SU science faculty rep resigns from office

By Ashad Mukadam

After an unexpected loss, undergraduate students in the faculty of science will now be voting for a faculty representative in the upcoming Students’ Union by-election.

Ola Mohajer resigned her post as a faculty of science representative Sept. 30 after being denied a term excusal in the Student Legislative Council meeting last week.

“The SLC decided that she couldn’t fulfil her role as a faculty representative,” said vice-president academic Alyssa Stacy.

Mohajer, who is currently attending McGill University for the Fall 2010 semester as a visiting student, felt the vote was unfair.

“I feel that I could fulfil the actual duties as I offered to attend the meetings via Skype,” Mohajer said. “They would only miss the vote. I even picked up a fifth course [at the U of C] to stay as a rep.”

Mohajer stated she had been working on projects for the SU, sending in weekly reports to the VP academic and other science representatives and dealing with issues her constituents brought to her attention.

“I started work on my campaign promises and I kept in contact via email and phone,” Mohajer said. “Everything else was being done online.”

Mohajer confirmed she would be back in a few months for the winter term to take classes at the U of C.

Faculty of education representative Patrick Tomczyk raised the objection to granting Mohajer a term excusal.

“The by-laws spell out exactly who can hold office,” said Tomczyk. “You have to be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the U of C taking at least one class in the fall/winter semesters respectively.”

The sole remaining faculty of science representative, Aleena Mansoor, voted in favour of allowing Mohajer to be granted a term excusal.

“I believed that she could have handled her duties,” she said. “Ola was helpful with other things and she answered email and was in constant communication.”

Faculty of Arts representative Vincent St. Pierre also voted in favour of granting a term excusal to Mohajer.

“The duties as an SLC member are not confined to just the SLC,” he said. “There are also duties to students and faculty that she was fulfilling.”

St. Pierre added that since Mohajer was required to take courses not offered at the U of C and could carry the workload, she deserved an excusal.

Stacy stated that Mohajer did bring up the issue in August, a month earlier than required by the SU bylaws.

“According to the by-laws, the term excusal should be brought up during the first month of either semester in which the excusal is needed,” she said. “It was just bad timing on Ola’s part.”

However, there were apparently no issues prior to Mohajer’s departure to Montreal for the semester.

“After I left, the process changed to concern of a vote being lost,” she said.

St. Pierre agreed that the situation was unfortunate.

“I feel pain because everyone [on the SLC] said that she would get an excusal at committee,” he said.

St. Pierre was also upset that there was a request for the meeting to go in-camera, or off the record.

“It should not have gone in-camera because it needed to be transparent and clear to all the students,” he said.

The nomination dates for the SU by-election were pushed back to October 13, 14 and 15 to allow Mohajer the chance to run.

“The Council decided that she should have the students decide,” said Mansoor.

All Faculty of Science students are eligible to run in the by-election, as long as they hand in nomination papers prior to the deadline. While she did not explicitly state that she would run, Mohajer said that she deeply cared about fulfilling the role of science representitive and can still accomplish what she started. At the same time Mohajer is willing to accept the decision of her constituents.

“I always want their best interests, and I want them to vote with their conscience,” she said.

The SU by-election takes place Oct. 26-28.

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