Shredding prompts emergency meeting

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By Kevin Ritchie

RyeSAC board members are raising a fuse after another internal controversy.

V.p. administration Atif Asghar repressed in emergency board meeting for Thursday to discuss accusations RyeSAC president Erin George shredded mail from board members’ mailboxes.

Asghar said 10 board members asked for the special meeting.

He said the board may pass a vote of no confidence—a statement to show the members’ lack of confidence in George.

This comes a month after seven board members wrote a letter criticizing George’s performance—and after RyeSAC’s Feb. 16 board of directors meeting became fixated on a bag of shredded papers brought by board member Daniel Hornik.

When the RyeSAC office was close the evening of Feb. 11, Hornik said he places copies of a letter in all the board members’ mailboxes. The letter—written by first-year graduate journalism student Robin Nieto and published in The Toronto Star—was critical of the Canadian Federation of Students’ Access 2000 campaign.

Hornik said he saw George enter RyeSAC’s shredder room with a stack of papers when he checked the mailboxes the letters he distributed were gone.

“I find it very disturbing that you go into other board members’ mailboxes and take their possessions,” Hornik said to George at the board meeting.

George denied the accusation, saying she has “serious doubts those letters were in the mailboxes in the first place.”

Still, an informal vote among board members showed they favoured an investigation.

Nelson Wiseman, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said an investigation is unnecessary because the letter has been published and is public knowledge.

“It’s not something you can hide,” he said. “The person who shredded it, what have they succeeded in suppressing?”

But board chair Frank Cappadocia said if an investigation happens, it will focus on George’s alleged actions, not the actual letters.

“I think the removal of information from someone’s mailbox is where the issue lies,” Cappadocia said.

If the board passes a motion to investigate the incident. RyeSAC will find an investion on campus, potentially a faculty member, or staff from security of the harassment prevention office. Hiring a professional investigator is also an option.

Cappadocia said the cost could reach $2,000 depending on who investigates and the depth of the probe.

George said an investigation will distract the board from any upcoming business, including a planned attack against tuition deregulation at Ryerson.

“We have a major fight on our hands,” George said. “And instead of focusing on that fight, this is what some board members would like to occupy some of our time with.”

Former RyeSAC president David Steele said squabbling can hurt the board’s reputation.
“Student government can lower its credibility very easily,” Steele said. “It’s difficulty to approach administratio and say, ‘We want to be responsible,’ when we’ve got people running around calling names.”

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