‘I will not be stepping down’

ASUS President Jacob Mantle announces intention to ‘meet this challenge’ at ASUS Special General Assembly

Last night’s ASUS Special General Assembly in Wallace Hall was filled to capacity with students. Around 7:44 p.m., it was cut short by a fire alarm.
Last night’s ASUS Special General Assembly in Wallace Hall was filled to capacity with students. Around 7:44 p.m., it was cut short by a fire alarm.

At ASUS Assembly on Thursday night, Jacob Mantle announced he would not be resigning as ASUS president.

Mantle was asked to resign by the AMS executive, Queen’s students and student groups, following a comment he posted on a friend’s Facebook wall. The comment, ‘I like your Taliban picture’ was made in response to a photo of two girls wearing scarves and sunglasses.

In a statement to ASUS Assembly, Mantle said he would not step down as ASUS President.

“A thoughtless remark has had more implications than anyone could ever imagine. … I will not be stepping down as ASUS President but will be stepping forward to meet this challenge,” he said.

ASUS Assembly was held in Wallace Hall which quickly reached capacity. This resulted in a large number of students waiting outside the hall for the duration of the Assembly.

On Nov. 2, ASUS issued an announcement on their website announcing the meeting would be an ASUS Special General Assembly.

In an ASUS Special General Meeting, members of the society are able to speak to motions under consideration, move or second motions, and exercise their voting privileges.

ASUS Internal Affairs Commissioner Astrid Rosemarin said last night’s meeting was unconstitutional because of restrictions in the ASUS Constitution.

According to section 10.01.07 of the ASUS Constitution, “notice of the time and place of Society Annual Meetings and Society Special General Meetings shall be given by placing two (2) advertisements in the Journal.”

One ad has to be placed in the Journal at least 10 days before the fixed time of the meeting and another ad has to be placed in the Journal within 10 days of the meeting.

Rosemarin acknowledged that the meeting did not meet the necessary stipulations.

“Technically speaking, the motions passed are not binding,” she said.

Rosemarin said StuCons were present to ensure the safety of everyone at Assembly.

“Basically, because there was a security issue at AMS Assembly we decided it would be important to take precautions at ours,” she said.

At the Oct. 30 AMS Assembly, Campus Security was called due to an apparent fist fight. Campus Security did not reveal any details about the incident.

There were six StuCons present at the ASUS Assembly.

No motions were passed at last night’s assembly and the discussion following Mantle’s announcement was cut short due to a fire alarm at 7:44 p.m.

“Procedurally, you have to go into recess if people are going to leave the room,” Rosemarin said.

Students held signs at the meeting which included ‘We support Jake,’ and ‘Mantle wrote Taliban. Why did the PC police associate the Taliban with Islam?’ and ‘Witch Hunt: McCarthy has an office in the (AMS) JDUC.’

ASUS Vice President Dominique Vanier made a statement at ASUS Assembly which included both the reaction of ASUS members to Mantle’s comment and an action plan ASUS council will undertake.

“We recognize the effects of [Mantle’s] actions extend far beyond the Muslim community and have harmed the larger student body,” she said in her statement. “The victimization of Jacob has furthered other-ing on this campus and has polarized the student body into sides of ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ But this issue simply isn’t about ‘sides;’ this is not ‘us’ versus ‘them;’ this is not about Jacob.

“This should be about students uniting in the face of what has affected this campus for far too long now. Let’s take this as an opportunity to positively move forward in the future. We are here tonight to work toward eliminating racism and discrimination on campus.”

Vanier outlined six steps in an action plan ASUS will be working towards.

The stages include education, partnering with other faculty societies, possibly creating a position on ASUS council which would promote equity on campus, raising awareness about diversity during orientation week, endorsing the ‘QUMSA hate-free campus campaign’ with the consent of ASUS Assembly and seeking out other ideas for accomplishing objectives.

“You have our honest commitment that for now and in the future, we will work toward achieving a University campus that is free of racial discrimination and other oppressions,” Vanier said.

Members of Queen’s faculty, including Diversity Advisor to the Vice-Principal (Academic) Barrington Walker, were present at ASUS Assembly but would not comment on the discussion.

Mantle said there have been no decisions with regard to rescheduling the assembly meeting.

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