On Wednesday January 10, the Board of Directors met to discuss current issues, the foremost of which concerned the proposed restructuring of SUP. For the full breakdown of this meeting, read our article here.
The student body has raised concerns as to why SUP chose to halt their operations, even though the SUO had not publicly imposed any kind of restrictions regarding their operations. The Phoenix investigated the source of their hiatus and found the initial cause, in addition to inconsistencies in communication between the SUO and SUP in regards to the proposed restructure.
On December 13 2017 the SUO Executives met to discuss the potential restructuring of SUP, following a presentation from one of SUP’s founders, Beau Loomer. The meeting minutes stated, “it was agreed that until the restructure has been completed there will be no further honoraria payments made to members of SUP.” This is contradictory to the information provided to Loomer, who states that after his presentation to the executives on December 13th, "I was told that they would honor the system in place until a new structure is decided on. They told me they would let me know what they came up with. There was no further contact after this. I had to go out of my way to discover they had created a plan and had decided to put it into motion without my knowledge."
On December 21 an SUO Executive informed Loomer that VP of Finance Romil Jain had stated that SUP was not to host their annual Neon Lights event due to the restructuring of SUP, which was to take place from January to the beginning of April. The executive then informed Loomer that SUP would be "suspended for a bit until we restructure." As a result, SUP suspended their operations on December 21.
In an email thread released to The Phoenix, past interim General Manager Mike Ouellet sent an email to SUO executives spanning from Friday January 5 to Monday January 8, stating that an executive requested that he remove SALTO access from all SUP employees and that all SUP media passwords and accounts be handed over to the UBCSUO. The full email can be seen below.
VP External Amal Alhuwayshil responded that although she agreed that a financial management restructure of SUP should take place, she stated that “removing access is not a step in the right direction nor within our roles and responsibilities, and I completely with all due respect do not support this.” Alhuwayshil cc’ed the Board of Directors in her email, where she also cited bylaw 9 section D, which states that the Executives will “collectively be responsible for day to day decision making,” and Alhuwayshil claimed that removing SALTO access and media passwords is not a day to day decision. Alhuwayshil then cited bylaw 17, which states that no changes can be imposed upon SUP without their consent, unless directly pertaining to finances. See the full bylaw in our previous article here.
Trophy Ewila and Patience Spinoza both agreed that SALTO access and media passwords should be removed.
VP of Services Mohamed Azzam did not reply to the email thread.
VP of Finances Romil Jain responded to Alhuwayshil, saying that “I understand if the board doesn’t...think that it is viable to have SUP’s salto access to be denied.”Jain then stated that until the board had an official vote on the matter SALTO access would not be denied. Jain explicitly disagreed with Alhuwayshil’s citing of bylaw 17, claiming that “STUDENT MEDIA FUND Applies to heat wave and Phoenix, however SUP cannot be put just under this one category. As they not only receive student Media funds but also use their revenue to pay their wages unlike heat wave and Phoenix.” The email from Jain is posted in full below.
Alhuwayshil replied, “As they receive the Media Fee, kindly find the attached minutes below, they fall under BYLAW XVII. Bringing financial management and structure under the same bylaw is within our duties. What you have outlined about the new Societies Act goes hand in ha[n]d with placing financial management, and I completely support that, but nothing to do with the current SUP team, restricting or removing access.”
SUP founders were made aware of this email thread by a Board member on Monday January 8.
An emergency Executive Members meeting was called on Monday the 8th regarding the restructuring of SUP. Ewila, Spinoza, and Jain (over the phone) attended. Alhuwayshil and Azzam did not attend. Djordje Kovacevic chaired the meeting, as per Spinoza’s request. All executives in attendance voted yes, which represented three out of the five executives in total.
This decision was brought to the Board of Directors for vote in a Board meeting on Wednesday the 10th. However, as bylaw 17 states, the proposed restructuring of SUP cannot take place without their consent as it does not directly pertain to finances.
Confident that their structure would not be changed without their consent, and that they would be able to pay their employees for their work, Student Union Productions resumed their operations on January 10.