The motion to impeach Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) vice-president student life and events, Harman Singh, didn’t pass at the Feb. 3 board of directors (BoD) meeting.
The motion was first put forward during a meeting on Jan. 31, 2017 because of concerns regarding the nearly $80,000 that went through personal bank accounts, one of which was his own, in order to facilitate e-transfers for 6 Fest refunds, some of which still have not been refunded months later. The sum of money is also approximately $30,000 over the originally estimated refund cost.
Discussion at the meeting before the secret vote revolved around a lack of accountability, transparency and communication from Harman and within the RSU.
“At best it’s hypocritical of us as an organization to provide cost-saving services but then mishandle student money at such a level,” said Kelly Kitagawa, RSU director for the faculty of communication and design and the member who put forward the motion during the meeting.
Some members voiced support for Kitagawa’s motion during the meeting.
“It’s our job to hold the executive accountable to make sure that they are doing the job that they promised their students to do, and at the end of the day, if you are doing a bad job of that it is our job to hold you accountable,” said faculty of arts director Marzia Riaz. “Bad decisions were made but part of your job is to make good choices and you didn’t.”
Others vehemently defended that Singh shouldn’t be impeached.
“We need him at this time more than we don’t,” said Naveed Khan, the faculty of architecture director. “It would be more fruitful for us to request that he respond actively and within a specific timeline that’s set by the board to all the points.”
However, the recurring theme in the meeting was the problems within the team as a whole. Obaid Ullah, the RSU president, mentioned that the team had decided to meet on Thursday to figure out their differences and get professional help.
“I’m not really sure how we’re going to be able to move forward or think that the meeting on Thursday will result in anything,” said Tamara Jones, the RSU vice-president equity.
The meeting ended with a secret voting result of 18 for impeachment, one abstaining and 16 against. All 37 board members were considered, although only 34 were in attendance, and according to RSU bylaws, the motion needed two-thirds of the votes (24) to pass.
“I thought I had a lot more of the board’s trust,” said Singh. “It shows the true colours of people.”
During the meeting, Singh promised to go through the refunds and documentation with the board and said he’d have the refunds completed by the end of February. He also vowed to improve on communication by making sure to maintain office hours, making bi-weekly and weekly reports available to the executives and the board and having monthly evaluations by the board.