Ousted board threatens legal action against student association and university.
By Matt DiMera
Controversial former Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) executives Aaron Takhar, Jatinder “Joey” Atwal, and Jaivin Khatri staged a protest in support of the 12 recently-impeached board members, on Kwantlen’s Surrey campus, Dec. 5.
Takhar and Atwal led the protest, taking turns shouting through a megaphone, criticizing the university, the newly-appointed interim KSA directors, and The Runner newspaper. Takhar, Atwal and Khatri were all defendants in the civil case that alleged former KSA directors and staff members had misused more than $2 million in student fees to commit mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty, before that case was settled in October.
Starting shortly after 3 p.m., about 25 former KSA officials, staff, students, and family members took part in the protest, hoisting signs and shouting at the crowd of students and faculty that gathered to watch. The group marched back and forth several times between the KSA offices and the Surrey campus’ main courtyard, before dissolving.
Using the megaphone, Takhar repeatedly called for Kwantlen Polytechnic University president John McKendry and associate vice president Jody Gordon, as well as the newly-appointed KSA officials, to come out and answer his questions.
Noticeably absent were former KSA president Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi, and the four other impeached executives, Balninna “Nina Kaur” Sandhu, Parminder “Bobby” Padda, Jaspinder Ghuman, and Tarun Takhar. According to comments made by Sandhu last week, some or all of them have been temporarily suspended by the university. Sandhu and Aaron Takhar are first cousins.
Other family members also rallied to show their support, including Aaron’s younger brother, Stefen Takhar, Aaron’s brother-in-law, Harman Mann, and Nina Sandhu’s younger brother, Harnek Singh Sandhu.
The recently-ousted director of operations Nipun Pandey, former Cloverdale campus director Shivinder Grewal, and former students with disabilities liaison Aastha Arora were also part of the protest.
Surrey RCMP officers were present on campus during the rally.
“We were protesting this ludicrous cycle of lawsuits, more specifically the special general meeting,” said Aaron Takhar after the protest. Takhar claimed to speak for the executives who were “unable to speak for themselves because they’ve been suspended.”
“We were just trying to get answers to some basic questions,” he said.
Takhar says he wanted to know why he and other students who attended Kwantlen in 2005 were named in the motion passed at the Nov. 30 special general meeting. He also suggested that the motions were racially motivated, pointing out that all 26 people named are South Asian.
“I don’t like being subject to any resolution, any kind of a meeting, where my standing, whether it means anything or not, is affected, without me being notified,” he said.
Takhar claimed to have no knowledge about why three of his family members had become involved with the Kwantlen Student Association.
“I don’t know, you got to ask them. They ran,” he told The Runner. “I don’t know if it was a coincidence. That’s up to you guys to judge. So they got elected, they took office, the rest is history.”
Takhar refuted the suggestion that he was concerned that the new interim council might reinstate the civil suit against him and the other former defendants.
“The lawsuit’s done, it doesn’t matter at this point,” he said. “The case is in the gutter, which is where we wanted it to end up in the beginning.”
Takhar maintains that he is completely innocent of all charges that were leveled in the civil suit, and that the KSA was only able to get default judgments against him because he wasn’t “interested in spending that kind of money” to defend himself in court.
In a Dec. 4 press release, the removed KSA board claimed that the results of the Nov. 30 special general meeting were invalid and threatened legal action against the KSA and the university, if they were not immediately restored to power.
“If this issue is not resolved on Monday the rightful Board of Directors will take its fight to the BC Supreme Court for a final resolution,” said former KSA director of events Tarun Takhar in the written statement.
The ousted-council members say that they and their supporters were unfairly barred from entering the Nov. 30 meeting and that they have a petition signed by more than 400 students who support them.
Former KSA chairperson Nina Sandhu did not respond to an email request for comment before The Runner‘s deadline.
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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