August 9th, 2011
Mr. Sean “Birdman” Bassi
Kwantlen Student Association
Dear Mr. Bassi,
In response to your correspondence received earlier today, I must respectfully reject your call for an apology and a retraction. We find this is yet another attempt to silence Kwantlen’s free, student-run, independent newspaper. For the record, I would also like to state that PIPS is fully aware and supports the work being done by our journalists with regards to their reporting.
First, I would like to express my profound disappointment at the manner in which the Kwantlen Student Association’s Council and Executive Board has behaved over the past few weeks, with regards to curtailing the rights of students to being heard and the right of students to a free and independent newspaper.
I’d like to remind you that all members of Council are elected officials of the association; the position of the president in particular that carries the role of spokesperson of the KSA. Your words carry the weight of the association; electronic records are the time-proven and tested way of ensuring that your words are passed on accurately to students.
The Runner has every right and duty to attend, record and report on the meetings of the society, as enshrined in our Bylaws and the KSA-PIPS Autonomy Agreement. And yet, at your initiative, Council moved to ban recordings during public meetings of the KSA. Such a resolution (and later regulation) on the matter is nothing but a punitive measure against students-at-large that have taken their time and the initiative to get informed about their student association.
As for the matter at hand, you write of your concern regarding potential “gross inaccuracies in recent online and print publications of the ‘Runner’ [sic],” and state three examples. I must firmly and respectfully disagree on all three counts, and would like to refer you to the Minutes of Executive Board of Directors for the meeting held April 1, 2011. They are available online, but we can provide you with copies if necessary. Specifically:
1. Concerning the Directors of Finance and Operation’s lack of involvement in matters pertaining to the legal cases, I’d like to refer you to the resolution passed at 1:26pm of the day in question, when by initiative of the Directors of Events and Finance the Director of Operations is to “instruct David Borins and his law firm to cease all activity pertaining to the RAF case until further notice.” Two minutes later, the Director of Operations was designated to be “the sole liaison with KSA legal counsel.”
2. Concerning the comment that there have been no changes to the case involving former directors since the new board took office, the Executive Board resolved that Mr. Borins be instructed “not to schedule a date for the case management conference until further notice.” This was part of the resolution to instruct Mr. Borins to cease all activity.
3. Concerning Mr. Borins’ continued work for the KSA, I would like to inquire as to the nature of this work, since the Executive Board decided that “the firm Taylor Nakai LLP be instructed to represent the KSA on all legal matters effective immediately” on April 1. Did the Executive Board violate its own resolution and award more work to Mr. Borins, and did not inform the rest of the Society?
Also important to note is that of the five-person Executive Board, only Operations, Finance and Events were present and voting in the meeting. Nowhere in the minutes are any potential conflicts of interest, apparent or real, mentioned. No one declined to discuss or vote on an issue. For the record, I would like to remind you that these resolutions were passed in camera, and that you were specifically invited to join in at the request of the Directors of Finance and Operations.
In light of the evidence provided above, and barring any new evidence you can provide, I cannot take you on your word that the statements are grossly inaccurate. Consequently, and as I said previously, I must respectfully reject your calls for an apology and a retraction. In fact, I must go as far as to condemn your attempts of using the threat of legal action against your fellow students, funded by the very fees we all pay into the KSA.
Once again, I’d like to repeat that Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society stands fully behind the work of our journalists, and believe that they have acted with all the due care and standards of the profession. We will act with care, with responsibility and with integrity, and shall “govern ourselves accordingly,” as you put it. But we will not stop reporting the facts, and we will not be silenced by threats.
In your letter, you mention an appreciation for our “strong drive to bring information” to students, and that you “respect true journalism which aims to highlight only the truth.” I agree wholeheartedly. We would be more than willing to provide full and fair coverage of the KSA’s perspective as well, as befit the proper journalistic standards that PIPS and the Runner strive to achieve every day. To this end, I would like to invite you and the Executive Board to sit down with our reporters and directly comment on all of these stories. Openly. Transparently. Responsibly.
For the good of the KSA and of the students of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, I hope you accept.
Paul Li, Chairman of the Board
Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society
Filed Under: Board of Directors
About the Author: The Runner is owned by students and created for students. We are the premier news and culture source for students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
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