Written by: Gabrielle McLaren, Features Editor and Amneet Mann, News Editor
This article is part of a series discussing the leaked recording provided to The Peak by Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) president Jas Randhawa. The recording documents a meeting between executive members of the SFSS board of directors and Randhawa in which he is urged to resign from his position as president.
The recording sent to The Peak by Randhawa of the meeting between him and the executive members of the board reveals Randhawa being confronted about an alleged physical assault against applied sciences representative Kia Mirsalehi.
Randhawa acknowledged the altercation with Mirsalehi in his original letter to the media, writing, “I must acknowledge my mistakes and state that there was a time in the office where I shoved Kia away as he coherently yelled [sic]at me and came up into my personal space.” He further explained that he and Mirsalehi had apologized to each other regarding the event, and that this episode was now simply being used to “rile political support” against his presidency.
Board members insisted on the severity of the event. In the leaked recording, vice-president university relations Jackson Freedman is heard saying, “Physical confrontation is an issue in and of itself, but [. . .] the comment that you made right afterwards to Russell [Dunsford, SFSS environment representative] is ‘what a little pussy, why didn’t he do anything?’
“I know it’s a really emotional moment, and I don’t want to hold you super accountable for everything you say in those moments, but those emotional moments are indicative of character [. . .] And that’s what scared me there.”
In the recording, board members insisted that this incident had created “a lot of fear in the board office.” However, in the recording Randhawa is heard denying the event multiple times, saying “I did not hit Kia in the face, okay? I deny it, because I did not do it.”
The Peak reached out to Mirsalehi about the allegation. “I never yelled at Jas and I never approached him or invaded his personal space,” began Mirsalehi in an email interview.
Mirsalehi continued to recount the incident, stating that Randhawa was playing with a pillow with his feet, and refused to stop after Mirsalehi asked him to do so. “I then stood up and grabbed the pillow,” wrote Mirsalehi. “[Randhawa] instantly stood up, came towards me, grabbed the pillow with his right hand and hit me in the face with his left. I do not know if his intention was to hit me in the face or if it was a spur of the moment, instinctive action.”
According to Mirsalehi, after this altercation, he moved to put the pillow in Randhawa’s office and “[Randhawa] then threatened me with ‘do it and see what happens’. Not wanting to escalate the situation, I put the pillow on a counter.”
Mirsalehi added, “later that day, after I had left the room, Jaskarn turned to another board member and said ‘what a pussy, why didn’t he do anything’.”
“Jaskarn also mentioned that I apologized for the incident,” Mirsalehi wrote in response to the claim made in Randhawa’s letter addressed to The Peak. “What he conveniently forgot to mention was I was pulled aside at a party and put in a dark room alone with him. Instead of then apologizing to me, he put a majority of the blame on me, saying that I had been at fault for inciting him and asked me to apologize.
“Since I was at a party, mildly drunk, and alone in a dark room with a man who had hit me in the face the day before, I gave a half-hearted apology and walked out of the room,” wrote Mirsalehi.