ASFA Leadership to Undergo Mandatory Sensitivity Training, Elections Fail to Meet Quorum

Student Politicians Involved in Racist and Sexist Messages No Longer Part of ASFA

  • ASFA will now have mandatory sensitivity training for all employees and students in leadership positions following reports of racist and sexist conduct.

The Arts and Science Federation Association (ASFA) passed motions to implement mandatory “sensitivity training” for all leadership positions and to dismiss the association’s “consultant” at a council meeting Thursday night.

Council voted to dismiss Paul Jerajian based on reports of sexually explicit conversations with ASFA’s VP Social dating back to 2013 about a former female executive.

Jerajian, who is no longer a student, has acted as a “consultant” since his resignation from presidency in February.

ASFA’s VP Social, who was also implicated in the harassment, resigned on April 8 for “personal health reasons.” Council did not pass any motions against him. Many called the resignation “convenient.”

Mandatory sensitivity training on “race, gender and other rights issues” will be given to ASFA leaders at the beginning of a student’s mandate or service. This includes council, all member association executives, Frosh leaders and any other students who have positions of leadership.

In the motion to dismiss Jerajian, it also states that the ASFA judicial committee examine his mandate as president to send advice to council on whether to award honoraria and bonuses. The committee is unknown to council to maintain impartiality.

An original dismissal motion called for an investigation of the sexual harassment allegations and a verdict on awarding honoraria and bonuses.

Debate took place on whether Jerajian’s mandate or the offences should be examined. James Tyler Vaccaro, an independent councillor, told council that the judicial committee could not decide a verdict for sexual harassment allegations.

In Annex E of ASFA’s bylaws, section six states that the committee is deemed “juristically incompetent” to rule on a matter of a serious violation of the Canadian or Quebec Charter.

Last semester, ASFA failed to organize consent workshops with the Centre for Gender Advocacy for Frosh orientation. That is reason enough to dismiss and not remunerate Jerajian, according to Urban Planning Association councillor Mariah Gillis.

“A year and a half is not a reasonable amount of time to plan a workshop,” she said. “It’s the most obvious problem that you really can’t argue with. It’s a shame that we did get caught up in semantics.”

“A year and a half is not a reasonable amount of time to plan a workshop,” — Mariah Gillis, Urban Planning Association councillor

Failed Quorum for General Elections

Approximately 300 members of the 16,000 arts and sciences student population voted this week at ASFA elections. According to Chief Electoral Officer Andréa V. Fernandes the elections failed to meet the minimum required, which is 427 voters.

She said late planning, the reports from last week and spoiled ballots didn’t help the cause. She recommended to council that they appoint the winners based on an interim basis until the Fall’s by-election. No decision was made last night.

Based on the votes cast, the referendum question asking for a $0.38 fee levy increase would not have passed, with 139 votes against and 109 in favour.

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