RSU refuses to release evidence used to impeach David Jardine
One month after their surprise impeachment from the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), David Jardine is working to accept the fact that the RSU still refuses to publicize the evidence used against them.
The RSU alleges that Jardine communicated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1281, “a party adverse in interests to the RSU.” CUPE Local 1281, a union of several RSU employees, is currently in arbitration with the RSU over its decision to terminate the contracts of five full-time staff members.
Jardine does not plan to contest their impeachment, nor do they contest the legitimacy of any of the evidence presented at their trial. The thrust of Jardine’s grievances with the RSU is that, regardless of the evidence presented, Jardine did not actually do anything wrong.
Transparency has been one of the major points of contention within the RSU this year and Jardine’s mysterious impeachment further highlights this issue. There’s no way of knowing for sure if the charges brought against Jardine were legitimate. The entirety of Jardine’s trial was conducted behind closed doors.
“I’d have been perfectly fine with all the evidence being made public,” Jardine said.
Jardine, a third-year professional communications student, only found out about their impeachment trial on Dec. 18, the day before it took place.
RSU executives did not share the agenda for the Dec. 18 meeting beforehand, despite the fact that the meeting was originally slated for the previous week. The agenda should have been completed and available for circulation prior to the meeting taking place. If it were already completed, why was it not made available to board members?
Jardine and other RSU board members privately speculated about what might be on the agenda. Jardine believed something big was going to happen — something the executives did not want to publicize. “In a way, I guess we were right,” Jardine said.
The Dec. 18 meeting’s agenda did not originally include a notice for Jardine’s impeachment; RSU president Ali Yousaf motioned to add it as an announcement. When Yousaf was asked by Faculty of Arts director Alexandra Nash why he waited so long to announce the amendment, the RSU board meeting’s minutes quote Yousaf as saying, “I didn’t have to, it was just my own decision.”
After Jardine learned the RSU planned to impeach them, they went from feeling frustrated to almost feeling relieved. “I thought to myself ‘OK, at least the worst thing that happens is that I won’t be in the RSU anymore,’” Jardine recalled.
Impeachment has become commonplace within the RSU. Three RSU officials have now been successfully impeached within the last two years, and others have resigned after impeachment motions were brought against them.
Jardine believes they would have been able to prepare a better impeachment defence if they had been given notice sooner. In addition, Jardine was unaware what evidence would be used in the trial. “All I had (to work with) was the motion to impeach me,” Jardine said.
The impeachment motion claimed Jardine was “rendering advice, assistance and confidential information” to CUPE Local 1281. The motion also alleged that Jardine passed information on to CUPE Local 1281 that only Jardine would have known about.
Despite multiple requests for an interview, CUPE Local 1281 did not provide any official comment to the Ryersonian by the time of publication.
Despite Jardine having worked for the RSU for several months, the motion put forward by the RSU misgendered Jardine in several places. Jardine said this happened on multiple occasions over the months they spent with the RSU.
“I’ve had to correct that many times,” Jardine says, “It felt like it was every meeting.”
In a statement provided to the Ryersonian, RSU president Ali Yousaf said that “Jardine’s misrepresentation of the situation is disappointing. The Board of Directors followed its bylaws, including by the provision of notice and Jardine was removed by a properly constituted meeting of (their) peers.”
Yousaf misgendered Jardine twice in the statement.
The Ryersonian does not know what evidence was presented at Jardine’s trial. However, some information about the trial was made public; 22 board members voted for impeachment, one opposed and six abstained from voting. Only 19 votes for impeachment were necessary for the motion to pass. Jardine was included in the vote.