Written by: Zach Siddiqui, Copy Editor
At the SFSS’s August 14 emergency board of directors meeting, the board approved a motion to place a resolution to impeach SFSS president Jas Randhawa onto the agenda of an upcoming annual general meeting (AGM) or special general meeting (SGM).
The proposed motion underwent “elaborate discussion with the entire board” prior to the meeting, according to vice-president student services Samer Rihani.
“We’ve looked at all the options that we felt would be best going forward — for the team, for the student society, and for the students,” said Rihani, who submitted this motion. “We felt as if going through with an impeachment is just simply the best option as of right now for us.”
Specific reasons for the move to impeach the president were not made explicit during the ex-camera portion of the meeting. However, while responding to the motion, Randhawa alluded to what he called multiple “accusations of incompetency” having been recently leveled at his work performance.
“I’ve pushed for a better social media strategy, I’ve pushed for more student life on campus, reformation of the very by-laws that we’re arguing for, strong transition into the [student union building], new initiatives like the advocacy support office, and above all, I support everyone individually here on this team,” Randhawa stated.
Randhawa claimed that other directors on the board were guilty of violating SFSS policies and by-laws, as well as the BC Societies Act, due to their conduct throughout their move to impeach him. He also addressed the board’s faculty representatives who were present, claiming that some had “specifically stated to [him] that they do not agree with what’s going on,” but were “still following through with this process of impeaching [him].”
Board members did not respond to these allegations during this discussion, and the board moved to the vote, where the motion to recommend impeachment carried.
As a result, the board is set to make the aforementioned recommendation to SFU’s students at the SFSS’s next AGM or SGM in September. While the date for the 2018 AGM is set for September 24, Rihani mentioned that the SFSS’s financial reports may not be ready by that time. Should that be the case, it is possible that the AGM will be rescheduled and an SGM be called for the same date.
Following this, the board introduced a motion to approve up to $1,000 as funding for any legal counsel the SFSS president may seek in light of the potential impeachment. Rihani added this item to the agenda — however, he noted that Randhawa requested that the motion be removed. Randhawa himself reiterated that he had never indicated a desire for such a motion to be brought forward, and that he does not wish to use the student society’s dollars towards “his own personal legal pursuits.”
The position of chair of the SFSS board, previously held by Randhawa, changed hands earlier in the meeting, and is to be filled by at-large representative Mohammed Ali for the remainder of the summer. When putting his name forward, Ali cited a by-law which allowed the board to appoint a new board chair through a vote.
Randhawa opposed the motion to change chairs when it was brought forward, claiming that the board policies declare that the SFSS president will also be the board chair. Aside from this, he further claimed that to have a director besides the president act as board chair would contradict and infringe upon the president’s power to convene board meetings and council meetings, a power assured by the SFSS’s other by-laws and policies.
Applied science representative Kia Mirsalehi argued against Randhawa’s points, claiming that the president’s ability to convene board and council was separate from the board chair’s power to do so, and therefore that the president does not need to be board chair to retain that capacity.
“There has been a vote of non-confidence discussed by the board in terms of sending out the agenda prior to staff, at least for this meeting [and] Friday’s, as well as proper timely notification of the meeting,” said Rihani, regarding why this motion was being brought forward at this particular time. “Board felt as though there hasn’t been confidence in the way that these meetings have been conducted or sent out [ . . . ] You are allowed to call forward the changing of a chair if you feel as though there’s a movement of non-confidence.”
Randhawa responded, “These meetings have been called on petition, within two days. If there are staff concerns on calling these meetings, I think that there’s a rationale behind that.”