SFU students prepare for showdown

A bitter three-month dispute involving two SFU student factions will come to a head on October 25.

Both the Simon Fraser Student Society and a group called Students for a Democratic University are urging students to attend meetings to be held the same day (Wednesday [October 25]) and time (2:30 p.m.) while accusing the other side of trying to muddy the issue and siphon students away by clashing schedules intentionally.

The Straight previously reported that SDU was gathering signatures as part of an attempt to impeach SFSS president Shawn Hunsdale and other members of the student-society executive. SDU is upset at the firing of long-time SFSS employee Hattie Aitken.

According to PhD student and SDU spokesperson Bryan Jones, a special general meeting was called by Forum””a group set up to act in an advisory capacity to SFSS””to be held October 25 in Convocation Hall. This meeting was subsequently cancelled by SFSS, which claimed that the Forum meeting would not attract enough students to have a required quorum. SFSS then called an annual general meeting for the same time slot and day, to be held in the east gymnasium.

“Posters are up for both meetings,”  Jones told the Straight by phone. “It would be funny if it weren't so sad.” 

However, Delta lawyer Ulf Ottho””who represents SDU””supplied legal documents to the Straight wherein he claims “there is nothing in the [SFU] constitution and bylaws which authorizes the member services officer, Glyn Lewis, to cancel the meeting, once convened by the Forum chair.

“Accordingly, it would appear that the resolution to convene a Special General Meeting on October 25, 2006, is valid,”  Ottho wrote in his legal correspondence with SFSS lawyer Don Crane dated October 13.

However, Hunsdale insists that even if the Forum meeting draws the required 500 students and student graduates””who then require a two-thirds majority for impeachment””he will consider the vote null and void.

“Yes, that much is very clear in this case,”  Hunsdale told the Straight. “We [at SFSS] have been told that we are confusing the issue. That is flawed logic. It is a very politically charged chance for them [SDU] to put SFSS in a bad light....I think people should know that the only valid meeting where business can be conducted is this AGM [in the east gymnasium].” 

More than a dozen graduate-student groups have passed motions of nonconfidence in the SFSS board since the two factions on Burnaby Mountain began to diverge.