By Gayathri Peringod, November 29 2019—
with files from Kristy Koehler
Siavash Zarezadeh, Faculty Representative from the Cumming School of Medicine, resigned from his position after members of the Students’ Legislative Council voted to recommend his impeachment last Thursday.
On Nov. 21, a special meeting of the Students’ Legislative Council was called in which members heard a complaint lodged by Students’ Union president Jessica Revington against Zarezadeh.
SLC then approved a motion to recommend the impeachment of Zarezadeh, citing violations to sections 110 (1) (c–f) and 117 (3) of the Union Bylaw and sections 33 (a–b) and 37 of the SLC Code of Conduct.
These sections relate to “improper or excessive use of authority to obtain or provide a benefit.”
The motion to recommend Zarezadeh’s impeachment was passed unanimously last Thursday. Prior to the next SLC meeting, when the matter was set to be discussed, Zarezadeh tendered his resignation.
During Tuesday’s weekly SLC meeting, SU vice president academic Kevin Dang said that the resignation was for personal reasons.
“Councillor Zarezadeh’s resignation, as cited, was for personal reasons,” said Revington. “In terms of a complaint, there was a complaint that was investigated by SLC at a special SLC meeting and a motion was made by SLC for impeachment of a member. However, that is all the information that can be provided at this time.”
When asked whether there was an official reason for the resignation, Dang stated, “I can’t speak for Councillor Zarezadeh. It’s his own decision. It’s a private matter, so I can’t comment on that, unfortunately.”
In an email statement to the Gauntlet, Zarezadeh stated the reason for his resignation was due to a difference in approach. He also expressed his gratitude to the students in his faculty for allowing him to be their representative during his tenure.
The statement is provided in full below:
“The Students’ Union is a great organization working in the best interest of UCalgary undergraduate students. I am proud of the work I did during my tenure as a Faculty Representative, and I will continue to be an advocate for students. Until my position is filled, I am committed to serving Cumming School of Medicine students on several faculty committees. I will also continue my advocacy work on research affordability, student space improvement, and student well-being.
“The purpose of my resignation was rooted in a difference of approach. I will help welcome the incoming Representatives to ensure a smooth and effective transition. I want to thank CSM students for allowing me the opportunity to serve as their SU Faculty Representative.”
As of the time of publication, both medicine representative positions are vacant. The other elected Cumming School of Medicine representative, Joshua Lee, has not yet been sworn in despite the byelection results having been announced in late October, in which he won with 106 votes.
This byelection has since been appealed, with the Review Board receiving an application for a hearing in relation to the byelection, making the results unofficial.
The Review Board’s hearing is ongoing and the results have not been announced, said Revington.
“Currently the appointment process for Nominations Committee is on hold pending the results of the Review Board,” Revington stated.
“We are looking to hear from the Review Board in the next couple of weeks as to a decision on the current challenge that was placed as a result of the byelection. Once the Review Board has made its decision public, Nominations Committee will meet to address the second vacancy for the Cumming School of Medicine.”
However, those looking to run again in a second byelection will be unable to do so.
“Unfortunately, due to our bylaws and our processes, we will be unable to hold a second byelection,” Revington said. “The next opportunity for election will be at the general election in 2020.”
While the SU can nominate an individual to fill Zarezadeh’s now-vacant position, it is not guaranteed that the position will be filled.
“Nominations Committee will be moving forward as soon as possible to address the CSM (Cumming School of Medicine) vacancy,” said Revington. “It’s my hope that the Nominations Committee is able to fill the position with a representative — however, they do have the jurisdiction to call a failed search. If that were to occur, the position would indeed remain vacant until the 2020 General Election.”
Students’ Union meeting minutes are public and available for viewing online.