By Matt DiMera
The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) council has endorsed a letter condemning one of its own members for making an “unfounded attack on the presidency and the executive.”
KSA president and Surrey campus director Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi read out a letter at the Sept. 28 council meeting, singling out senate representative Christopher Girodat for allegations he made against Bassi and the executive board in his written council report.
In his Sept. 28 report, Girodat raised questions about alleged interference from elected officials in the KSA by-election. The report included a proposed motion to issue official warnings to Bassi and the executive for interfering with the chief returning officer and for“failure to respect her complete discretion and authority.”
Girodat’s report also criticized the executive board for spending more than $250,000 on legal and professional fees and proposed another motion to suspend the executive board’s spending authority until further notice.
Bassi called the allegations “baseless.”
“We urge you [Girodat] to raise your concerns before embarrassing yourself and the association by launching wild accusations. Your credibility and that of the association is diminished,” said Bassi. “The lesson of the day must be naturally be that one should not speak about matters in a way that portrays one as educated, when in fact one is not educated, because one does not know the facts.”
Bassi dismissed the allegations of interference, claiming the election process was “operated fairly, impartially, and as a non-partisan matter.”
“Part of the senator’s evidence for such conduct is a letter sent by Jody Gordon,” said Bassi. “What the senator fails to mention is that the allegations raised by Ms. Gordon have also been refuted and remain wholly unproven. To launch such allegations without substantiated facts is unconsciousable [sic], unprofessional and dumbfounded [sic].”
In an Oct. 7 interview with The Runner, KPU associate vice president Jody Gordon disputed Bassi’s claims.
“The university has not been presented with any evidence that refutes our allegations,” said Gordon.
Girodat responded by calling Bassi’s letter defamatory and a fabrication. “It’s character assassination,” he said. “That’s all it is, you’re attacking me personally.”
“Sean Bassi is attempting to crush dissent through defamation, Girodat told The Runner in an Oct. 7 interview. “The KSA executive is using character assassination to intimidate those who dare speak out,”
Former board of governor representative and current student-at-large Derek Robertson cautioned council members not to endorse the letter, saying that they could be held personally liable for defamatory statements.
“If [council] were to adopt this letter, it would be opening every single member of the board of directors up to a lawsuit for defamation,” said Robertson. “Because you are not just condoning the letter of the Surrey campus director, you are endorsing it and saying that the board of directors agrees.”
The KSA council voted to endorse the letter with Girodat, Langley campus director Jennifer Campbell, Langley representative Ken McIntyre, director of external affairs Bobby Padda and Surrey representative Nipun Pandey abstaining.
The motion was moved by Bassi and seconded by director of academics Jaspinder Ghuman.
Bassi, the KSA’s president and spokesperson refused a request for an interview, when contacted by email, Oct. 6.