UPDATE: Kwantlen students vote to oust KSA directors
Interim directors will be appointed and a new election called in the new year after Kwantlen Polytechnic University students voted to oust the current Kwantlen Student Association at a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., the meeting was delayed for more than an hour after someone pulled the fire alarm and a hallway full of people was pepper sprayed.
The meeting finally resumed, and after the fire alarm was pulled a second time, the vote finally proceeded.
More than 350 students – well above the minimum quorum of 250 – voted for the removal of five executives and eight voting council members (one of whom has already resigned).
The Special General Meeting (SGM) was called after a 277-name petition was presented earlier in November, demanding the removal of the five executives and eight other voting council members from office, placing them in bad standing so they may never run for the KSA again, and to install a new set of bylaws.
Prior to the meeting, student Arzo Ansary said a "bunch" of students were disheartened by what they saw going on and didn't feel they were getting any answers.
"They felt this is the only avenue they had left," Ansary said, adding there are fears the controversy is harming Kwantlen's reputation.
Much of the opposition began after it was discovered the association had put a lawsuit involving former director Aaron Takhar and others on hold. At the time, it was revealed at least two of the newly elected directors are related to Takhar – his sister Justine Franson and cousin Nina Kaur. Franson has since resigned. The longstanding lawsuit, which involved the alleged mismanagement of more than $1 million in students fees, was subsequently dismissed without costs.
There are also allegations the current executives raised their pay by 40 per cent, spent $100,000 on a concert and spent thousands of dollars on legal fees.
Prior to the SGM, the KSA's director of finance Nina Kaur said the meeting was invalid for several reasons, but, in respect to the students who showed up, hoped to have an open forum to hear their concerns.
Kaur said she and other elected directors spent Tuesday handing out pamphlets and speaking to students on campuses.
"A lot of our membership has been provided with false information that's led students to believe the KSA is acting in a ridiculous manner, spending recklessly," she said.
Kaur said she's unsure why she and other KSA members have been targeted, but suspects it's politically motivated. Many longtime directors were unseated in the April student election, which saw a huge turnover and large margin of victory for those now in power, she said.
Kaur noted Deloitte & Touche has been hired to do a full governance review so the KSA can move forward and ensure its practices are in order.
There was no answer at the KSA office Wednesday afternoon.