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Presidential candidate grilled over absences

A motion to remove UNBSU international student representative and presidential candidate Muhammad Khan from the UNBSU council was the topic of an in-camera meeting at Sunday’s council meeting.

Khan, who was elected in the fall by-election, did not attend any council meetings until Jan. 25, meaning he missed a total of five meetings. The UNBSU bylaws stipulate that “the office of a candidate shall be automatically vacated at the discretion of the Council by majority vote if he or she fails attend three or more meetings of the Council.”

The motion failed with 11 votes opposed and five votes in favour.

Kinesiology representative Hailey Rendell tabled the motion.

“I’m not saying that nothing was done for his constituents, but as a member of the union it is a councillor’s responsibility to report back to council and vote based on the ideas [of their] constituents; also bringing the decision council has made back to their constituents,” said Rendell.

“I believe that it is our job to take council seriously and attendance to meetings is a part of that responsibility.”

On top of his absence from council, Khan did not do a UNBSU-council approved project – something that is required of each councillor.

“We do expect each of our councillors to do a councillor project, one each semester … and that does include by-election councillors although we do tend to be a bit more lenient knowing that they come in later,” said Lee Thomas, vice-president internal of the UNBSU.

“Given that I wasn’t in touch with councillor Khan all of first semester, it would be very difficult for me to say that he had an UNBSU-approved councillor project. He didn’t.”

Thomas also said that Khan hadn’t contacted her explaining his absence at the time.

Although Khan is running for president in the current UNBSU general election, the UNBSU president Greg Bailey said it would not affect his candidacy.

“This vote has nothing to do with the election. [The UNBSU] have no oversight over the election,” he said.

Khan said that the reason for his absence was a “communication error” and “personal situation.”

“The important thing was I was not aware of anything about what was happening in council [and] anything related to when the meetings happened and so it was most on communication error and of course my personal situation,” he said.

Khan said he was “in a state of non-responsiveness mentally and physically.” He also said that no one had questioned him about his absence.

“I was never asked what I was doing, why I’m not there, why I’m not present and in a situation like mine I was not in a perfect position to make any initiatives in a situation like that I will need support to get me involved in stuff like that,” he said.

“It’s the job of council to hold other councillors accountable but it’s not the job of council to have other councillors on a leash. We expect all of our councillors to be aware and responsible,” Thomas said.

“It’s the responsibility of councillors to be engaged in council and we expect that.”

The council meeting moved in camera because of the personal nature of Khan’s reason for absence.

The Brunswickan was not present for this part of the discussion.

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