RSU board of directors proposes motion to impeach Harman Singh

Allan Perkins

Jaclyn Tansil

Allie Downham

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) board of directors (BoD) introduced a motion to impeach RSU vicepresident of student life and events, Harman Singh.

The motion, if passed, could have Singh removed from his position on the BoD. Kelly Kitagawa, a RSU director for the faculty of communication and design (FCAD), put forward the motion after almost $80,000 in 6 Fest refunds went through Singh’s personal bank account.

Katii Capern another FCAD director, told Singh he should be more “accountable” for himself and to students.

The motion to impeach Singh revolved around the refunds,  and his alleged lack of transparency and communication with both the BoD and students, along with failing to account for backup records of finances for reimbursements for refunds regarding 6 Fest. The refund process is still underway. Singh had gone $30,000 over his original $50,000 estimate for refund costs.

The extra $30,000 to be reimbursed to students was signed off on Dec. 16, by Neal Muthreja and RSU president Obaid Ullah, but it didn’t get the BoD’s approval. Singh said the reason for the extra funds was because students were still applying for 6 Fest refunds

Tamara Jones, vicepresident of equity for the RSU, and said she found out about the extra $30,000 on Jan. 10.

“For him to say ‘I’m transferring $30,000 to a personal account,’ should have been something that we were all notified on. Why was it not drafted as a motion and emailed to us?” said Jones.

The BoD also questioned Singh’s use of e-transfers over cheques to refund students. Singh defended e-transfers as being faster. Ullah and Singh also said that backups — for example, screenshots — have been made and that funds were being tracked through a “petty cash system.” Several members of the board acknowledged the misspelling of the refund recipients names and addresses, bounced cheques and tracking difficulty as reasons to use e-transfers instead of cheques.

However, former RSU general manager Natasha Campagna said that chequing would have been slower, but easier to track, but that Singh ignored her advice althoughllk e-transfers only include the amount sent to a recipient.

Victoria Morton, vicepresident of education, said that Singh has lacked communication with both executives and the board far before the 6 Fest refund process.

“It is also incredibly hard to do any personal communication when everyone in the office can testify that Harman is never in the office or working regular hours,” Morton said.

Jones said the executive board had been communicating poorly  since the end of the summer. She said her ideas have been “belittled” on numerous occasions.

“I am embarrassed to be a part of an organization that does something like this,” Jones said.

But Singh doesn’t feel that these accusations are fair, particularly because of the timing.

Singh said the motion was politically motivated and that he shouldn’t be the only one on the “chopping block.”

Singh is running in the upcoming election for president on the Spark slate, against his fellow executive, vicepresident of operations Neal Muthreja, from the Ohana slate. Ullah is running on the same slate with Singh, for director of the faculty of engineering and architectural sciences.

Singh also said he has been a target and has received aggressive accusations, insults and death threats over his handling of the refunds.

“Managing the executives falls under my portfolio, I apologize, I’m a bad manager I have come to realize that over the past two months,” said Ullah.  

The BoD will next discuss the impeachment motion on Friday, Feb. 3.

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