By Edward Djan
Vice-president operations Salar Syed is resigning from his position at the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU).
Syed sent an email to The Eyeopener on Aug. 26, stating that he is leaving his position because “the last few months have been extremely challenging,” adding that the TMSU has “not been able to achieve anything impactful.”
“I believe it’s in the best interest of the organization for me to step aside, and allow the president to govern as they please,” he said.
“Salar is not wrong in saying that it has been challenging, we are taking over for an organization that has not been running in person for two years due to COVID and had known issues in the past,” TMSU president Marina Gerges said in an emailed statement to The Eye in response to Salar’s resignation.
“It has been challenging, but the rest of my team and I will continue working hard to provide students with the services they deserve,” she added.
Syed has had a contentious relationship with some members of the TMSU this term.
During a Board of Directors (BoD) meeting in July, Syed was suspended for five business days without pay.
The oversight committee received complaints from two different people. One complaint alleged, according to minutes from the July BoD meeting, Syed accused others of breaking TMSU bylaws despite him not actually knowing them.
The minutes also said that during an investigation, Syed did not dispute the allegation and even offered to apologize in writing.
Gerges told The Eye that neither of the complainants have received a written apology from Syed.
Syed also clashed with Gerges during his time with the TMSU. At the June BoD meeting, Syed accused Gerges of throwing him “under the bus” after Gerges revealed she was working on distributing emergency grants despite that initiative being under “the portfolio of VP operations.”
Syed claimed during the meeting that he was told by Gerges to stop working on it. “If you ordered [me] to stop that means you should say that, Marina. The president ordered [me] to stop.”
Syed is the second executive to resign from their role before the new school year started.
Vice-president education Umar Abdullah revealed during the July BoD meeting that he was resigning from his role for another opportunity in his field.
Gerges said more information on how the board plans on moving forward with the two vacant positions will be shared at the upcoming August BoD meeting.
She also added that in Syed’s absence, the board has “three people working in the finance department [that] will be taking the lead on the budget Salar had been trying to work on.”
With files from Prapti Bamaniya