SFU Impeachment Scandal

Seven members of the Simon Fraser Student Society Board of Directors, including president Shawn Hunsdale, are up for impeachment. They are:

  • Shawn Hunsdale, SFSS President
  • Margo Dunnet, SFSS External Relations Officer
  • Wei Li, SFSS Internal Relations Officer
  • Glyn Lewis, SFSS Member Services Officer
  • Vanessa Kelly, SFSS Treasurer
  • Marion Pollock, SFSS At-Large Rep
  • Erica Halpern, SFSS At-Large Rep

Over 20 student groups have passed motions of non-confidence in the Board of Directors. An opposition group, Students for a Democratic University, has formed. The grad caucus for my own program, Communication, is one of those who have passed a non-confidence motion. This is not a very political group: the meetings I have attended have revolved around giving students $65 to attend conferences, setting up the grad lounge, and planning the occasional party.

One of the most outspoken students in opposition to the board is Bhuvinder Vaid. I took a course with Bhuvinder this past spring. He easygoing and thoughtful (and lent me a book I have yet to return – don’t worry Beev, I’ll get it back to you). Bhuvinder isn’t the only concerned student; many of the emails I have received are from people I have gone to class with and respect.

The SFSS Board could be responsible for spending millions of student dollars on a health plan. They are linked1 to the National Student Health Network (NSHN), a health plan provider, through the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). They are on record supporting a new undergraduate health plan. The SFSS Board has fired a staff member, seized computers with health plan student records, refused to recognize a petition for impeachment, rescheduled the Annual General Meeting to the exact same date and time as Special General Meeting at which students will vote on impeachment, and spent thousands of dollars on lawyers. They have refused to explain.

Well, I don’t know the Board, but I do know I’ve never seen so many student groups, or so many students I respect, aligning on any issue in student politics (or even paying attention to it). I also know that the Internet has a memory. Right now, the scandal shows up on the first page of results in a Google search for four of these people’s names. Politics are changing. This could haunt them for a long time.

Update 2006-10-28: See my post-impeachment follow-up.

1 Shawn Hunsdale, according to his Web site, “is the Canadian Federation of Students’ representative to the British Columbia Health Coalition.”