DISCLAIMER: This article was written as part of the final issue of the Fall 2019 semester, prior to the meeting of November 27 and to the releasing of the VCSA’s official statement to that regard. A formal update is to come in the following Winter 2020 issue
On November 14, a hearing concerning the impeachment of communications coordinators 1 & 2 was held.
The communications coordinators were working with a supplier to get merch for the Barbeque that occurred on September 13 at the start of the semester, and they allegedly purchased the merch without having motioned for the required money.
This is grounds for impeachment according to the VCSA By-Laws; any request to use an amount that exceeds $100 needs to be made at a meeting and put to a vote. The majority of the executives need to be in favour in order for the money to be allocated.
According to the VCSA President*, the communications coordinators did not give regular updates concerning quotes and designs at meetings, which they often missed, were late to, or from which they left early.
“There was a lack of communication on their part,” he said.
The Internal affairs Coordinator also expressed how the planning process for the barbeque was rushed due to the overall lack of communication between all VCSA executive members over the summer; the date of the barbeque was even moved around several times, thereby making it difficult to order merch.
According to the minutes for a meeting VCSA meeting held on September 5, wherein both communications coordinators were initially present before leaving early, updates were given surrounding designs for the merch, though nothing was approved on.
The president claims that no designs were shown to him, however, in accordance with the minutes, he also states that there was no talk of numbers during the meetings.
Presumably after the coordinators left the meeting, the council allegedly decided to use the merch they had on reserve, rather than ordering new merch at the last minute.
The President of the VCSA stresses that “instead of there being an unforeseen mistake, such as the merch order arriving late, [they] were not going to get anything.”
However, this decision was not specifically stipulated in the minutes of September 5.
According to the internal affairs coordinator, on September 6, the council found that an order was sent out for the merch. Despite the attempts to cancel the order, the shirts were already printed and were estimated to cost $5000; this money was not officially motioned for, thereby resulting in the suspension of both communications coordinators.
The issue became exacerbated the next day when the merch order arrived and ended up costing $15,777.30, which was paid for via installments, as per an agreement with the supplier.
As a result, as indicated in the minutes of September 19, there was a move to hold an impeachment hearing for communications coordinator 1. The motion failed, yet a motion for a hearing to impeach communications coordinators 1&2 occurred on October 29 and was approved. According to Robert’s Rules of Order (p.111.3), the second motion should have automatically void because the former failed; the second motion’s approval was contingent on that of the first by virtue of the fact that both motions concern the impeachment of communications coordinator 1.
In accordance with the By-Laws, as stated in the minutes of October 29, the notices for the impeachment hearing were sent out to both communications coordinators with a 15-day notice prior to the hearing, which is more than the required 10.
However, communications coordinator 2 never received her letter, and communications coordinator 1 states that during her two-month suspension, she received two letters, both of which arrived 8 days before the meetings. Therefore, due to the failure to follow procedure, the hearing should have been annulled, but it proceeded nonetheless.
“This whole procedure was just disrespectful to them,” emphasizes (now suspended) Clubs coordinator 2.
What is more, Communications coordinator 2 had no affiliation with the approval of the order to the supplier; communications coordinator 1 and the president allegedly were the ones to send the email giving the supplier the okay.
In addition to the grounds for the impeachment, other allegations included corruption; the communications coordinators were accused of placing the order for the barbeque merch for public gratification. Another allegation allegedly concerned their lack of attendance at meetings, yet this was not mentioned during the official hearing, as mentioned in the minutes from November 14. Clubs coordinator 1 (now suspended) claims that the allegations changed prior to the hearing.
Overall, in regards to the issue, club’s coordinator 2 says that, on a positive note, “[at] least this money was spent directly on students via merch, rather than on the VCSA’s office supplies, such as a bagel cutter, a dishwasher, and other kitchen appliances that students are not even allowed to use.”
When asked how this incident could have been prevented by the VCSA, president stressed the importance of “making sure that [the VCSA Executive members] were all on the same page in terms communication” and that they will be more proactive in doing so in the future.
*Minutes may be accessed via the VCSA’s Facebook page
Written by: Mel Spiridigliozzi