Thursday, January 15, 2009

RSU boad members removed from RSU office by security

Tonight is the January board meeting of the Ryerson Students’ Union. While the meeting itself is sure to be something to watch, events from this past Friday warrant a post.

On Friday, RSU board members Abdul Snobar and Osman Hamid were removed by security from the office of executive director of operations and services, Mike Verticchio. For at least half an hour until they were removed, the pair yelled at staff and executive members accusing them all of corruption.

Once removed by security, Snobar went to the hall to keep yelling at Toby Whitfied, vice-president of finance as security looked on. Hamid sat on a couch adjacent to the executive director of operatons and services’ office staring at it until 7:00 pm (the event started at around 2:00 pm).

Snobar later expressed his concerns in an email sent to the Eyeopener, the Ryersonian, RSU staff and the RSU Board of Directors. While Snobar failed to mention the altercation, he claimed that the RSU is “almost bankrupt” and took issue with how Whitfield and Verticchio were undertaking a request for proposals (RFP) for the health and dental plan.

Claiming bankruptcy not only smacks of political opportunism, it’s also inaccurate. Snobar himself supported a budget that was passed only two months ago. While it did forecast a $6000 deficit, it hardly indicated that the RSU is close to bankruptcy (they receive an annual injection of membership dues and revenue). There is also an unqualified audit waiting to be received by the board. Due to filibustering and agenda amendments at the Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM), the audit was pushed too far down the agenda to be considered before quorum was lost.

Snobar’s other claim is that the RFP for next year’s health and dental plan contract is corrupt. He argued that because Hamid or he hadn’t been contacted about an RFP for a health plan, the vice-president of finance and the president must be hiding something.

However, at the RSU’s SAGM, students were clear about who should be responsible for an RFP related to the health and dental plan contract. The motion,

“BE IT RESOLVED THAT the signing officers of the Students’ Union be directed to solicit bids from interested parties through a tendering process before a health and dental plan contract can be signed”

was passed by the membership specifically directing the president, vice-president of finance and executive director of operations and services to begin the process (as they are the signing officers). No where is it mentioned that they were to include Snobar or Hamid (or anyone else) in the process. As a motion passed at the SAGM, by the general membership of the RSU, this has more power than a decision of the board, and certainly more power than a decision of two or three directors.

The story of the health and dental RFP hardly warrants the kind of aggressive behaviour toward staff and executive members that was exhibited, but is more of the same from the hot-headed young Snobar.

With the election looming, it is likely that these antics will continue to escalate as each side tries to convince students of their superiority. The RFP will keep close watch and try to update on these issues as they occur.


Unknown said...

Wow, this Slobar guy sounds like big trouble...and kinda wacko. I assume the picture means he's some army goof? Or was out hunting quail with Dick Cheney? Either way he's obviously a few cards short of a full deck!

And what about this Hamid guy? Sitting there staring for 5 HOURS?! It sounds like these guys specialize in organized crime-style intimidation. Good riddance to them!

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