Fate of Ineligible ASFA Executive Member to Be Determined at Special Council Meeting
Academic Coordinator Has Support of Executive Team Despite Status
The ASFA executive team has released a statement in support of academic coordinator Phoebe Lamb after it was revealed she was not eligible to run when she was elected in February.
While the statement was posted on July 15, the situation first came to light internally nine days earlier, on July 6, according to Slack messages obtained by The Link. ASFA’s statement to its members followed inquiries from student media.
The leaked messages show ASFA general manager John Hutton asking whether an executive member may not be registered as an Arts and Science student after a question from the Office of the Dean raised concerns.
Phoebe Lamb responded that it could be her and later confirmed this was almost certain given her status as a visiting student. She is not a member of the Concordia Student Union according to the messages.
While Lamb pays ASFA fees, her status makes her an associate member and therefore ineligible to run in ASFA elections. In the statement on ASFA’s website and Facebook page, the executive team stated its support for Lamb. Most executive members ran together on the About Time slate, including Lamb.
“While Phoebe should not have been permitted to run for the position in the first place,” wrote the executive team, “the fact that she was declared elected, the election results were not contested with the 36-hour timeframe, and she was confirmed as the academic coordinator at the ASFA annual general meeting when the election results were formally approved, the ASFA by-laws, therefore, hold that, despite Phoebe’s associate member status, she is the academic coordinator until she either resigns, is impeached, or finishes her mandate.”
Lamb released her own statement alongside the ASFA executive team’s.
“I opted for visiting student status rather than fully transferring all of my credits because I completed more than half of my degree at my first university in Halifax, before moving to Quebec,” said Lamb. “I want nothing more than to continue to be ASFA’s academic coordinator, but it is extremely important to be that the ASFA community is aware of, and has a say in this matter.”
Replying to a request for comment from The Link, internal coordinator Emma Mason insisted that any elected councillor must be removed through a special council meeting and reinforced support of Lamb.
“In sum, Phoebe is still an executive until it is otherwise determined she isn’t, and that’s why we’re holding a special council meeting so that we can be fully informed on what direction the council wants to take this in,” said Mason. “We are currently working to organize a special council meeting as soon as possible, and so that we can follow the will of the council.”
She cited concerns with standing regulation 281, which outlines how candidates can be disqualified by either not being eligible or by violating the standing regulations.
“It’s also worth mentioning that article 281 of the standing regulations is very loose and needs to be fixed, because it currently means that any single standing regulation not followed, no matter how small, would mean immediate removal, which is inherently undemocratic,” said Mason.
According to ASFA’s standing regulations, the vote needed to remove a councillor from office is a two-thirds majority. If the attempt for removal from office passes, it will most likely be on the basis of “[v]iolations of ASFA’s by-laws or that of the member association.”
On Feb. 21, Lamb defeated western civilization student Bryan Lee by 385 votes to 339, with 120 abstaining.
Lee is not thrilled with the way the executive team has handled the situation. “I think their one-sided reading [of the by-laws] is an attempt to quickly sweep this under the rug,” said Lee. “It’s really a question of legitimacy.” He went on to describe it as a conflict of interest.
“These by-laws do not count for much if we do not utilize an impartial committee to adjudicate disputes of this type,” he said.
Mason did not respond to a subsequent request as to whether there was outside oversight to ensure the by-laws were interpreted correctly.
At this moment, Lee hasn’t made a decision on whether he will contest the results of the election, adding that he had difficulties finding instructions on how to file a complaint with the Judicial Committee. A lack of accessible information is “a testament as to how things have to change in our student politics for people to take any of this seriously,” he said.
Lamb has not responded to The Link’s request for comment and no date has been set for a special council meeting.