The Kwantlen Student Association executive committee is in limbo after a recent council meeting which was described by outgoing KSA President David Piraquive as “a shit show.”
During the April 3 meeting, which took place over video conference, the council failed to elect a full executive committee after encountering problems and confusion while casting votes, causing them to postpone the remaining executive elections until a meeting on April 17.
In addition to this, a KSA business faculty representative resigned during the meeting, and no new appointments were made to any committees.
“We had to do it online. There was a little bit of confusion on how it works and who could vote, and in the end we ended up having too many votes for the amount of councillors,” says former KSA VP University Affairs Sarah Strachan.
“We have 20 councillors, and we ended up with like, 22 votes or something, so we had to do a re-vote where we got 20.”
Piraquive says “it seemed that some individuals were trying to vote more than once.”
“How else are you going to get 22 votes?” says Piraquive. “And if they are doing that, how stupid can they be? You’re playing with small numbers. [KSA Executive Director] is obviously going to notice.”
After re-voting, eleven votes were cast in favour of electing incumbent VP of Finance Mayur Gupta, and nine in favour of arts faculty representative Sukhpreet Kaur. Afterwards, the council moved on to the election of the next VP University Affairs.
“During the University Affairs [election], people started complaining that the whole process was unfair and that Sukhpreet should’ve won because she has all the numbers,” says Strachan.
She says KSA Speaker of Council Titus Gregory had to explain to the council that they needed to finish the vote before they could revisit it.
The new executive positions for VP University Affairs and VP External Affairs were filled by Ravinder Pal “Rubal” Singh and Palwinder Singh, respectively.
Business faculty representative Harmandeep Mann resigned from council due to the fact that, as an employee of Grassroots Cafe, she is not allowed by the KSA union to serve as a councillor. Out of concern for her job, she was planning to resign if she was not elected into an executive position.
“I guess you could say she should’ve thought about that before she ran,” says Piraquive.
At one point, Gregory also realized that a mistake had been made during the ratification vote for the VP Finance and Operations position. Only half of the council voted even though a two-thirds vote was required.
Mann’s resignation had already reduced the total council voting number to 19 when another council member dropped out of the video chat, further reducing the count to 18.
“We were just expecting 18 votes but we got 19 votes. Then one of the councillors said he was unable to vote. There was just this huge confusion about how many votes there were. But in the end, it looked like Sukhpreet ended up winning,” says Strachan.
“All of that took four hours. After four hours, we weren’t able to pass a motion to extend the meeting, so we just had to end it.”
Because of this, the council was also unable to pass any appointment recommendations made by the internal committee.
“There are no committees right now. There was supposed to be an internal committee after the meeting to appoint councillors to committees, but that didn’t happen,” says Strachan. “Right now, everything is just kind of in limbo as we try to figure it out.”
Piraquive says that the confusion during the meeting prevented the council from electing a full executive committee, which means that the day-to-day operations of the council and the approval of certain motions can’t take place. Three executives are needed to convene a meeting, but the KSA only has two.
“I’m honestly so embarrassed about what transpired. I’ve never seen this happen. I feel like some of [the KSA councillors] were acting like little kids,” says Piraquive. “If they can’t work together on this, how are they going to work together for future motions?”
“Especially right now, with everything that’s happening with COVID-19, we need a strong council. We need to be able to come together right now and start advocating for students.”
Strachan says she agrees.
“I’m speechless. I’m embarrassed. I feel like these council members are definitely not running in these positions for the interests of students, and advocating and doing what’s good [for students],” she says. “I don’t know. I’m angry. Let’s just say that.”