Kwantlen student leaders settle dispute out of court

Kwantlen Student Association has reached an out-of-court agreement with two former directors who filed a lawsuit against the association in January. -
Kwantlen Student Association has reached an out-of-court agreement with two former directors who filed a lawsuit against the association in January.
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A civil lawsuit against the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) launched by two ousted directors has been settled out of court.

Gary Singh Dhaliwal and Balninna (Nina) Sandhu filed a civil suit in B.C. Supreme Court last month saying that a special general meeting Nov. 30 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), during which they were impeached, was improperly called, unfairly conducted and should be declared null and void.

On Thursday (Feb. 16), the KSA released a resolution document showing that the student association and Dhaliwal/Sandhu have agreed that the meeting was "validly called, convened, and held" and that the resolutions expelling former directors and electing new directors and bylaws were also valid.

However, the parties also agreed that a special resolution which placed more than two dozen individuals in bad standing – meaning they could never run for the KSA again – was not legitimate because it did not meet notice requirements laid out in KSA bylaws.

Still, the resolution says, the 26 former directors and others "have voluntarily agreed not to participate in the affairs of the KSA in any manner for the next three years, including seeking office as directors of the society."

Student politics heated up at KPU shortly after an election last spring that saw a large turnover of directors. Allegations of overspending and corruption against the new student leaders soon followed.

The controversy intensified when it was discovered two of the newly elected – Nina Sandhu and Justine Franson – were related to former director Aaron Takhar, against whom the KSA had a longstanding lawsuit. The suit was dropped in October by the new group. Franson, Takhar's sister, had resigned prior, but anger amongst students continued to simmer.

More than 350 students attended the special meeting last November at the Surrey campus – during which fire alarms were pulled and pepper spray was used – voting unanimously to have certain directors expelled and other individuals placed in bad standing.

This week's out-of-court resolution states the agreement was motivated by a "desire to resolve all outstanding issues from the past in order to allow the KSA to move forward and focus on serving the students."

All parties have agreed not to engage in further litigation regarding past KSA events or speak further about the settlement. The KSA will also compensate Sandhu and Dhaliwal for legal costs.

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