Emotions ran high at a KSA special council meeting as four members vowed to not return to council meetings until they get what they want.
By Derek Robertson
and Abby Wiseman [coordinating editor]
Decisions on the U-Pass and student union building may be delayed, as four members of the KSA student council walked out of last Thursday’s special council meeting, vowing to boycott all future council meetings until the newly appointed chair of the executive board resigns.
The meeting was called to discuss the sudden dethroning as chair of Reena Bali, director of events and student life, who was replaced by Matt Todd, director of external affairs, at an executive board meeting on Sept., 17.
Tensions ran high as several members of the executive explained that now that Cram Jam was finished the KSA’s priorities had shifted to working on the U-Pass, as well as on to negotiations with Kwantlen over a KSA student union building–something that Todd is working directly on.
An emotional Bali said that she felt it was personal.
“I was sitting in the executive meeting and felt like I was being attacked by three people on not doing my job properly,” said Bali. “I feel that the argument for teamwork only works for certain people, but when it comes to someone like me, I feel members of the executive do not use team work towards me. I’m put on like an outcast.”
In an interview last week, Todd said, “it was in the KSA’s best interest with her [Bali] being the interface between the KSA and Kwantlen for Cram Jam, but now that Cram Jam is over, the KSA’s priorities have shifted.”
“There were times where we nearly missed deadlines because the chairperson didn’t have the depth of knowledge for understanding opportunities presented by Kwantlen,” said Todd.
Todd presented the change of leadership as an expediency tool, and admitted that the previous chairperson may see the change as an attack on her duties.
Other members of the KSA council, Surrey campus director Sean Bassi, Surrey representative Pavanpreet Sodhan and Richmond director Harj Dhesi sided with Bali. Dhesi, who is also Bali’s boyfriend, advised the council that Todd should resign.
“I personally do not accept the decision that the exec. made. Therefore, I do not accept it. So out of protest I will be boycotting this meeting and any other council meetings until the consideration I recommended is accepted,” said Dhesi.
Dhesi was the first to walk out followed by Bassi, Sodhan and then Bali herself.
Richmond representative Nicole Joe and Langley representative Amy Singh also quietly slipped out, leaving only seven votes in the room.
Since a minimum of eight members need to be present to make any decisions, no further decision on the chair could be made and the meeting was adjourned.
Bali is not without reason for suspicion.
Earlier last week, Matt Todd announced to KSA council that he would likely be resigning as director of external affairs in mid-October.
When asked by a member of the board at that council meeting why he planned to exit his position, only half way through his term, Todd stated a concern over the lack of leadership in the KSA.
“I’m not here for petty politics, and would rather focus on other projects and school if this continued,” said Todd.
Bali stated in an email interview last week that she had done her best to help with other executive projects, but when it came to Cram Jam “[she] got no support from any executive. They seemed to care less.”
Bali also stated that if “an executive member wants to have the role of Chairperson, they should also actually be able to commit the time into the society, having the capability of keeping majority of the KSA functioning as a team and being able to represent the society in the best interest of all and not just doing it for their self interest because if that’s the case.”