By: Nathan Hood and Adi Vella
In an unexpected moment at Council’s extraordinary meeting on March 18th, vice president student life Megan Rix read a letter criticizing the SU over its recent concerns for transparency and its past inaction.
Rix, who fought back tears as she read her letter, asked councillors why transparency was not sought when former president Hammad Ahmed had resigned.
Rix alleged that she had been harassed by Ahmed and had filed a formal complaint with the SU. After filing the complaint, she said she never received an update on the investigation or if she would like to take her complaint further.
“The SU’s HR policies and procedures are flawed,” she said, “and I know this because I had to work with someone who made me feel scared and uncomfortable for three months before something was done.”
Rix expressed frustration in being told “to keep quiet about what happened.” She said her story was considered confidential and inferred that others had told her that “breaking confidentiality is an impeachable offence” and “Hammad resigns respectfully, therefore we have to protect him.”
Council Motions to Investigate
After Rix had read her letter, vice president academic & external Taya Nabuurs motioned to investigate Rix’s claims against Ahmed.
Before the motion went to a vote, nursing representative Colton Profitt said that he agreed with Rix’s concern about the lack of transparency and said the ombudsperson should investigate Rix’s claims.
“If those claims are what [the ombudsperson finds],” he said, “then we have failed you, Ms. Rix.”
Profitt went on to describe the past few weeks as “torture” and called on councillors to do better.
The motion to investigate the claims passed, with Rix and graduate student representative Ashley McKibbon abstaining while international student representative Caroline Simoes Correa and business representative Jose Barros voted no.
The Cadre asked Barros why he had voted against the motion, having declared his status as Ahmed’s roommate as a conflict of interest earlier in the year.
“My decision to vote against the investigation came from a place of understanding that this issue was already resolved,” Barros said.
Ahmed Responds to Allegations
In a statement to The Cadre, former SU President Hammad Ahmed said that to his knowledge, proper HR procedures were followed to ensure everyone was in a safe and comfortable workplace environment. He also said he would cooperate with the investigation.
“I will be answering questions and will be open to dialogue with the ombudsperson who is responsible for investigating the matter,” he said.