KSA business rep disciplined by council for ‘unbecoming conduct’

Yasir Raja was issued an official warning and stripped of his January pay.

By Matt DiMera
[news editor]

Yasir Raja, a current business faculty representative on the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), was disciplined by council last month.

KSA business faculty rep Yasir Raja was disciplined in January for “unbecoming conduct.” (Chloe Smith/The Runner)

Raja, who is also running for re-election, was issued an official warning for allegedly making “frivolous and vexatious complaints” and had his January honorarium reduced to $0 for “conduct unbecoming of a director of the society.”

The decision came after a 45-minute closed door in-camera session at the Jan. 16 KSA council meeting. Raja was not in attendance at the meeting.

In October, Raja was voted out as chair of the KSA’s finance committee and replaced with Punit Ghuman. No explanation for his ouster was recorded in the KSA’s minutes.

KSA spokesperson and chairperson of their executive committee Christopher Girodat declined to give specifics about why Raja had been disciplined.

“That’s a board of directors issue between the board of directors and Yasir, therefore it’s confidential and I’m not able to provide comment on that,” said Girodat.

However, according to KSA sources, the discipline came after Raja made serious allegations against current director of finance Tony Chiao.

In late 2012, the KSA investigated and subsequently exonerated Chiao of harassment, after Raja alleged in early December that Chiao was incompetent and that Chiao had stalked him via Facebook and had singled him out because of a personal grudge.

The KSA committee that investigated Raja’s complaint not only cleared Chiao, but had harsh words for his accuser in an internal report:

“Yasir Raja has been very disrespectful of everyone’s time and efforts on this file. He made a complaint to the Standing Committee on Governance against Tony Chiao. After this complaint, he did not appear at the Standing Committee on Governance when he was asked to. Since then, he has not attended any of the Standing Committee on Finance meetings, or the regular Council meeting(s),” read the committee report.

“He has also been caught lying to the Standing Committee on Governance, failed to respond to emails in due time, failed to comply with the decision of the Complaint Resolution Sub-Committee, and when he was not satisfied with the decision, simply said he wanted to drop the original complaint.”

The committee subsequently recommended that Raja not receive his January honorarium and that Raja be discouraged from running for election in the next term. They also suggested that if Raja were to run again, that it should be recommended at the next annual general meeting that he be put in bad standing to prevent him from doing so.

Raja’s complaint against Chiao seemingly stemmed from last summer and fall when the KSA executive committee raised serious questions and had reservations about spending and receipts submitted by Yasir Raja and the Kwantlen Cricket Club (KCC).

The KSA’s minutes paint a picture of an ongoing struggle between the KSA executive and the KCC regarding funding. In June 2012, Raja submitted a funding request so that Kwantlen could host a cricket tournament, which was scheduled to end on July 22, 2012. The KSA executive committee approved $2,300 for the tournament to pay for insurance and ground bookings.

In July, the KSA discovered that Kwantlen had not and was not hosting a tournament as had previously been explained. By this point the KCC team had already received the money from the KSA.

When the KSA asked for an explanation, they were allegedly told that the cricket club had been unable to host a tournament, but had instead used the money to attend a different tournament hosted by someone else.

The KSA executive eventually relented and went against their own policies to make an exception for the KCC.

Raja did not respond to email and telephone requests for an interview before The Runner’s deadline.

According to Girodat, the Kwantlen Cricket Club still has other unresolved financial issues with the KSA.

“The Kwantlen Cricket Club does currently have outstanding expenses, which have been claimed, but has not been reimbursed. The KSA is not satisfied with the supporting documentation provided, since that club had previously been issued a warning for its financial relationship with the KSA, and since it’s a continued issue, these expenses were rejected,” Girodat told The Runner in a Feb. 24 phone interview.

“Other than these outstanding expenses, ultimately, most of these issues were resolved when the executive committee agreed after much discussion to make extraordinary exceptions to policy surrounding supporting documentation.”

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