Letter: GSA Needs More Accountability

Directors and officers of corporations are expected to adhere to high standards of ethical conduct.

A conflict of interest policy is an important governing document, which can help ensure that directors perform their duty of loyalty.

Directors are supposed to avoid conflicts of interest, and should place the interest of the organization they represent above their personal interests. Directors are not supposed to abuse their positions for personal gain.

Keroles Riad, who was disqualified from the 2015 Graduate Students Association elections, previously complained about conflicts of interest and abuse of power in the GSA. Riad, who was appointed as a GSA director during the first council meeting of the 2015-2016 year, has also been involved in conflicts of interest situations.

Riad, who is a member of the GSA appointments committee, disregarded the GSA conflict of interest policy when recommendations were made for appointments to university committees, which strongly favoured Riad.

Riad also ignored the GSA conflict of interest policy during the Nov. 1, 2015 council meeting, by motivating for immediate allocation of funds to a group, which is controlled by Riad. The motion Riad proposed disregarded the existing GSA allocation funding policy.

Directors breach their fiduciary duty when they disregard conflicts of interest. Student representation involves advocating for students rights, helping to improve the quality of education and supporting the provision of services to students. Student representation should not be seen as a means for personal gain and oppression.

Graduate students should derive benefits from their membership of the GSA because they pay membership fees. Besides covering operating costs, member fees should be used to provide services to members.

Student representatives are accountable to the members they represent. Transparency and accountability are required for the effective governance of associations, where the trust of members is important.

Several steps have been taken to improve the transparency of the GSA. Improved transparency leads to greater accountability. We do not need to turn back the clock.

— Alex Ocheoha, president of the GSA

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