Letter to the Editor from Giovanni HoSang

Photo: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Greetings to the Editor-in-Chief of The Peak:

The Peak opinion piece entitled “Giovanni HoSang can’t pretend Kickoff doesn’t involve him” stated some concerns around holding the president accountable for the losses of the concert. I wholeheartedly support students holding us accountable and raising issues as elected representatives, and I strongly encourage this. At the same time, I want to address some concerns that were raised in that article. The reality is, unless there is a change in the bylaws and policies that allows a single Board member to have more influence over Board decisions, not even the president has the power to overrule a majority vote.

Currently, there is no such mechanism and [there] probably shouldn’t be. This means that everything decided by the Board is at the will of the Board as a whole. The president’s role doesn’t include the power to overrule or veto a majority decision. The president can help set the direction of the Society and represent the Society on formal occasions, act as the Societys’ ambassador, attempt to have their vision for the Society executed through Board processes, and work with other directors to execute on their vision.

This Board voted to increase the budget deficit allowable to $60k while shutting down questions that I was asking about the budget (to break it down, the VP Student Services called the question, meaning there could be no more discussion on the matter. This, making the discussion time a total of eight minutes). In addition, this was the last time the Fall Kickoff event came to the Board table.

However, as the article stated, I worked hard to get sales and visibility for the event, and even fought for it not to be cancelled, because I value the Kickoff concert and wanted to see it succeed and for students to attend. That doesn’t mean that the process and planning around the concert didn’t have its problems that students need to hold the Board, and each and every Board member, accountable for. This is why I, and some other Board members want to see recommendations through an audit to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen in future years.

Essentially, the originally anticipated losses for the concert were badly planned in a top down way, and the increases should not have been approved. But neither the president nor any single Board member who opposed this could have changed this without majority support. It is important that students are aware of these decision-making processes, and seek to change them to reflect more transparency in large scale event planning and other activities of the Society.

Yes, last year I was elected president. However, my values and those of some of the other Board members, who support my values and my vision for the Society, are in a clear-cut minority. As a result, we need a stronger mandate for future Boards to have a larger representation of strong progressive students, who will bring back student power through activism on campus. We need to elect more students who will truly and actually care about what students want, and this is what I will continue to fight for.

Giovanni HoSang