The Executive Committee of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) has called for the impeachment of Akshan Bansal, the union’s vice-president campus life, in a statement released shortly before midnight on December 14 following a public allegation of sexual assault made against him on Facebook. The statement claims that in light of the allegations made against Bansal, as well as Bansal’s conduct, the other members of the union’s executive believe that he is “unable to uphold the values of the organization and unable to fulfill his duties.”
According to the statement, Bansal was first asked to resign, which he has refused to do, leading the union to request that their board of directors move to impeach him.
“The UTSU does not support rape culture and cultures of violence on campus,” reads part of the statement. “Any person who perpetuates these systems of oppression is fundamentally incompatible with our values and mission. We do not wish to have such a person represent us to students, staff, and club leaders.”
The UTSU executives emphasized the gravity of the situation and that their primary concern is for the safety and well-being of survivors of sexual violence, stating, “We have no tolerance for sexual violence of any kind.”
The UTSU’s Executive Review Committee (XRC) received complaints regarding Bansal’s conduct prior to the surfacing of the sexual assault allegations. At a UTSU Board of Directors meeting in June, at which directors voted down the report of Bansal’s hiring, early complaints were raised, with limited discussion.
At a subsequent board meeting in July, UTSU directors discussed XRC meeting minutes, which specified the nature of the complaints. These included allegations of sexual and sexist remarks, inebriation in the office, and concerns regarding misogynistic behaviour. The XRC did not recommend that the board consider impeaching Bansal at that meeting.
The most recent XRC report, presented to the UTSU’s Board of Directors on November 28, recommended that Bansal be put on probation for a month, during which time his activities would be supervised by other members of the UTSU Executive Committee, as well as the XRC.