AMS Assembly passes external investigation into President Martinez

Society executive welcomes motion, disputes allegations

Martinez (middle) said he welcomes and supports an external investigation into him.
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AMS Assembly voted this Thursday for an external party to investigate former Judicial Affairs Manager Brandon Tyrrell’s allegations against AMS President Miguel Martinez.

At AMS Assembly, Engineering Society President Carson Cook moved that AMS Board of Directors and the Presidents Caucus investigate the allegations presented in a Nov. 9 Journal article. Cook said an external party should perform the investigation to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

In addition to releasing a public statement, Martinez took the floor at Thursday’s assembly to address the allegations. While he abstained from voting, he told Assembly he welcomes and supports an external investigation.

Martinez added he had no involvement in Tyrrell’s firing because he was out of the office in the days leading up to the action. He further claimed Tyrrell was not dismissed for conducting a Policy Infringement Protocol (PIP) “as The Journal article headline suggested.”

However, in a list of corrections sent to the AMS following publication of Martinez’s statement, Tyrrell wrote the headline [did] not say [the Judicial Affairs Manager] was dismissed for conducting a PIP investigation, it says [the Judicial Affairs Manager] was dismissed after conducting a PIP investigation.”

In the corrections, Tyrrell also questioned how Munro Watters—AMS vice-president (university affairs)—and Martinez’s absences from the AMS offices didn’t influence his termination. He recalled a statement Watters made to The Journal, saying Martinez was made aware of the alleged “confidentiality breach” on Nov. 1.

Before he was made aware of the confidentiality breach, however, Tyrrell alleged in his disclosure to The Journal on Oct. 21 that Martinez asked the Chair of the Judicial Committee, Seema Sidhu, to recuse herself from the case against Martinez should Tyrrell refer the case to her for hearing.

Sidhu denied this. Citing her friendship with Martinez, she said she independently offered to recuse herself. In his statement, Martinez added his contact with the Judicial Committee Chair was the only response policy permitted that allowed an impartial third party to address his concerns.

Martinez addressed this allegation further in his statement to Assembly.

“Tyrrell decided that my contacting the Judicial Committee Chair was a gross abuse of power that had interfered with his investigation so severely that it could not move forward,” Martinez said.

In his list of corrections, Tyrrell wrote The Journal article contained no reference to contacting the Judicial Committee Chair as “a gross abuse of power.”

Despite Tyrrell saying he redacted all Non-Academic-Misconduct (NAM) case related information in his disclosure, Martinez also called Tyrrell’s actions a “breach of confidentiality.”

“It goes far beyond my personal wellbeing,” Martinez said. “Our entire system of student government is based on a common trust—a belief that our peers will act with professionalism and honesty when placed in positions of authority.”

“I cannot be silent in the face of his malfeasance,” he added. “This attempt to undermine who I am as an individual and misrepresent my character can go on no longer.”

In his statement, Tyrrell said he understands Martinez’s belief that he presented allegations to The Journal “without evidence” is conditioned by his decision not to share case-related information with AMS Secretary Bronwyn Woolhouse when she requested it.

Tyrrell wrote he followed due process to a point, but Martinez’s actions precluded continuing the investigation. He disclosed the information pertaining to Martinez’s conduct in “the hope of attaining justice for the complainant,” whom he says came to him as a last resort for help.

Earlier this month, Watters told The Journal Tyrrell was dismissed because his disclosure was a violation of the Agency Agreement between the AMS and the University, which provides authority to the Society’s NAM system.

According to Tyrrell, “[t]he Agency Agreement only applies to cases that are diverted from the NAM Intake Office for a Judicial Affairs Office Investigation—of which President Martinez’s PIP case was not.

While in his statement Martinez said he was not yet AMS President when he underwent the Non-Academic Misconduct process and received his sanctions, he confirmed at Assembly that he came to an informal resolution with the Student Conduct Office while he was President-elect.

“Though it is true that Martinez was not yet the President of the AMS, it was a factor that the adjudicator considered during Martinez’s sanctioning,” Tyrrell wrote.

In his statement to The Journal, Tyrrell agreed with Martinez that students should be apprehensive of their leaders when they facilitate “acts of collusion—especially when their appointment does not follow the conventional norm.”

“While for many, the burden of having to engage with student politics can be a difficult feat when paired with other academic obligations,” Tyrrell wrote. “I challenge students to consider whether the alternative has left them better off.”

AMS Judicial Affairs Deputy, Dakota Johnston, asked Assembly what the timeline would look like for the external investigation into Martinez.

Mikela Page, chair of AMS board of directors, said the search for an external investigator would begin as soon as they had the go ahead for the mandate.

She expects the investigator will be hired prior to the end of the term, and that, eventually, the findings of the investigation will be made public.

“I would like to have questions answered as soon as possible and I think the student body deserves nothing less,” Page said.

Corrections

The original version of this article misspelt Carson Cook's last name as "Cooke."

The Journal regrets the error.

This article wrongly indentified Page as the chair of the AMS board of trustees. She is the chair of the board of directors.

The Journal regrets the error.

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