Inside the tumultuous Annual General Meeting
By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
Last Monday, September 24, the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) impeached president Jaskarn Singh Randhawa at their AGM. This decision came at the recommendation of the SFSS Board of Directors in a document that outlined, among many other concerns, Randhawa’s lack of transparency with his use of SFSS funds; his failure to address sexual harassment allegations; general aggressive behaviour including an incident where he allegedly physically assaulted SFSS Board member Kia Mirsalehi; and leaking confidential information to the SFU newspaper, The Peak, including sensitive information about the aforementioned sexual harassment cases.
If the allegations themselves weren’t dramatic enough, the AGM was delayed by a smoke bomb set off in the Leslie & Gordon Diamond Family Auditorium where the AGM was scheduled to be held.
Jason Spence, sixth-year biology and computing science student at SFU, attended the AGM and spoke about his experiences in an email interview with the Other Press.
“I arrived after everyone had already been evacuated from the smoke bomb onto [Convocation] Mall,” said Spence. “While we waited for security, firefighters, and apparently the RCMP to clear the smoke, I saw Jas, well-dressed as always, making the rounds with his friends. There seemed to be a core of students against the impeachment. They even had a sign, which made me and some other students nervous as time went on.”
However many supporters showed up to champion Randhawa’s cause, the weight of testimony and evidence given by speakers at the AGM seemed to decide the matter.
“Samer Rihani, VP Student Services, gave a wonderful introduction,” said Spence. “He is one of the few people I’ve seen able to talk about intensely bureaucratic topics without sounding like he’s selling something.”
“I am confident that the SFSS will be more effective now than they were with Jas as the president,” said Spence. “As I understand it, Samer will be in charge of presidential roles and their delegation across all remaining board members. I have known Samer since before the election last spring, and I can’t think of a person I would be more comfortable with in his position.”