By Saima Asad, March 31 2017 —
Students’ Union Faculty of Arts representative Matt Abalos was removed from the Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA) during a council meeting on March 27, after a unanimous vote from the 12 members present.
FASA president Haider Ali brought the motion forward. He said Abalos was removed for not attending any council meetings this semester and for his failure to provide supporting documentation for his absences.
“We chose to proceed with Matt Abalos’ removal mostly because of his attendance at council and his lack of engagement with FASA. He didn’t really interact with it. We didn’t see him much at events,” Ali said.
Abalos attended two of FASA’s 13 council meetings this year, both of which were during the fall semester.
While it is not written in the SU bylaws that arts representatives are obligated to attend FASA council, they are honourary members with voting privileges. Ali believes that Abalos was neglecting part of his duties as an SU arts representative by not attending FASA meetings.
Ali said he warned Abalos of his potential removal four days before the March 27 meeting and gave him a chance to put forward an excusal motion.
“I told him ‘you have exceeded the amount of unexcused absences, please let me know if you want to put an excusal motion on the agenda for next council meeting and send me over any documentation, otherwise, we will consider possibly putting forward a motion for removal’,” Ali said.
Abalos said he was surprised by the council’s decision. He said he wasn’t able to attend council meetings this semester due to other commitments.
“It would have been great if the president of FASA discussed their concern with me because I was
actually quite surprised,” he said. “I was advocating and engaging the Faculty of Arts for projects. I have the PUSH student committee [meetings, which] are also on Mondays.”
PUSH is a student-organized committee that aims to emphasize the importance of the arts on campus. Abalos said he could not provide documentation to support an excusal motion for FASA council, saying such documentation did not exist.
“I actually went to my professor and [the] PUSH committee because those are the two things that conflict with FASA, but there wasn’t concrete evidence to provide,” Abalos said.
Ali also said Abalos acted oddly at the two meetings he attended.
“He chose to sit at the back even though there was space at the main table. He also voted against or abstained on resolutions without providing rationale for doing so,” Ali said.
Abalos’ seat on FASA council will remain vacant for the last meeting of the year.