By Racy Rafique, Abeer Khan and Gabriela Silva Ponte
A motion to remove five Board of Directors (BoD) for abandonment of office was moved by the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) yesterday evening.
In an email sent to The Eyeopener on March 1, vice-president operations Spyros Zarros said that Joel Kuriakose, along with four other BoD members, were named in the motion to be removed on the basis of ‘abandonment.’
“The issue with abandonment is that Joel was not attending the meetings nor was he sending regrets for meetings,” the email states.
Kuriakose had submitted the letter of resignation to TMSU executive director Reanna Maharaj at 11:50 p.m, as previously reported by The Eye.
The TMSU submitted a motion to consider Kuriakose’s positioning along with five other members as vacant in an email, obtained by The Eye, that was sent to the BoD at 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 28.
The deadline to vote on the motion is 7 p.m. on March 1.
Five Board members—Arts director Kiera Gray, FCS director Zroha Khalid, TRSM director Aman Mathur and TRSM director April West—have been identified as abandoning their office.
Student groups director Ayra Rajpal resigned before the motion was put forward.
According to Section 4.15 of the TMSU bylaws, BoD members that fail to attend three consecutive meetings or any four meetings of the Board can be removed on the basis of abandonment by a two-thirds majority vote and “shall be deemed to have delivered their resignation.”
In the email sent to the BoD last night and obtained by The Eye, Zarros said the TMSU has been reviewing requirements of the bylaws and the alignment with the honorarium of up to $3,000 that Board members are set to receive, as discussed in the TMSU’s last BoD meeting on Jan. 17.
“Upon reviewing the attendance at Board of Directors meetings and the general meeting, we have found that a number of members of the Board have not attended a number of sessions required in the By-Laws and that the positions are now considered abandoned in accordance with our By-Laws,” Zarros said in the email to the BoD.
In his email to The Eye, Zarros said it is inaccurate to report that Kuriakose resigned from his position while the Board was in an active vote to consider his position abandoned.
Zarros told The Eye that Kuriakose resigned after it was clear that Board Members were being removed in accordance with the bylaws.
All BoD members, including the five moved to be removed, were sent Zarros’ email containing the motion. However, the five board members have not yet been informed of the outcome of the vote, as the vote is still in progress.
“While a substantial number of votes have been cast, we have not yet announced the outcome,” Zarros said.
Kuriakose alleged in a call with The Eye that the current union claims he was abandoning his role as a TMSU member, however, he alleges he was consistently left in the waiting room of the Board’s Zoom meeting.
“This is news to us,” the TMSU wrote in response to the allegation.
Zarros added that the students’ union has a Whatsapp group chat where members tend to note technical difficulties in regards to virtual meetings.
“To our knowledge, Joel has not had an issue accessing the space,” he added.
Zarros said the results of the vote will be made public once voting ends.
With files from Thea Gribilas
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Marina Gerges sent the email to the BoD. The Eye regrets this error.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to the Faculty of Community Services (FCS) director as the Faculty of Community Services Society director (FCSS). The Eye regrets this error.