Opinions

Editor, the Gauntlet:

Re: "Letters," Sept. 19, 2002.

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Irene Enyedy's letter appalled me. The half-truths, obfuscations and apparent lack of understanding of basic concepts of jurisprudence such as "double jeopardy" and "statute of limitations" expressed in her letter cause me to question her ability and the entire su's ability to operate in a representative, democratic manner and her personal ability competently represent students.

First, unless there's something in the Students' Union bylaws (which I was able to find on-line despite the abhorrent state of their website) that allows them to prosecute Mr. Preston again (double jeopardy) on the same charges of lying in his June report more than two months after his alleged actions took place (statute of limitations), it appears to me, a student and paralegal watching from the outside, that Mr. Preston has effectively been cleared on those charges since they had the opportunity to but did not find him guilty. Also, I'm curious as to what part of "Preston must apologize for comments made to slc" is incorrect, as Ms. Enyedy claims, as that was the substance of his apology which the Students' Legislative Commitee accepted last week.

I am not one who accepts everything the su says as truth on faith, but I must note that although Ms. Enyedy's claims may be correct, Mr. Li's non-technocratic recapitulation of them in layman's terms were certainly more useful and understandable to me than her tiradic attempt at a retort against the truth.

Second, while Ms. Enyedy has a valid point about the constitutional vs. bylaw amendment error, she has no basis for claiming that "Consequently, Вen Li trivialized the point of these proceedings." As yet, I have not seen anything from the su condemning Mr. Li's previous reporting on the subject which, if I recall correctly, included everything Ms. Enyedy complains about in her letter. From such previous coverage, it appears to me that the entire proceedings adequately trivialized themselves sufficiently without any help whatsoever from Mr. Li (I find it hard to believe they could convict anyone of anything using their system).

For an unknown reason Ms. Enyedy also takes repeated aim at the author of the article in question and his motivations, and neglects the facts behind it, as indicated by her repeated use of "Вen Li {verb for report}" as opposed to "the article" or "the story." I don't see how useful it is to her case to verbally wallop someone presenting an unbiased version of what happened, but when her claims that Mr. Li all but lied in the article fall through, I suppose personal attacks will make do. I would also suggest to both Ms. Enyedy and the Gauntlet that she stop trying this case in the media, which they have lost in a court of their own contrivance since it lends credibility to Mr. Preston's claims that the organization is mired in internal bickering.

Finally, it is also curious to me and I am immensely displeased with the way in which she hides her one indisputable complaint about bylaws in a few hundred words of festering partisanship. Having seen this display of her slight-of-hand, I feel I must be extra cautious about everything else the su has to say, and I want to caution your readers to do the same.

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Jennifer Davies--the vaunted legal assistant--recently wrote a letter concerning the whole SU, Enyedy, Preston mess. She claims to have some sort of grasp on basic concepts of jursidprudence. Hmmmh. Let's see... "double jeopardy". First, even if we could be assured that this is in play without SU constitutional or statutory foundations, it's not in play here because he hasn't been charged again. Nothing in Enyedy's letter indicated he would be or should be. It was simply pointing out the fact, obvious to anybody who had read the SLC's resolution on the case, that Preston HAD been found guilty of breaking the bylaws. There was nothing in the SLC resolution that cleared Preston of any charge--they just chose mild sanctions. Enyedy then corrected a mistake in a Gauntlet article, which had incorrectly reported that Preston was cleared of certain charges. So there was never any thought of prosecuting Preston again--and hence no issue of double jeopardy.
Statute of limitations? Hmmmh. Well, my understanding is that the statutory time requirements for filing the initial charge were met. No second charges were laid, so where's the problem? And even if some sort of appeals process were to have been initiated, this would have been continuous with the initial proceedings, and thus would not likely contravene a statute of limitations. Of course it would depend on the statute.
So, far from being a "non-technocratic recapitulation" of the facts, the Ben Li article to which Enyedi responded was not entirely the "truth" as Davies claims. Furthermore, when I read Enyedy's piece, it didn't sound like a tirade to me. It was clear she was disappointed with the article, but there was no tirade. Nor was there any "slight [sic] of hand" or "festering partisanship." Perhaps it only seemed so to a partisan...just a hunch.
Perhaps if Mr. Preston gets into hot water again, he could engage Ms. Davies as some sort of legal counsel. For even if she's a lot more "para" than "legal," it couldn't hurt.

As evidenced here, GCP wasn't what's wrong with the former SU forums, but the tactics of certain SU employees.

Anonymous Coward, please refrain from defaming Mrs. Davies like that. It might be bad for your job.

You missed something. Preston was not found "guilty" on all the allegations against him.

There were two violations that he was accused of. A) Lying to SLC, and B) Lying on his report and effectively stealing from SLC.

Gavin was found guilty of lying to SLC.

He was not found guilty of stealing money.

Now, Fiona Wiseman's original letter was right. SLC didn't resolve to clear him of the charges. However, by not resolving to find him guilty, they, however indirectly, cleared him of that specific charge by not persuing one of the allegations or making a judgement (nor a subsequent punishment).

It boils down to this: He was guilty of lying and not of stealing. Anything further is just arguing semantics, which was what Ms. Davies' letter was trying to point out.

-James

It perhaps best to note once again that Irene did not write the letter.

As the committee of hearing chair, she felt that SLC had not been respected in Mr. Li's article. However, as anyone who was at the last SLC or SAA could have observed, it seemed as if Irene was really angry at me, and not Mr. Li for disrespecting the committee's decision. I won't mention any petty technicalities, but I didn't really have to follow the resolution described at the end of Mr. Li's article. However, I chose to write the apology and endure my suspension out of respect for SLC. As a result, I'm not sure why she felt I was not honoring my fellow council members.

What I see as the biggest problem here has little to do with the content of the letter. I saw the whole impeachment process as not being good for the SU or students, no matter what the outcome could have been. Once we had got past it, an executive of the SU decided to drag it on further by directing a staff member to write a ridiculous letter that had very little comprehension of the past months events or the article by Mr. Li. If anything, Ms. Davies is very correct when she mentions that this is a shining example of internal bickering.

Re: opinions editor comments.
Your inference from the lack of specific action on one of the supposed 2 separate charges to an "indirect" clearing on that charge is sketchy at best. Conceding for the moment that the resolution didn't speak to the issue of "stealing," there could be lots of reasons they chose not to or weren't able to address it specifically. It doesn't follow that this should be interpreted as clearing him, even indirectly, of any charges. I don't think they were in the position of a jury where they're presented with discrete charges that they have to respond to individually. I think they just listen and then come up with this ambiguous statement, right?
But are we really forced to concede that this second issue wasn't addressed in the resolution. Not having the advantage of talking to those involved, all I can do is go from the wording of the resolution on your website. When it talks about what the apology letter requires, it talks about misinformation presented during SLC AND an apology to students for lying to slc. Since "lying" (on his pay statement) seemed to be the underlying issue in the "stealing" charge, couldn't this be a reference to this other issue or charge? Or perhaps the SLC chose this vague wording intentionally to cover a range of "sins"? Or simply because something more specific was more difficult to decide on? Perhaps not, but I don't see how it can be ruled out just from the wording of the resolution. I think the conclusions go beyond the bare facts, at least those I've read.
So, I'm not sure how you can be so confident in what SLC did or didn't in fact do by writing this resolution, and even if the facts can be safely established, I'm not sure your inference is a valid one. And even if your hypothetical, extra-factual inference could stand up to a full accounting of the facts, it's hardly strong enough to support the big bold headlines your paper gave it. All this may just be "semantics," but interpreting the meaning of language is often a very difficult task, but a necessary one when it comes to understanding the point of legal proceedings and decisions. In "boiling things down" as you do, you seem to lose a number of the subtle but essential flavours in this legal stew. I like semantics better than metaphors.

Defamation and job threats? I don't get it. Groundless no doubt, and most of my future earning will be eaten up by student loan payments...if you're going to garnish my future wages, better get in line.

Dear SU apologist(s): Grow some fucking balls and post with your name, or shut the fuck up.

Anonymous coward: If the letter needed to include an apology for the alleged fraud, then why was my letter accepted at SLC when it included no such apology?
I can answer this for you. It is because I never stole student's money. This only went to the level that it did because Ms. Nagra wanted me out of the SU and her commission. Read the resolution one more time. I admitted that I had lied to SLC during the committee hearing, not lied on my report. I had to apologize for lying during a debate, not for stealing students' money. This is what the letter outlines, and it was accepted by SLC. Ms. Enyedy, in all her brilliance, decided to direct a staff member with better writing skills to atttempt to drag my name through the mud one more time. It had very little to do with Ben Li's article.

I have a feeling that this poster is not some innocent person giving thier opinion, rather has some connection that he or she does not want to be seen in a public area. I hate to say it, but this kind of action is what wasted all the time and money in the first place.

The comment form has been slightly modified because of security concerns (someone by the name of Anonymous Coward decided to try to post weird, potentially server-crashing comments). Similar reason (attempted user HTML abuse) for no previews for anonymous comments. No harm done, but revealing none the less. Also, don't abuse the privilage of posting anonymously, or it will go away.

-Ben