ASFA Denies Bourbonnière’s Request for Forfeited Bonus

Former President Asks for Reconsideration 10 Months Later

Caroline Bourbonnière won’t be getting her $1,500 bonus from last year.

Nearly 10 months after being refused an end-of-year bonus for helping to plan a speaker series that went $19,100 over budget, the former Arts and Sciences Federation Associations president was again denied in a landslide vote by ASFA council last night.

Bourbonnière was not present for the vote that dismissed her request, but speaking to The Link beforehand she said she was prompted to motion for her forfeited bonus because of the treatment she received in the fallout after the ASFA Talks 2013 speaker series.

“This is inhumane,” said Bourbonnière. “I’m doing this to go and take what’s mine, because I worked above and beyond my mandate in so many ways and worked through the worse climate you could even fucking imagine.”

Bourbonnière’s $1,500 bonus was used by ASFA council to help pay off the losses of ASFA Talks 2013, a multi-disciplinary speaker series that took place last March.

But Bourbonnière told The Link last year the event was well-executed but poorly advertised. She added in an interview last week that she tried to fundraise over $6,000 after-the-fact, something not expected of any president or ASFA member when a project falls into the red.

ASFA council had voted to impeach Bourbonnière near the end of her presidential term at a meeting on April 5, 2013.

About fifty-five per cent of ASFA council voted to impeach Bourbonnière for her part in organizing ASFA Talks 2013, short of the two-thirds majority required for impeachment.

The extra $19,100 allocated to ASFA Talks was used to secure keynote speaker Jeff Rubin, the former chief economist at CIBC World Markets, but Bourbonnière also signed off on a contract without a second signing officer to enlist Robin Lim, CNN 2011 Hero of the Year and founder of the Healthy Mother Earth Foundation, which provides free access to prenatal care in Indonesia.

According to current ASFA president Paul Jerajian, the event only raised $294 in ticket sales, although hosting it cost over $30,000.

In a letter to ASFA council outlining her decision to seek her forfeited bonus, Bourbonnière asserted Jerajian refused to sign in at a May meeting reevaluating the loss of her bonus, “unless the other councillors agreed not to reconsider the motion.”

She also made reference to Jerajian’s part in attempting to impeach her during her tenure as president, but does not name her successor by name.

“It’s completely within my rights to not sign into a meeting,” Jerajian countered, adding he did not sign in because the meeting meant to reconsider Bourbonnière’s motion had less people in attendance than the original meeting that decided end-of-year bonuses.

Jerajian says he does not consider himself to be the spearhead behind Bourbonnière’s impeachment, saying he was “only one vote.”

Nikos Pidiktakis sat on ASFA council last year as the representative for Political Science Student’s Association, of which Bourbonnière was VP Communications during the 2010-2011 academic year.

He says he offered testimony to ASFA council at Thursday’s meeting in response to Bourbonnière “attacking his character” and sending him “a series of unprofessional text messages” following his being critical over a closed ASFA Facebook group of Bourbonnière’s decision to seek her bonus again.

In those messages, which The Link obtained in their entirety, Bourbonnière said she “felt betrayed” by Pidiktakis’ comments on the group page, and that he “had no idea what he was talking about.”

“[Her motion for her forfeited bonus] was unparliamentary, unprofessional and as well, I honestly thought she put such a skeleton back in the proverbial closet,” Pidiktakis told The Link.

Bourbonnière says she has “been meaning to take care of [getting her bonus back] since September,” but her duties as VP External for the Concordia Student Union were more important and time-demanding.

But multiple members of ASFA have told The Link they view Bourbonnière’s attempting to get her bonus back now as both unprofessional and too late.

For Pidiktakis, he says it’s just detracting from the good job Bourbonnière has done for the Concordia Student Union.

“I have worked with her this whole year on the Divest Concordia campaign and helping her out on ideas for speakers,” he said.

“It is actually and truly sad as she was doing good work as our VP External.”

As for Bourbonnière, she says her motion to council was looking for them to reconsider more than just her bonus.

“I wanted council to understand what had happened [last year],” she said before last week’s ASFA council meeting.

“I’m being told that this is not the appropriate way to deal with this, that it’s over, that it’s in the past, that [this year’s ASFA council is not aware of the whole situation] but they’re completely removed from the situation so that they can look only at the facts, and that’s what’s important.”