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Augustine Onuh criticizes process; says his case wasn’t properly handled
Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president of operations Augustine Onuh was impeached after a motion to remove him from office reached the two-thirds majority needed at Tuesday’s emergency board meeting.
The impeachment comes after the motion was tabled at the Dec. 10 meeting due to time constraints. According to the impeachment motion, Onuh allegedly violated the RSU’s workplace harassment policies and did not work the mandated 40-hours per week commitment.
In a meeting with the Ryersonian, Onuh said that he was shocked at how fast the impeachment process was. He said that the oversight committee did not properly investigate his case because he did not get the opportunity to talk about what happened. He also said that he was willing to work extra hours to make up for his missing hours, but the board did not take that into account.
“[The oversight committee] is made up of students without proper [human resources] knowledge. They literally did not ask me anything about the issues that were being discussed,” Onuh said. “I have also voiced my concerns, saying I believe that we should hire an actual [human resources professional] with an actual university degree for this.”
In an email to the Ryersonian, student groups director James Fotak said he moved and voted “yes” to Onuh’s impeachment motion because he believed that Onuh violated the RSU’s bylaws.
“The motion [that] was passed by the board of directors cited the oversight’s committee findings, as well as bylaw infractions,” Fotak said.
New interim executives appointed
The board also voted to fill the vice-president of equity and vice-president of operations positions on Tuesday.
Fotak was appointed to be the interim vice-president of operations, while faculty of science representative Melania Tryhub was appointed to be the interim vice-president of equity. According to the union’s bylaws, both interim executives will fill their positions until May 1, 2020.
Fotak declined the Ryersonian’s request for comment about his appointment and said that he will wait for the on-boarding process to conclude before commenting.
The Ryersonian tried to contact Tryhub for comment, but the emails were returned with error messages. Executive director Reanna Maharaj said the vice-president of equity’s inbox was deactivated since former executive Naja Pereira resigned.
Joshua Wiggins, vice-president of campus life, disagreed with the board’s decision to impeach Onuh. He said that the board did not consider the work Onuh has done in the RSU prior to the impeachment vote. He also said that the board did not present information from “both sides” before voting on the impeachment motion.
“I still believe that the board did not have both sides [in the impeachment motion] for the board to make a formal decision,” Wiggins said.
Despite the impeachment motion being passed, Wiggins said that he is looking forward to working with the interim executives in the upcoming term. He said, “[Fotak and Tryhub] were voted in [by the board]. I hope they are doing good work for the team.”