CFS broke own bylaws in lawsuit against BC student union, UTSU VP says

Federation sued Selkirk College Students’ Union without approval of National Executive

CFS broke own bylaws in lawsuit against BC student union, UTSU VP says

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) National, the country’s largest association of students’ unions and a group of which the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is a member, may have violated its own bylaws in pursuing litigation against one of its member student unions, according to UTSU Vice-President Internal Daman Singh.

On March 21, 2017, CFS National filed a civil suit against the Selkirk College Students’ Union and its Executive Director, Zachary Crispin, claiming that Selkirk failed to properly follow the process of holding a referendum on membership. This suit, however, was apparently not approved by the National Executive, the body representing both federal and provincial CFS leadership, prior to being filed, according to Jenelle Davies, British Columbia representative on the executive. This contravenes CFS Bylaw IV.2.1, which stipulates that the National Executive “shall have exclusive authority” to initiate legal action on behalf of the federation.

CFS Executive Director Toby Whitfield indicated the suit was discussed in camera at a National Executive meeting on March 23, two days after the claim was filed. Davies claimed she was unaware of this meeting.

If the National Executive had approved the claim, it would have been marked on record, which is not reflected in the minutes, said Davies.

Although the suit has been dropped by CFS National, the Selkirk College Students’ Union cannot administer a referendum without CFS cooperation.

Santanna Hernandez, chairperson of the union, said that Selkirk College students filed a second petition for a referendum on terminating membership with CFS National in November 2017, after they indicated that they would like to leave the CFS in a plebiscite. This petition has been verified by CFS National, but a referendum on the union’s membership has yet to be scheduled.

CFS National did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment.

US university to sue own student newspaper

Suit attempts to prevent release of documents pertaining to sexual assault case

US university to sue own student newspaper

The University of Kentucky is launching legal action against the Kentucky Kernel, its student newspaper, in an effort to withhold details of sexual assault claims against a professor.

The university plans to appeal the Kentucky Attorney General’s request to open records pertaining to the case, which concluded in December.

An anonymous source close to the case leaked 100 pages of investigation documents to the Kentucky Kernel, detailing complaints that James Harwood, Entomology Professor, allegedly sexually assaulted two students in 2012 and 2013, while three other students testified but did not make formal claims.

According to the Kernel, Hardwood has denied the allegations of sexual assault. He officially resigned as of August 31 citing “family medical reasons” in an email to the Kernel, and indicating that he had “not been found guilty.” He did not undergo a disciplinary hearing or have his tenure revoked immediately, as was recommended by the investigator; he continued to receive his full pay and benefits until August 31.

When Harwood signed his resignation agreement on February 26, the Kernel filed a public-records request with the university; they received the settlement documents, which did not include any mention of the charges. Upon this release, the newspaper contacted the Attorney General, who ruled that the university was obligated to release all of the documents pertaining to the case.

The University of Kentucky’s President, Eli Capilouto, responded with an August 9 blog post wherein he detailed plans to sue the paper, citing the necessity to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in the case. The Kernel’s Editor-in-Chief, Marjorie Kirk, and the complainants have criticized the university’s actions.

The Harwood family will continue to receive health care benefits until December 31 or until James Harwood is employed elsewhere. Harwood will not be allowed on campus without submitting a request to the Attorney General, unless it is for health care related services for him and his family.

With files from Buzzfeed News and Kentucky Kernel.