By: Clint Maramag
UPEISU’S Vice President for Academic and External (VPAX), Anagha Muralidharan, resigned from her position following a workplace investigation approved after the resignation of UPEISU’s president, Riley Mackay. – January 31, 2022.
UPEISU officials released a statement regarding Muralidharan’s resignation. They specified that she was initially supposed to face a motion for impeachment due to evidence presented from the ombudsperson’s report. However, Muralidharan decided that it would be best for her to resign. She believed that the impeachment motion was based on personal grudges instead of constructive criticism.
UPEISU Ombudsperson Ayomikun Oguntola handled the workplace investigation. Oguntola’s report reported the significant issues that were discovered from the UPEISU workplace:
- Toxic environment that an executive member heavily founded.
- Long term bullying and exclusion
- Threatening of jobs
- Suicidal jokes in the workplace
- Racial issues
Oguntola specified that most of these actions were committed by all kinds of staff within the union and are not limited to full-time staff or executives. However, her report stated that most of these complaints were targeted to an executive.
The report noted how an executive member threatened certain full-time staff members. They said that this executive member was trying to exercise their power to fire someone.
The report also included how executive and student staff would be involved in a drastic amount of gossiping. An executive was also accused of making suicidal jokes, which caused a staff within the union to feel uneasy. Therefore, this staff avoided the executive for the sake of their mental health. Due to confidential agreements, the people involved in these issues were not revealed.
In the end, Oguntola came up with some recommendations from the conducted interviews. These involved an internal investigation of HR as a strong start and a solid HR practice in mitigating any issues that may arise in the future. To know more about the specifics of the report, click here.
The Cadre was able to talk with Muralidharan to share her opinions or comments regarding the situation. “The Ombudsperson publicly released my name with regards to what I said in the private investigation & breached confidentiality. Being the only name released, I can’t help but feel targeted..” Muralidharan stated that any person associated with the report must never be revealed to anyone due to confidentiality agreements.
Muralidharan stated that most of the reports’ findings were nothing but rumors. “Honestly, I am disappointed the investigation seems to have been based on hearsay. Also, I don’t feel the investigation was truly an unbiased affair.”
Muralidharan also mentioned that her intention had always been to be productive before she left the organization. “My only goal in office was to accomplish good work as VPAX. To do so, I felt it was my responsibility to ask as many questions as possible. I believe some misinterpreted my questioning as being condescending or harsh. The response I consistently received was “put your head down and follow protocol.”
Lastly, Muralidharan wanted to emphasize that she was not the first person to experience unfair treatment when questioning the higher-ups. “There were many instances of others being awarded credit for my work. I was silenced when I inquired about why I was not receiving any credit. All I wanted was fair treatment. The reality here is that I am not the first racialized person to feel mistreated. I am saddened by the relief I feel — at having resigned from a position I loved..”
Despite all of this, the UPEISU council appointed Adam Mackenzie as the interim president and Maggie LeClaire as the interim VPAX.