it should be treated as a criminal case. Allegations surrounding assault with an object (causing facial contusions) is a very serious criminal offense, and one that should have been reported to the police immediately after the incident. Additionally, prior concerns surrounding a hostile and unsafe working environment should have been recorded and documented with the institution and employment standards. If they were, then great, she may be eligible for monetary compensation.I am not blaming the victim here but these are standard practices that she did not follow.

            Of course this is all moot since it appears to be an unfortunate accident. I cannot comment on the state of the SFSS or SFU since I am a UBC student.

        • I really can’t believe that you think that this article skewed things in Monique’s favor. It didn’t. If anything it leads people to believe that Monique is exaggerating. The article does not challenge your claim that it was an accident and it quotes when it quotes Zhang in an email to Monique stating basically the he suspect her of lying. MOE! YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIM. You are not the one that got whacked in the face. Get over it. At best you over-reacted and acted more aggressively than the situation needed and you should admit it, apologize and probably resign.

          • “For trying to reclaim his own phone when she wouldn’t give it back? lol you’re an idiot”

            Figure this will be absolute last post here because the person above just stole my username and posted a moronic reply.

            Good luck all.

          • What a jerk for hacking your account. . . Sry for posting my response to Moes on your thread. Kinda screwed that up.

    • I just realized something . . .

      In this post Moe gives out his office number, but in the article he states:

      “Kopahi went on to say that he now feels unsafe holding his office hours, and is fearful that someone who has heard fragments of the incident will come to his office with “negative intentions.” – See more at: http://159.203.128.194/2013/10/sfss-internal-conflict-follows-alleged-physical-altercation/#sthash.G2xzpAZa.dpuf

      If he really felt so unsafe about someone coming to his office “with negative attentions”. Why did he just broadcast his office room number for everyone to see?

  4. I have known Moe along time, before the SFU pub renovation days and he has always respected women. I’m sure it was just an accident, I mean phones are important to people and accidents can happen in tuggle wars. I’m sure it’s happened to everyone with a brother or sister they cared about.

  5. It’s unfortunate what happened but it sounds like an accident and a subsequent overreaction to me. The phone should have been returned when it was asked for and because it wasn’t, Monique is also responsible for the scuffle. I have known Moe for years and it bothers me to see him demonized this way. I also think it is unreasonable of Monique to demand full payment of her stipend for work she is not going to do, especially in response to an isolated incident she shares responsibility for. As a student who pays into the SFSS, I am not okay with that.

        • Why do so many people become skeptical as soon as it is stated that she has bruises from this? The first thought that came in my mind was if she was hit that hard could it really be an accident? I can’t understand why people are so shocked that a violent act happened so close to home and everyone first assumption is that the person making the claim of injury is lying. Read what Zhang said to Monique

          ““Lying is wrong regardless whether you win or not. Once you lie and twisted the truth, you can hurt the people around you and you will regret it for the rest of life. I sincerely hope to speak to you asap and I hope that you remain faithful to your morales[sic] and integrity – See more at: http://159.203.128.194/2013/10/sfss-internal-conflict-follows-alleged-physical-altercation/#comment-1091428154

          He begins by lecturing her about lying! Great way to manage the situation . . . . by challenging the injured party’s integrity in a passive aggressive way.

      • Were there bruises? The article mentions an ice pack, but no bruises. Both Ataei and Kopahi corroborate that it was an accident — I’m no expert, but doesn’t it seem pretty tricky to hit someone accidentally if they released the phone in their hands without resisting?

      • These days phones are very personal things. I’ve let people use my phone then request to have it returned because I realize something is on there that is too personal for that person to see, especially iPhones where once you are in the phone, you have access to all the apps unless that app has a specific password. That being said, I have been mildly injured by my friends of both genders, and I have also mildly injured my friends a few times trying to get phones back when we held onto it for longer than the other party would have liked us to. Returning people’s personal objects when asked will prevent this, but ideally force should not be used either. Of course no one is perfect and having this huge amount of personal information in someone else’s hand can be very stressful in that moment.

        “Ataei stated that Kopahi didn’t seem to notice that he had struck her”

        Well in that case maybe she should have told him “you hit my face” right away and if you did, he should have apologized, and if he did then great. If you told him later, I’m hoping he apologized when he found out. Having thought of all of this, I can’t see why this has become such a huge issue and an issue about gender as well. I’m sure he would have grabbed that phone if it was a guy as well, as I’ve said before I have been in many phone grabbing situations and it’s quite normal to see lol. Reading this I just can’t believe how blown up this whole issue has become.

        tl;dr seems like a huge overreaction to me that could have been solved internally if both sides were civil and reasonable.

  6. Workplace Violence & Harassment:

    If the allegations are true, then it would have been wise to notify the
    police immediately after the incident to at least provide an official record of
    the incident. If this was not done, then the onus is now on the victim to
    provide verification of the incident to the organization or employer. If there
    were no witnesses present at the time of the incident, and if there is no
    evidence suggest the “attack” was premeditated (threats, prior incidents) then the victim does not have much of a case. In fact, the alleged suspect may press formal charges for seditious libel seeing how these unsubstantiated allegations where made public in this fashion.

    -Law student

    • We can’t always assume that everything everyone is saying happened actually happened, or that all the information of the event has been provided. It’s possible Moe didn’t ask at all for the phone back, or asked for it back a while simultaneously taking it. It’s also possible that Monique provoked him.

      At the moment it’s difficult to say which story happened for certain. Without witnesses and knowing the events that led up to the alleged assault.

      I’m reminded of the story that is given to law students about a man who may have killed himself by jumping off of a building but also being shot accidentally by a rifle he had loaded.

  7. I’m a recent SFU graduate and the previous External Relations Officer of the SFSS. I think what many of you fail to realize is that this has been escalating for about two years now, with situations where certain board members have continually been harassed by the same select few individuals. I can’t blame you for not understanding the entire situation, considering that the article only cites the one escalated event and does not provide a thorough context to justify using external means over this one single issue. Speaking from personal experience, Monique has witnessed first hand the attempts of others to resolve matters internally with little success.

    Because the Board of Directors functions as the highest level of the Society, there is little, if any consequence, if a member of the Board chooses to be unethical, practice abhorrent office etiquette, harass others, or fail to meet the very generic requirements of their position. The sad truth is that the Board of Directors is just a popularity contest. Even if a board member is clearly doing wrong, so long as they have enough support from other voting members, they won’t need to worry about consequence. So perhaps, instead, this story should serve as an introduction to some of the major issues that occur within the governing body of your student society.

    Welcome to politics people, it’s a dirty thing.

    • Having also been a member of the SFSS BoD in the past, I expect there is a lot more going on in the background than this story has the capacity to expose. Particularly over the past few years as I’ve watched the policy, commentary and actions of the SFSS shift in some very autocratic directions, I’m not surprised to see this story emerge. Something had to give…
      In any respect, hopefully the “full story” will emerge as it seems there are some real issues at play here. I suspect another shift will need to happen and perhaps others will need to speak out to affect the kind of change that I imagine will be necessary to prevent further, deeper and more damaging problems from continuing to occur in the SFSS.

    • Thank-you for creating some context for those of us who are not involved in the SFSS. Like me. I am just genuinely pissed off on her treatment. They are acting like little republicans . . . even their attacks on Monique sound like something that would have been cooked up at Fox News.

    • accurately.

      just try and look at the facts presented. facts, not emotionally charged scenes you and i perceived in our minds after hearing other passionate accounts of what went down that fateful night. perhaps pretend that you saw this story on reddit without mention of anyone’s name or gender, divorced from personal connection to you or your familiars (we are incredibly adept at lying to ourselves, so it shouldn’t be a biggie). at this point from where i’m sitting it’s a poorly handled accident with both sides fighting fire w/ more fire.

      PS: I don’t doubt it for a second that SFSS internal affairs can be a hostile environment to navigate for both women and men just as any other “power” struggle might be, i.e. corporate world. Other comments and my experience at SFU seem to indicate that SFSS still has much room for growth. Since I’ve never heard of nor met Moe nor Monique, so for all I know he might be trying to become the Sith Lord of SFU and UniverCity and she gets beat up attempting to go Erin Brockovich on his ass.

  8. This is the dumbest accusation ever.

    If anything it was probably an accident. If everyone called security for an accidental hit then security would be so busy and probably everyone would be fired because of said “strike.” I have worked with Moe and spoken to him many times. He is one of the nicest people ever and this just so so ridiculous. The idea is laughable.

    • I find it odd and kind of weird that Moe keeps liking all the posts that support him. Also they all seem to follow the same narrative. Every time I see him upping a comment I can’t help but imagine him in a political ad saying “I’m Moe and I approve this message”. The narrative tends to go like this:

      I know Moe
      Moe is a nice guy
      He would never intentionally hurt anyone
      It was just a silly accident
      Monique must be blowing this whole thing way out of proportion
      To think Moe would do anything like this is ridiculous
      Poor Moe.

      Did a group of you sit down and decide to follow a specific narrative?

  9. Before I begin I just want to say that I am acquainted with Monique and I have never met Moe. After reading this article and the responses I have something to say.

    Ok so, this is what I don’t understand. Why did Moe become so panicked about who Monique was calling with his phone? Why did he change his mind due to privacy concerns? “Privacy concerns”? Really? You didn’t feel safe or comfortable with the person Monique was calling getting your contact info? Why? Was she calling a drug dealer or something? Does Moe have a stalker he is trying to avoid? I really don’t get this whole concerned about privacy explanation/excuse. Besides if Monique had already called this person it would have been too late anyways since that person would have ALREADY had Moe’s contact information.

    In any case. Whether or not Moe asked Monique to give back the phone first or didn’t. Whether Moe striking Monique in the face was an accident or not. From what I can gather, from the story that everyone agrees with, Moe over reacted by grabbing the phone from Monique and caused Monique an injury. So even though I don’t think criminal charges are necessary in this case. I definitely think that Moe, instead of defending himself as a victim of some set up or smear campaign, should admit that he over reacted by taking his phone back from Monique in a violent and sudden way and he was truly sorry. Instead, he is quoted above saying that:

    “Monique Ataei has created an unsafe space for male board members of the SFSS.”

    Seriously? In what way? I don’t think Moe should be suspended from the SFSS board because he hit Monique because, from what I gather, it was an accident. But, I do think that he should be suspended for saying that because it is slander and is absurd and it is using something that is of a genuine concern for WOMEN who are in workspaces that ARE actually created unsafe by a MAN or MEN and mocking it.

    I also think Moe should be suspended because he left the premise before the incident could be properly reported. Any injury should be reported especially if it is caused by another. At work, if I cut my finger and need a band-aid I have to right an incidence report. The fact that Moe left shows, at best, incompetence. He is a board member at SFSS and should know basic policy procedures. After all, isn’t that what the board is all about, policy? Moe claims that he didn’t know that security was coming. I believe him, but Moe should have known that should not have left until it was reported.

    Finally, I am rather shocked that Moe’s response to this article has gotten far more up than downs. Are you all his friends or something? He just defends himself and acts as though he is completely innocent. He does not mention that he did over react and that, even if it was an accident, that he regrets his actions and that he is sorry.

    Monique should be disturbed by the boards reaction to this unfortunate incident I am. Thankfully, I avoided all this crap. Apathy has its benefits.

    • who knows why moe wanted his phone back, but it’s his property and he has a right to have it back if he wants it. these days everyone has a lot of personal information on their phone and it’s understandable if moe wanted it back for whatever reason.

      i don’t think everyone agrees that monique got injured to the point of needing an incident report filed. is there anyone there to verify this? did she go see a doctor? if she wasn’t injured, there would be no reason for moe to stick around. as moe said in his comment (and you mentioned) he was not aware that campus security had been called.

      also, you think moe should be suspended for slander but not monique?

      • The definition of slander is: “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation”.

        To say that one woman creates an unsafe work environment for all of the men in that work environment is derogatory and is obviously false (do I really have to explain why). Especially when it was a man who struck her in the face! Accidental or not, the fact is Moe hit Monique. Monique did not hit Moe. And then all of a sudden Monique is the dangerous one? That is not only slander but hypocrisy.

        Where has Monique slandered Moe?

        About the phone privacy phone thing. I am not going to argue with you about it. To justify someone taking such a violent action because someone did not return ones phone as soon as one asks is a position that is unworthy of a response.

        • I don’t even care about this stuff and am just lurking, but calling this a “violent action” is sensationalism at best, and a lie at worst. Reaching for something fast is not a “violent action”. I can count many times when I have tried to take my phone from someone that I would reach for it “violently”- as you would put it.

          The handling of this situation has been horrible, and I half believe the creation of an unsafe environment, just from hearing about the unprofessional manner in which responses to the incident were delivered. but let’s not resort to sensationalism please.
          Also I see the point that all Monique did was tell her side of the story- but she went further, she also asked for resignation and her pay for the rest of the year. Doesn’t sound too much like a simple call for investigation.
          I can also see that he would leave the campus and not stick around, or file a report, if he didn’t realize the severity of the injury, if you can call it that. I’m curious as to who we believe when he says he apologized and she says he didn’t. What a gong show.

  10. Seriously?! I was working that event and heard about the incident right after. I can’t believe it’s blown out of proportion from such a trivial matter. I’m not going to minimize the inflicted person’s concerns, but her demands seem quite out of place. I’m not comfortable knowing my money goes to paying the end of her stipends, and I don’t see how Moe’s resignation is going to solve anything. I mean, even children accidentally hurt each other and know how to apologize and forgive. In any case, Moe is a regular at the pub, and my impression is that he treats women with respect and is an all around nice guy. However, with that said, the whole story about the internal politics of the SFSS is not fully known, and that’s probably a more important issue that should be addressed.

  11. As a former board member, I can confidently say that this story will likely be buried in about 2 weeks, with no retribution to Monique or consequence to Moe. Frankly, the SFSS BoD can do whatever they want with little accountability.

  12. I have heard rumbling about physical, sexual, and intimidation abuses for the last little while. It seems the all boys club at the SFSS has finally been called out by Monique, Megan, and possibly more to come. If there are others who have been in this place they should come out now too.

    It seems like Monique should have left a long time ago but $$ should be left out of this unless she brings it to court in which case Moe should step down. If she is not willing to do that than, as stated before, this issue will settle until the next one arises.

    • Why would he have to step down if it was brought to court? He is absolutely not at fault. Both parties say it was an accident, there was an apology made. Now if the feminists could stop blowing this out of proportion and turning this into an “EQUALITY FOR WOMEN OR DEATH” thread.

      • “Now if the feminists could stop blowing this out of proportion and turning this into an “EQUALITY FOR WOMEN OR DEATH” thread.”

        Ok . . . umm are you sure it is the “feminists” that are blowing this way out of proportion?

        In what way can you justify claiming that this is turning into an “Equality for Women or Death” thread?

        Furthermore, many women have suffered greatly and have died because they did not have equal rights. . . Please think about what you are saying.

  13. As a former board member, I also experienced feeling unsafe within the SFSS offices. In order to represent the interests of students which the SFSS is mandated to do I think it is important for the board to have policies and practices that promote a safe and professional work environment, where all members can feel safe to speak their opinions, voice their concerns and be physically present. Can’t we all get along?

  14. I can’t help but wonder how reactions would change had the roles been reversed. If it was Monique holding Moe’s phone against his will, and if it was Monique who accidentally hit Moe with the cellphone, would there still be an uproar about ‘assault’ and ‘unsafe spaces’? Yes I acknowledge that women have gone through different struggles than men and women face particular issues when it comes to safety, but to me (as someone who knows both Moe and Monique), this all seems like an accidental event that has been blown way out of proportion. Do you honestly all think that because of this incident, Monique deserves 6k for resigning from her position and doing nothing for the next few months?

    Let’s halt the judgment for a bit. Is Moe a wife beater? Absolutely not. At most, it was an unfortunate accident. Let’s not taint the reputation of an incredibly hard working individual and all-round nice guy because of mere allegations. None of us know the full story yet, so let’s just simmer down and stop with the name calling (on both sides).

  15. Moe has always proven to be respectful and dedicated to his work. I honestly think it is something that Monique has blown out of proportion. This is something that could have been easily solved between the two of them but nope. She makes it look like sfss offices are like a death trap. A broken jaw? Yes/no? Lips needed stitches? Yes/no.
    Don’t grab someone’s phone and refuse to give it back and then complain when the person accidentally “hit” you. This drama is absolutely disgusting and makes our sfss members look incompetent which is def not the case.

    Good luck to you Moe! Keep up the good work and this case is pretty obvious on how it’s gonna end :).

    • Wow, the use of the word proven without any real evidence to back your claim up. And really do you have to be so heartless?

      “A broken jaw? Yes/no? Lips needed stitches? Yes/no. Don’t grab someone’s phone and refuse to give it back and then complain when the person accidentally “hit” you ”

      Really, you are going to go with the whole she got what was coming to her argument?

      So if someone does not give back your phone right away after lending it to them you have the right to break his/her jaw? And everyone is to follow your lead and just shrug their shoulders with indifference. Do you even realize how ridiculous your argument is? I would be ashamed. . . . . .

      • Well was there a broken jaw? Did her lips need stitches?

        And to answer your question no I will not break someone’s jaw if they refused to give my phone back and from all the “evidence” that has been provided so far Moe doesn’t seem to have broken Monique’s jaw :). I have no problem being heartless when it comes to a drama queen.

        And if anybody should be ashamed it should be Monique. I never said she got what was coming so please don’t feed words into my mouth. What I said is its absolutely DISGUSTING that she had decided to blow this out of proportion and scapegoat someone like Moe.

        • I was not referring to the incident itself. Thankfully Monique’s jaw was not broken. I was referring to your statement. You gave a hypothetical that was worse than what had actually happened and you still shrugged your shoulders, said so what, and thought Moe was justified in his actions. I did not put any words in your mouth. You typed them: here I will quote them to you again:

          “She makes it look like sfss offices are like a death trap. A broken jaw? Yes/no? Lips needed stitches? Yes/no.
          Don’t grab someone’s phone and refuse to give it back and then complain when the person accidentally “hit” you.”

          The whole implication of this sentence is that whether you got a broken jaw or not doesn’t matter what matters is that you “took” someone else’s phone and deserved what was coming to you so don’t complain.

          The last three words of your sentence that imply that you don’t believe that Moe actually hit Monique does not negate the fact that you justify the use of violence by being indifferent to the person who was injured. It implies that even if Moe had hit Monique so hard that he did break her jaw you would still think that Moe would have been justified.

          The fact that you deny that this is what you actually said just shows me that you don’t think about what you are writing.

  16. I am appalled that Moe as well as some people who commented below are trying to pass this off as a-no-big-deal-accident. It is truly a shame that society is so quick to dismiss a woman who has been assaulted and, therefore, understandably feels unsafe, as someone who is overreacting and creating “an unsafe space for male board members of the SFSS.” (a beyond ridiculous statement that represents the epitome of victim blaming). Monique was one brave woman who had the courage to speak up and make this public despite the unfortunate backlash against her. I bet that there are many more similar or worse incidences that have not been reported. This is a serious problem because, as many of these comments prove, women are more likely to be ridiculed for speaking out about important issues than acknowledged for their bravery. I commend her for making this public because her concerns were clearly not properly addressed by the internal authorities. I really hope this inspires more women who have felt unsafe to come forward.

        • Right, so we’re all going to accept Monique’s side of the story? Without thinking that she may be trying to settle some personal vendetta or grudge? And it’s OK for her to spread rumors about Moe?

          • No her position is that everyone should not just instantly assume that she is exaggerating because “they know Moe and think he is a good guy”. And start attacking her for exaggerating the issue and saying that this whole incident is no big deal. She is not spreading rumors but instead informing the public of her side of the story. She has the right to do that and it is a very brave thing to do. Believe it or not the majority of people do not like getting this kind of attention.

      • This, my friend, has become a sexist issue the moment Moe declared that “she has created an unsafe space for board members”, yet when this woman has CLEARLY stated that she personally feels unsafe because of the boards inability to deal with this effectively (hence her decision to make it public), she is considered to be “overreacting” and “lying.” That FACTUALLY happened.

  17. Moe is being defamed by this girl. She stole his phone, wouldn’t return it, and he had to get it back. I doubt she suffered “facial contusions” or anything of the sort, though I accept that she may have encountered some injury – is it not your own risk to suffer injury when you steal someone’s property though?

    If somebody tried to steal my bike and I pushed them off, I wouldn’t expect to be sued for scratching their elbow…. Let’s not forget that she is the one who committed the crime, Moe defended his property.

    The issue of a hostile work environment may or may not be true – nothing to do with Moe’s innocence or guilt.

  18. I only read up to half of these comments, but I still believe that it is really minor, as it was all accidental as they have both said so. I believe that this has nothing to do with woman issues. It is just personal preference, whereby everyone is different as of dealing with issues. Moe has clearly tried to apologize and hug while Monique simply does not accept it. I think Monique is just frustrated and this really shouldn’t be treated as criminal trial as it was not at all incidental. I also believe Moe leaving without knowing security is coming is reasonable, as it is probably shown from one perspective as Moe has already left the scene, and the reporter did know the whole truth.

    Think deeply!

  19. Maybe it’s just me, but when a woman emails out to her colleagues that she doesn’t feel safe in the office, the response should never be 1. stop acting like a child and 2. your email describing your fears have made the potential perpetrator the real victim and he now feels unsafe.
    ((Full stop – yes that sounds like a hostile work environment)).

    I’d say this should be investigated – it could be just a tip of an iceberg or it could be isolated – but not doing an independent (aka no relations to the SFSS) investigation would call much of what this organization does with it’s multi-million dollar budget into deep suspicion. Oh wait, that’s right the $30,000 “Mens Centre” … things aren’t looking good in the house of sfss.

  20. I honestly dont see why this has to be such a huge deal. This has happened so many times to so many people and it is an accident. The fact that the whole thing is turning into a story is stupid. This is not assault, just High School games.

  21. Shit happens. There is a huge difference between an accidental tap and a punch to the face. Time will tell whether this is or is not the gross exaggeration it appears to be… But i think if this truly had been a punch to the face that the evidence would be far more apparent and this story would be far more cut and dry..

  22. Before I get into what I think about the incidence, I would like to express my experiences working with Moe. It is unthinkable for me to imagine Moe being unethical or intentionally undertaking actions to hurt anyone in any way. I have known and worked with Moe for almost two years and have not experienced any situation that would portray Moe’s work ethics, personal values and actions negatively.
    From reading this article, it seems to lack important information for anyone to judge either point of view about the occasion. The only information that seems to be true for both sides is Monique obtaining Moe’s phone, which is the trigger point of the whole conflict. First of all, Moe’s phone should have not been found in Monique’s hands, as it, I am sure like anyone else’s phone, contains sensitive information, ranging from personal to confidential work data. I understand that there might have been a misunderstanding, however I feel that both parties should have acted with more care. Despite this fact, it was also mentioned in the article that a witness for Moe’s apology has been at hand. I wonder what else Moe should have done other than apologize. Accidents happen and taking drastic actions such as the demand for Moe’s resignation is in my books distorted and more importantly not the solution to the issue.

  23. See this, this is why people don’t even bother with student government anymore, it’s a joke. Please act like proper “adults”….you obviously got into higher education with a working brain now just use it more often and add some common sense

  24. For the most part, People commenting here are using a guest account (or possibly, fake names) which does not make sense because if they are really supporting Monique or Moe, they might as well log in through their respective Facebook, twitter or Google profiles to avoid this curtain of suspicion that this could actually be Moe himself writing answers to anyone raising concerns about the safety of Women is SFSS offices.

    Therefore, I would like to go by the voices raised by real people, particularly the ones who have previously worked with SFSS and probably know the atmosphere there, much better than anyone else.

    Meaghan Wilson brought a very interesting point when she expressed that “The sad truth is that the Board of Directors is just a popularity contest. Even if a board member is clearly doing wrong, so long as they have enough support from other voting members, they won’t need to worry about consequence..” I feel this is absolutely true. If you have been chosen to be the MSO of SFSS to address the concerns of 30,000 SFU Students, you have to very careful about work ethics and the underlying job responsibilities for which you are getting paid. I’m not surprised that Moe had this physical altercation with a colleague and moreover, I don’t even think he’s really serious about the position he has been honored or I should say, he simply does not care how he is treating his colleagues because as Meaghan pointed, as long as he enjoys the support from other members, he knows nothing can harm him.

    As far as privacy is concerned, I don’t get it how he could be afraid of getting his contact info leaked when he has his phone number/email etc on the SFSS website. If he was so afraid of Monique seeing his private content, he should not have given his cellphone to Monique in the first place.

    Also, Juan Ramirez and Jenni Rempel, who have previously worked with SFSS have also raised similar concerns regarding an unsafe environment for Women in SFSS offices. I really think it’s high time that an official inquiry be launched and all of these former board members be interviewed in detail to throw more light on this incident as well as the ones that have happened in past with others. We, the students have chosen these board members because we trusted them and expected that our concerns would be properly addressed but if a Student Society member cannot give respect with his colleagues and act professionally, I think it’s extremely unfortunate to have him as our MSO.

  25. After looking more into the situation, I retract my statements about Moe. I was heavily against his actions until speaking with some people close to the situation and I believe Monique is exaggerating what happened that night.

  26. I don’t know both of them, but it seems like an accident that Monique is trying to take an advantage of. Everyone is ignoring the fact that she refused to return an item that doesn’t belong to her. Moreover, she wants to receive $6125 for free.
    I laughed at the part where she claims that she stayed till 1:30 in SFSS office icing her face. Why did not she go home, or was that part of the play to get more attention and some witnesses…

  27. Dear Alison Roach,

    I write to you here, without hiding my identity by using an anonymous account, because I want you to know exactly how I feel about you and your “journalism”. When I first read your article, I was astonished. I had to read it about 6 times before I could really believe it. I’m not interested in who is right here and who is wrong, but in you and what you believe in. I’m sure you’re aware of what ‘rape culture’ and ‘victim shame’ is. I hope that you’re proud of yourself and the embodiment of that within your writing. Throughout your entire article, you lay blame upon Monique, when it is said that there has been an investigation into the truth and what really happened. Your use of pullout quotes and journalist investigation, with quotes from Brandon Chapman as well as Moe Kopahi, is shameful. Using quotes that indirectly place shame and guilt on Monique for simply coming forward with her story, regardless of the outcome, makes me hang my head in shame for my school newspaper. Its bad enough that UBC has such a claim to fame for the promotion of rape culture, but you are the SFU counterpart to that. While I’m very pleased for you in that you got the opportunity to write such a big story with your name attached to it, I am also very sad that this was written by a woman. While I would never wish for anything like this to happen to you, I encourage you to look at the way that you have presented this story and the shame that you have laid on female victims who bring their discrimination, oppression and assault to the light, and instead encouraging victims to be quiet about what has happened to them.

    I, along with many others, no longer support the Peak and your journalism due to the poor, and honestly embarrassing, manner in which you have addressed this issue. While something like this, that is still under investigation, was published without any ethical consideration, I can only imagine the way that you will butcher other issues in the future. I fully support Monique coming forward with this issue, regardless of the outcome. Victims should never be told to sit down and shut up, which is honestly what you seem to have said here. Congratulations on your big article, you patriarchal, victim-shaming excuse for a journalist.

    Tsatia Adzich

    • Are you fucking kidding me? Where, in her own words, has Alison told Monique to “sit down and shut up”? Have you ever written an objective news article? Do you even understand what the word “objective” means?

      When you write a news article you have to represent the facts as they are, and besides describing the basic facts, any allegation must be attributed to a person. Phrases like “‘lack of safety'” are put in quotations marks because that’s something Ataei has said. If Alison, and by extension, The Peak were to publish something that said “Monique refuses to return to the office because of a lack of safety” they could be sued for alleging something that hasn’t necessarily been proven true. The quotations from Kopahi et. al. are there because they represent some of the parties involved’s perspectives. If you think that’s fucked up, victim blaming, sexist, or patriarchal, bring that up with the people who said those words, not the fucking messenger who’s notifying the campus community that this happened.

      Trying to write an article about an issue as delicate as this is difficult, and frankly it would’ve been easier to not report on this at all. If you think people were quick to give interviews for a piece like this, think again. This issue has been addressed the same way that any issue would have been addressed in a news article: objectively. I don’t even know what you mean when you say “was published without any ethical consideration.” What ethics? Reporting on things happening on campus so the population can be informed?

      If you want to read something about how fucked up this situation is, look in the opinions section or features section where personal bias in individual articles is allowed if not mandatory. And if you’re not seeing it, I would encourage you to write the article. If you can take the time out of your day to write a letter and call someone a bunch of names, you have the time to write a thoughtful article that could get people thinking about a situation in a new light.

      And really, I’d like to know what you were thinking when you wrote, “while I would never wish for anything like this to happen to you…” before suggesting Alison think more about what she writes. Fuck ethics, did you think about the implications of starting a suggestion with a statement like that? Do you understand with the inclusion of “while” you are suggesting, whether you finish that statement or not, that if Alison was assaulted in her office it would be… what exactly? Poetic justice? Ironic? That almost sounds like you’re saying she’d have been asking for it. I’m assuming you were going to say something to the effect of “put yourself in their shoes; think about what it would be like to come out with these allegations.” That’s fine, but put yourself in Alison’s shoes. Do you know what it’s like to have to cover controversial topics and then have strangers tell you that you alone are SFU’s version of rape chants and call you a “patriarchal, victim-shaming excuse for a journalist”?

      Didn’t think so.

  28. Dear Alison Roach,

    I write to you here, without hiding my identity by using an anonymous account, because I want you to know exactly how I feel about you and your “journalism”. When I first read your article, I was astonished. I had to read it about 6 times before I could really believe it. I’m not interested in who is right here and who is wrong, but in you and what you believe in. I’m sure you’re aware of what ‘rape culture’ and ‘victim shame’ is. I hope that you’re proud of yourself and the embodiment of that within your writing. Throughout your entire article, you lay blame upon Monique, when it is said that there has been an investigation into the truth and what really happened. Your use of pullout quotes and journalist investigation, with quotes from Brandon Chapman as well as Moe Kopahi, is shameful. Using quotes that indirectly place shame and guilt on Monique for simply coming forward with her story, regardless of the outcome, makes me hang my head in shame for my school newspaper. Its bad enough that UBC has such a claim to fame for the promotion of rape culture, but you are the SFU counterpart to that. While I’m very pleased for you in that you got the opportunity to write such a big story with your name attached to it, I am also very sad that this was written by a woman. While I would never wish for anything like this to happen to you, I encourage you to look at the way that you have presented this story and the shame that you have laid on female victims who bring their discrimination, oppression and assault to the light, and instead encouraging victims to be quiet about what has happened to them.

    I, along with many others, no longer support the Peak and your journalism due to the poor, and honestly embarrassing, manner in which you have addressed this issue. While something like this, that is still under investigation, was published without any ethical consideration, I can only imagine the way that you will butcher other issues in the future. I fully support Monique coming forward with this issue, regardless of the outcome. Victims should never be told to sit down and shut up, which is honestly what you seem to have said here. Congratulations on your big article, you patriarchal, victim-shaming excuse for a journalist.

  29. I don’t see how an accident in a tug of war is a gender issue. If he engaged in tug of war with a homosexual and accidentally hit him/her would that make it a gay rights issue. If it was with someone who was african american would that make it a race issue. No he just wanted his phone back