Club loses privileges

By Collin Gallant

The Reform Party on Campus has had their Students’ Union club privileges revoked until the end of Winter semester by the Clubs Comittee at a meeting on Wed., Oct. 28. This includes all SU grants, their office space and mailbox, and SU room and equipment rentals in MacEwan Hall and MacEwan Student Centre.

Reformers used their five minute speaking term at the meeting to attack the forum process in which the proceedings took place.

Tom Ross, a lawyer who represented the campus Reformers at the meeting, spoke at length of the "biased" process.

He claimed the RPoC had received no official disclosure of charges that had been levied against the club.

"Madame Chairman, you have given us a list of seven or eight different violations that are alleged [against the RPoC] without any basis, without any evidence, and without any bylaws that relate to them," said Ross at the meeting.

"With our long history of involvement with the RPoC, it is difficult to imagine that the club was not informed of the SU’s very grave concerns in these hearings," said Galbraith.

Ross also voiced his concern with the members of the commission who had been previously involved in bringing the issue forward from Executive Cabinet, in particular the involvement of President Paul Galbraith, Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso and Clubs Coordinator Erin Moffat, who brought the issue to the Clubs Committee.

Ross detailed comments made by committee member SU Academic Commissioner Lisa Snead about the issue, which he claimed showed a prejudice of the case. Snead removed herself voluntarily from the in-camera deliberations and the final vote. The SU maintains that the comments were taken out of context.

"This process has been so fundamentally flawed and fundamentally tainted that there is no possible way that it could be properly, appropriately, fairly dealt with before this tribunal or any other on this campus," said Ross.

Reform Club members claim that had it not been for their discovery of an inter-office letter from Affonso on behalf of SU Executive Cabinet to the Clubs Committee, they would have been intentionally left in the dark.

Ross put forth the opinion that ambush tactics were clearly being used and repeatedly pointed to inconsistences between the letters regarding charges, penalties and the possibility of an appeal.

Academic Commissioner Drew Brown agreed with the argument and moved that the entire disciplinary action be scrapped, saying that the matter had been improperly handled, which failed when it was not seconded.

"We would have treated any club in the same manner," said Affonso. Affonso claims that any inconsistences in correspondence were simply mistakes.

Before voting on the motion to suspend SU privileges, Galbraith outlined the issues in question. He did not go into specifics but said that the RPoC had broken SU Poster and Banner Policy on numerous occasions and had been unwilling to rectify the problem; vandalized university property by putting up posters that damage paint when removed; had disregarded building regulations in regards to the windows in the clubs office; had mistreated SU staff with threatening remarks; and had not adhered to table-vending policy.

According to the RPoC, all issues, with the exception of table-vending policy which occured in early Oct., were resolved at a Sept. 11 meeting between SU staff and RPoC representatives.

The RPoC claimed that the Table-Vendor Policy does not affect them, as they do not sell goods.

According to the SU, the allegation regarding table vending states that club members actively solicited material to students by leaving their vending table, a clear contradiction to vending policy.

"This has been a process that has been continuing. [The incidents that RPoC are being charged with] have taken place over the academic year," said Galbraith, who insists that the infractions are very well documented. "It is not fair to students and other student groups who have recieved these privileges that a group that has been deemed to abuse them is continuing to access them."

"Essentially, there is nothing more they can do to us," said RPoC President Ben Perrin. "They have imposed massive and wide-sweeping sanctions. The SU is attempting to cripple the club. They have already done damage. This witch hunt has cost us time, resources and money."

Galbraith defended the decision.

"I think the Clubs Committee did its job," he said. "The RPoC had privileges. We believed that they abused those privileges and those privileges have been removed."

The RPoC plans to appeal the Clubs Committee decision at the Nov. 3 meeting of the Students’ Legislative Council and is holding a "Freedom" march from Speakers Corner to the Goddess of Democracy to protest the decision on Thurs., Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m.

Leave a comment